LoraKim and Manuel in Guatemala now (March 2018)
It’s quite inspiring to me how conservation work can bring people together. I experienced this firsthand last month when LoraKim convened the first video meeting of One Earth Conservation’s new Conservation Council.
To back up a bit, the beginning of 2018 brought a slight restructuring of the way One Earth Conservation works with volunteers. Instead of our one Advisory Team, we divided it into an Advisory Board and a Conservation Council. The Conservation Council is made up of one representative conservationist from each country in which One Earth works (that is, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Nicaragua and Paraguay) and other people here in the USA (so far) who are aligned with One Earth’s parrot conservation work and want to help however they can. The people from the USA, in addition to LoraKim and me, include the Executive Director of the nonprofit organization Foster Parrots, a high school senior who has volunteered with us for a while, an avian veterinarian and a pharmacist who traveled with us to Ometepe Island. (FYI – The Advisory Board consists of volunteers who offer their help with One Earth’s other programs.)
Facilitating a video meeting of people from many far-flung places has its challenges. There are technical issues, of course, related to internet speed and even just getting a signal in some remote areas. And there is also a language barrier, which is overcome mostly through LoraKim’s translating skills (into English and Spanish) and a smattering of individual understanding of each other’s languages amongst the Council members.
Conservationists in La Mabita, Honduras
Despite all that, we were able to engage in our first meeting, which was mostly a time when everyone was able to introduce themselves and talk about their work. On the first call were Andres Alvarez from Paraguay, Roger Flores from Honduras, Norlan Zambrana Morales from Nicaragua, Manuel Gallino Vasquez from Guatemala, Karen Windsor from the USA, me and LoraKim. It is one thing to learn in the abstract about different projects and the work the people are doing. It is quite another to see the people’s faces, hear them speak and learn about the similarities and differences between the projects. In future meetings we plan to focus on the logistics and challenges of wild parrot conservation and how we can learn from each other’s experiences.
Overall, what unites and energizes us all is the deep love we feel for wild parrots and the people who care for them, the hope and meaning that comes from the work we do and sharing our trials, tribulations and triumphs!
Some of the team in Ometepe Island, Nicaragua.