What’s new with the Parrot Conservation Corps? ¿Qué hay de nuevo con el Cuerpo de Conservacionistas?
(En español debajo del ingles)
One Earth Conservation’s (OEC) Parrot Conservation Corps (PCC) is a year-long webinar series being led by Rev. Dr. LoraKim Joyner and Dr. Sylvia M. de la Parra Martínez this year for Spanish speaking people from Central and South America who have a real interest in knowing, studying, and understanding birds from the order Psittaciformes, commonly known as parrots. Currently, participants include 18 people from seven countries, including Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil. The participants come from a variety of fields and backgrounds, such as wildlife veterinarians, biologists, engineers, and undergraduate and graduate biology students.
It has been very interesting for LoraKim and me to meet and share ideas with a multidisciplinary group of people with different opinions and professions. At the same time, we are all united by a common objective, which is the protection and conservation of this group of birds.
The course allows participants to learn about and discuss topics that range from the ecological to the spiritual. Topics addressed include the history of birds and their evolution, the historical and evolutionary context of parrots, the basic ecology of various species, survey methods for counting and measuring the abundance of different species, and analyzing some examples of One Earth Conservation’s various conservation projects. These include projects in countries such as Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua where local conservationists work to protect species such as the scarlet macaw (Ara macao), the yellow-naped amazon (Amazona auropalliata), and the yellow-headed amazon (Amazona oratrix).
Left to right: scarlet macaw, yellow-naped amazon, yellow-headed amazons
The course has also addressed crucial concepts that define the mission and vision of the organization, such as promoting parrot well-being in the Americas by conducting transformative parrot conservation, taking action to end the wildlife trade, and encouraging in people a strong sense of human connection to all life that results in the well-being of all. This has allowed the participants to reflect on and conduct conservation as a process in which the human heart and human conscience, as well as the birds’ well-being, is always taken into consideration.
One of the main goals of this year’s PCC is the realization of mini-projects, supported by OEC, with the main objectives being to support ideas that contribute to the conservation of parrots in their places of origin and to encourage conservationists to publicize the work they carry out in their region. One example of such a mini-project is the one conducted by Zulema Estefania Solis Muñoz and Cristian David Torres Morel, who had a great interest in publicizing information about the parrots of Pilar, located at the Ñeembucú Department in Paraguay. They made a video that included photos and information about the different species and spread it on social media. The video link is as follows: https://youtu.be/uR3okijbM6E. In addition, they spent a few days bird watching, during which they invited the general public so that people were able to learn how to identify and gain knowledge about the parrots that live in their community.
Birdwatching in the urban community of Pilar, Argentina
Another project was conceived and implemented by Daiana Lera from Argentina. Daiana is a PhD student who works with the Burrowing Parrot (Cyanoliseus patagonus), evaluating its abundance in a communal roost in the city of Bahía Blanca. Dai's work is supported by a significant number of volunteers who have participated for several years and help with the monitoring of the species. Providing support to motivate Dai and her volunteers was very gratifying for us at OEC. Our support allowed them to create t-shirts that illustrate the impact of their work and dedication to this endangered species. The shirts have double the impact, since the people who live in the study area are able to find out directly about the presence of the parrot in the urban space, as well as the work of the volunteers.
Volunteers from the annual count of the burrowing parrot in Bahía Blanca, Argentina
The mini-project of Amada Pam Puch and Vanessa Martínez García, was developed in the indigenous community of Tzucmuc, Yucatán, Mexico. Their work consisted of a offering a workshop for primary school children. The children learned a lot about parrots, such as the main characteristics of Psittacine species (feathers, intelligence, feeding, reproduction), problems that threaten parrots, why they are so important to our world and life, and why we should we take care of them. Amada also led the children in making signs out of blankets, on which different silhouettes of parrots had previously been drawn, and the children wrote conservation phrases or other messages they wanted to share about parrots. Among the messages they wrote were: “Don't kill the parrots,” “Save the parrots,” “Take good care of the birds,” “Let them be free,” “Don't catch parrots,” “Don't kill the parrots, they help to plant,” “No parrots in cages,” “Don't sell parrots,” “Freedom for birds,” and “See them in their natural hábitat.”
Children from the community of Tzucmuc, Yucatán, Mexico, working in
decorating their blankets
The phrases were shared with other people, to encourage other children and adults to know and care for parrots. Amada and Vanessa observed that the children recognize the value of birds in their ecosystem, especially parrots, and they learned how this helps to conserve their habitat.
Children from the community Tzucmuc, Yucatán, Mexico, showing the blankets they made and their conservation messages
The PCC has been an important space for sharing knowledge and feelings for both the organizers and participants. One Earth Conservation seeks to reach more souls to whom we can convey the message of conservation directly to each person’s heart. We encourage more people to work to protect parrots from a holistic vision of resilience and to thereby contribute to a better world for human beings and the other species with which we live.
If you’d like to do more for communities of all species and you speak English or Spanish, please be aware that OEC is tentatively planning to offer a bilingual PCC starting in January 2024. There will be a small stipend offered to those accepted into the program and support for new mini-projects, although the benefits of participation reach much beyond this.
El cuerpo de Conservacionistas de Psitácidos es un curso en línea dirigido por la Rev. Dra. LoraKim Joyner y la Dra. Sylvia M. de la Parra Martínez, enfocado a personas de habla hispana del centro y sur de América, las cuales tienen un interés genuino por conocer, estudiar y comprender al grupo de los Psitácidos. Actualmente, tenemos la participación de 18 personas de seis países: México, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Argentina, Paraguay y Brasil. Donde podemos encontrar veterinarios de vida silvestre, biólogos, ingenieros, estudiantes de biología y estudiantes de Posgrado.
Ha sido muy interesante conocer y compartir con un grupo multidisciplinario de seres con distintos enfoques de pensamiento y profesiones pero que a la misma vez nos une un objetivo común que es el de proteger y conservar a éste grupo de aves.
El curso del Cuerpo de Conservacionistas de Psitácidos ha permitido a los participantes escuchar el desarrollo de temas que van desde lo ecológico hasta lo espiritual. Abordando contenidos de interés común como la historia de las aves y su evolución, el contexto histórico y evolutivo de los psitácidos, la ecología básica de las especies, métodos de campo para realizar conteos y conocer la abundancia de las diferentes especies, así como estrategias de conservación, analizando algunos ejemplos de proyectos de conservación que tienen una gran relevancia dentro de la historia de One Earth Conservation (OEC) en países como Honduras, Guatemala y Nicaragua con especies como la Guara roja (Ara macao), el Loro nuca amarilla (Amazona auropalliata) y el Loro cabeza amarilla (Amazona oratrix).