Rotary International Grant for Sustainability and Bird Conservation

Luis E. Morales - San Pancho Bird Observatory
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July 6, 2016

From August 2014 until November 2015, the San Pancho Bird Observatory in collaboration with community centers and multiple partner organizations delivered a program oriented to build capacities for bird conservation and community development at different villages of the southern Nayarit coast.
The Rotary Foundation and Rotary District 5110 of Oregon and northern California awarded a Humanitarian Grant of $12,000 to fund an international capacity building project that was successfully completed in partnership with San Pancho Bird Observatory in Nayarit Mexico and the Klamath Bird Observatory based in Ashland (Oregon, USA). The Rotary Club of Ashland, collaborating with the Jaltemba Bay Rotary Club of Mexico and supported by Shasta Valley, Bend High Desert, and Cottage Grove Rotary Clubs of District 5110, initially promoted this project and provided the funding required to receive matching awards from Rotary District 5110 and The Rotary Foundation.
This grant allowed the implementation of a project focused on bird conservation and sustainable community development that reached over 100 participants (ages 12-47) at the community centers of seven coastal communities of the southern Nayarit coast: PEACE at Punta de Mita, La Casa Clu at San Ignacio, Entreamigos at San Pancho, Casa de los Niños at Lo de Marcos, Valor para Soñar at Villa Morelos, Amigos de Jaltemba at La Peñita and Cambiando Vidas at Chacala, Nayarit.

The San Pancho Bird Observatory used grant funds to build local capacity for careers in science and ecotourism that benefit communities, maintain social structure, and protect natural resources of global significance. This project applied principles of sustainability and recognized the links between ecosystem conservation, social equity and economic development. During the workshops participants also experienced and understood the importance of conservation of tropical forests in the context of a rapid global climate change scenario.

The project meets an international bird conservation priority by building science capacity for Mexican conservation leaders, and also meets economic and community development goals of The Rotary Foundation. Dr. John Alexander, Klamath Bird Observatory’s Executive Director, calls the awarding of this grant “a significant event with regard to sustainability and the links between ecological well-being, economic well-being, and human well-being.”

Marine Biologist Luis Morales, Director of the local partnering organization San Pancho Bird Observatory explained that …”the main goal was to ensure that workshop participants developed bird identification, nature guiding and bird monitoring skills that allow them to aspire for jobs or career opportunities in ecotourism and sustainable management of natural resources  which will empower local appreciation and interest in protecting, conserving and restoring natural ecosystems in the region, which by the way hosts a great diversity of birds with more than 300 species of birds and is emerging as one of the most attractive bird-watching destinations in our continent.“

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