Wall mural at the Centre for the Study of Biological Diversity, University of Georgetown, Guyana
There is just too much fun to be had at the University of Georgetown, Guyana. We went to Guyana (Danika Oriol-Moray of Foster Parrots and LoraKim Joyner of One Earth Conservation) in March 2018 to grow our relationships with the people there and our conservation plans, and began with a workshop at the University led in conjunction with the Centre for the Study of Biological Diversity (thanks to Dr. Gyanpriya Maharaj, Director).
Danika talking about the Guyanese parrot species found in the Foster Parrots sanctuary
Though we began early and ended in the late hot afternoon, the participants stayed engaged the entire time, seriously focused on the status of their parrots and what they could do to preserve and cherish them. We began by telling them why we came to Guyana. I explained that we in North America had lost our only parrot species, the Carolina Parakeet, and I didn't want that to also happen in Guyana. Danika explained that at her parrot sanctuary in Rhode Island, there are several species from Guyana and due to this connection she wishes to address the problem of parrot suffering at the beginning of the chain of the wildlife trade. Each attendee introduced themselves and told us of parrots in their lives. Some of them had parrots in their homes and others knew a bit about them because of the many flying over Georgetown.
We then offered the following presentations: Parrot Conservation in the Americas, Status of Parrots in Guyana, Methodology in Parrot Population Studies, Parrot Welfare and Management, Avian Medicine and Conservation, Methodology in Rescue and Liberation, the Human Dimensions of Conservation, and an Overview of Wildlife Regulations in Guyana. After several great snacks and a lunch provided by the Wildlife Commission of Guyana we broke into small groups to plan next steps. Many of the suggestions were related to institutional building and a need for consultants, training, funding, and time.
Dr. Gyanpriya Maharaj summing up our next steps and needs
We finished the day by sharing our gratitudes, and a graduation ceremony, the distribution of gifts (wrist bands in the endangered sun parakeet colors that say in Mukushi and English, "Sun Parakeet Fly Free") and a Certificate of Completion.
Certificate with "Sun Parakeet Fly Free" wrist band
We did a great job together, for this is the first of many parrot conservation workshops to come in Guyana.
The first graduating class of future parrot conservationists!