WALC students take up composting

WALC participants from the fall of 2017 met Saturday to begin a composting project in their village. Last fall 15 young women from five villages in the Puruhla mountains of Baja Verapaz took part in CCFC’s WALC program. All fifteen are currently finishing their 2018 school year and most plan to participate in WALC again this fall. On September 22, seven of these young women began a composing project that they hope to spread to the villages in their region. “Why throw something away that is useful?” says Brenda Aracely of Panzal. Last fall was Brenda’s second year in WALC. Brenda plans on returning in October for her third year.

Thanks to the opportunities and leadership skills gained by these young women through the WALC program, composting and agro-forest gardening are catching on in their region.

Families receive two containers, one for inorganic trash (marked in red) and one for organic material for composting (marked in green).

Herpetologists research Diversity and Restoration Ecology

Since 2014, CCFC has been collaborating with Indigo Expeditions. Their work has focussed on assessing levels of amphibian and reptile diversity on our campus. To date they have identified 17 species of amphibians and 34 species of reptiles. Around 50% of the amphibian species are endangered and endemic to the region, as are many of the reptiles.

Northern Glass Frog (Hyalinobatrachium fleischmanni)
Over the next few years of Indigo’s continued work we expect the number of species encountered here to increase, for example in the first half of 2018 alone, five species of snake have been encountered here for the first time.
Keeled Helmeted Iguana (Corytophanes percarinatus)
The future work of Indigo Expeditions will focus on assessing how amphibians and reptiles are able to recolonize our agroecology and reforestry parcels (as seen above: this Keeled Helmeted Iguana was found in our Amaranth and Dalia garden). We are thrilled to maintain this long-term collaboration with Indigo, their work helps to inform our conservation work and always keeps us inspired.

Warbler Coloring Books

CCFC’s Kids & Birds program has a wonderful new resource, the Warbler Coloring Book. Thanks to the excellent art work of CCFC intern and University of Mary Washington Biology major, Savannah Aldrich, CCFC has published a coloring book which includes all the warblers of the region.

Kids & Birds Team — 2018

Kids & Birds Team for 2018 with Rudy Botzoc. Each member of the entire Kids & Birds team is an alumnae of CCFC’s WALC program. And all of them (with the exception of Josefina) are currently enrolled in either high school or university. Josefina is taking a gap year between high school and university and is the only team member to cover the work on Fridays.

WALC’s Researchers

CCFC’s relationship with Lilly Briggs goes back to 2011 when CCFC first began to use Cornell Lab’s BirdSleuth curriculum for it’s Kids & Birds Program. Later Lilly came to CCFC to do her field research for her Ph.D. at Cornell University. Lilly’s research focus was CCFC’s WALC program.

On a recent visit to CCFC, Lilly presented her finished version of her Ph.D. dissertation to the CCFC library along with the most recent version of the BirdSleuth curriculum.

Thanks Lilly! Your research provides important feedback and affirmation for the efforts of WALC.

Kids & Birds ready for take off

As we look toward 2018, we are especially excited about the Kids & Birds program. Schools will start arriving the last week of January. Our goal for 2018 is to have 1,200 sixth graders from January to September of 2018.

We need your help. Please contribute to Kids & Birds 2018 and help us reach our goal of having 1,200 students.

Click here to contribute to Kids & Birds

Photo © Dr. Dawn Bowen

Photo © Dr. Dawn Bowen

Kids&Birds Teachers Training, reaching out to NP Sierra Lacandon

Teachers and staff from Defensores de la Naturaleza came to CCFC for a four teach Kids & Birds teachers training workshop. National Park Sierra Lacandon is facing unprecedented deforestation. Defensores de la Naturaleza is making a valiant effort to protect the forests of this officially protected area. Teachers and public health promoters employed by Defensores will be teaching Aves de mi Mundo, a curriculum of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology used by CCFC in our Kids & Birds program. This teachers training was a strategic step in promoting conservation in village schools within the national protected area.

The Sierra Lacandon is located in norther Guatemala (southwestern Peten) along the Usumasinta River which forms the border of the Peten and Chiapas, Mexico. Officially the national park is a protected area but there have been many land invasions and today deforestation is rampant within the boundtries of the park.

September 18 — 21, 2017