For over 30 years the members of the Reserva Silvestre Privada Concepción de María (The Reserve, Concepcion de Maria Private Wildlife Reserve, in English) have undertaken conservation actions in the Carazo Department, Nicaragua. They have joined forces with other national and international organizations to protect and promote the natural richness and biodiversity of this region. The Reserve promotes caring, love and passion for birds in people of all ages. Their motto is “Concepción de Maria Private Wildlife Reserve, a window to the natural richness of the Carazo department”.
The wonderful actions of The Reserve include organizing trainings and workshops for the children of local schools, the people of Carazo, and visitors to The Reserve, to awaken deeper motivation and interest in regional birds and their protection. Since 2018 this organization has been supported by the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology with materials, live presentations, and certifications designed for the learning activities that The Reserve’s members carry out. The workshops and trainings focus on discovering local birds and learning how to look after them, aid them in their survival, and take care of the environment that we share with them.
In 2019 the members of The Reserve hosted its first workshop for formal and informal educators using the curriculum “BirdSleuth International.” This workshop was made possible by the incredible effort and participation from members of The Reserve and the 20 other participants who came from all over the Carazo Department. Environmental educator Luis Cortez facilitated the workshop and he did a fantastic job of integrating and demonstrating the activities, all while making them educational and enjoyable. The participants learned these techniques and then applied them in teaching their own communities. How amazing!
In 2020, thanks to the experience gained from the first workshop, The Reserve won a mini-grant from the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology which also included 5 binoculars donated by Optics for the Tropics! With the help of the mini-grant, sponsorships from bird lovers in the region, and the excellent leadership of the biologist and environmental educator Oscar Bermúdez, the workshop and activities were a complete success!
The arrival of COVID-19 presented a challenge to the development of some activities. However, precautions were taken to protect all the participants, organizers, and leaders, while having fun and yielding incredible results. Below are many incredible examples of the amazing work and trainings completed by members and volunteers of the Concepción de María Private Wildlife Reserve.
First workshop “BirdSleuths”
The “BirdSleuth International” workshop was led by biologist and environmental educator Oscar Bermúdez. Children and teens from the Schools Benito Salinas and Manuel Hernández de Jinotepe participated to learn more about the amazing wildlife around them. Environmental educators from the school La Mariposa and The Reserve’s own technical team were more than happy to lead this workshop and share their knowledge and experience. This incredible experience was possible due to the support of the mini grants from Cornell University Lab of Ornithology and donations from bird lovers such as Mr. Danilo Moreno, Mr. Carlos Mantica, and Ms. Consuelo Chamorro and family.
An educational training for rural schoolchildren of San Antonio
After the BirdSleuth International training many of these educators went on to teach what they had learned and put it into practice in educating local school children. An example is Perla Laguna who did a fantastic job implementing these activities with the children of San Antonio Elementary School!
Recycling workshop, making art out of waste
In coordination with the Kimera art group and APRODIM, The Reserve’s participants held recycling workshops, making art out of waste. The creativity and art that the participants created was incredible!
Creating murals about nature in the town of Dolores
The Reserve’s members organized an event in the town of Dolores where they used the blank walls of schools and vacant lots to create beautiful murals portraying birds and wilderness. By using art to promote the necessary changes for the care and preservation of the richness of the biodiversity in their region, These activists achieved something magical, all while beautifying these common spaces. How amazing!
Counting birds in Carazo
Members of The Reserve also completed several events in different places of Carazo with the participation of local institutions, organizations, and the community. These promoted the monitoring and appreciation of birds and care for the local environment and biodiversity. Among them were:
For Global Big Day 2020, the activities had to be adapted due to pandemic related difficulties. They overcame these challenges in a way that was safe and entertaining for everyone! As a result of these events The Reserve managed to identify and report in eBird 267 local species of birds, receive 12 eBirder awards, and 30 established count points!
Those of the Concepción de María Private Wildlife Reserve, in particular its director Doña Consuelo Chamorro, would like to thank the volunteerism and participation that support environmental education in this region. They are grateful as well for the trust and goodwill that comes with this effort. Thanks also to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and its staff, especially Marta Luisa del Campo, the Latin American and Caribbean Initiative Project Leader, for her commitment and empathy in collaborating in this great cause. The coordination with Cornell and Ms. Del Campo is at the heart of what Pope Francis preaches:
“We must listen to, restore, and take care of our planet and our environment. Our relationship with the environment can never be isolated from our relationship with others and God. All creatures are connected, each one should be treated with love and respect, because we all depend on one other.“