You Are Invited to AoC's One-Health Meet-&-Greet in Tulum

ART of CONSERVATION One-Health MEET-AND-GREET

Please join us for an Art of Conservation One-Health Meet-and-Greet 

Date: Saturday, 19 July 2014 

Time: 16.30 – 18.30 

Location: Holistika, Av. Tulum #83, Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Parking is available near the entrance of the common area and park. Enter on foot through the white arches, and then take a right. You’ll find us just down a ways on the path.

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Guest blogger Yefei Jin shares his experience volunteering with CHT!

Hey there!

My name is Yefei Jin and I’m a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in Minneapolis-St. Paul, USA. Earlier this May, I received the fortunate opportunity to get involved with Conservation Heritage-Turambe (CHT). Though a network of local nonprofit organizations based in Musanze, Rwanda, I got connected to Valerie, the Program Director of CHT.

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Not losing much time, I quickly participated in CHT’s weekend visits to primary schools near Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, about an hour drive from Musanze. CHT recognizes the role of Rwanda’s youth in becoming the social change agents of tomorrow. The teachers here including Valerie, Innocent, Olivier, Eusebe, and Eric dedicate their time to educate the children about conservation and health values. In this photo, Valerie is describing one of those values “Staying Healthy”. Today’s lesson was on keeping a clean home to prevent the spread of disease. I had the opportunity to partially teach the class on this topic through songs and ice breakers. The staff here was definitely eager to see new ways of teaching!

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The pedagogy behind CHT’s work with the children utilizes the fine arts as tools to teach, understand, and live out CHT’s 7 values: respect, honestly, trust, creativity, kindness, healthy living, and celebrate. The instruction is delivered in English with Kinyarwanda translation. Here is a photo of a guest presenter suffering from podoconiosis which caused  the swelling of her feet. By sharing with the class her experience, she hopes that keeping a clean home will prevent such diseases from happening to others.

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This is a picture of me teaching some wacky handshakes to the students. I’m hugely thankful for the CHT staff to allow me to fully participate in their school visits. They are curious to learn additional strategies on student engagement and fun activities which can be incorporated in future lessons. I bring knowledge on theatre education and as I continue to brainstorm with the staff, we hope to provide the children with a unique and unforgettable experience!

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Learn more about our partner the World Rainforest Fund!

The World Rainforest Fund (WRF) saves biodiversity by saving tropical rainforests. It is among the most effective non-profit, tax-exempt organizations at doing this. Biodiversity can be defined as the number of species of animals and plants in an ecosystem. The Earth is undergoing a great crisis of mass extinction of species and loss of biodiversity. It is caused by humans, and the leading cause is habitat destruction. The Fund works to stop habitat destruction. We lose huge numbers of species each year. Species are going extinct at a rate that is 100 to 1,000 times greater than the normal background extinction rate. The renowned evolutionary biologist, Dr. Edward O. Wilson, said in 2002 that if current extinction rates continue, one half of all species on Earth will be extinct in 100 years. Biodiversity is crucial to human welfare. Many of our medicines and industrial chemicals come from living organisms. Life stabilizes local and global climate. It holds the soil in place, preventing erosion. It is the source of our food supply. It is a source of beauty, spiritual rejuvenation, tourism, and scientific knowledge. And life has a right to exist for its own sake—we have a moral obligation not to destroy species.

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Endangered Hyancinth Macaw of the Pantanal, Brazil. © World Rainforest Fund

The World Rainforest Fund saves biodiversity in ecosystems that have the vast majority of it. Rainforests are home to half the land species on Earth, a major source of biodiversity. They have more species of animals and plants than any other terrestrial ecosystem on Earth. Tropical rainforests are being destroyed at the rate of 300 acres per minute worldwide. This is equivalent to the loss of an area half the size of the state of California annually. 

The World Rainforest Fund focuses on rainforest conservation where they are most abundant in a continuous area, and where the preservation of them will last with the highest probability, such as the Amazon Basin. The largest area of intact rainforest is the Amazon Basin. World Rainforest Fund projects conserve rainforests in other countries, but focus on Brazil that has the largest amount of rainforest area. Saving the area on Earth with the most continuous rainforest will have the longest lasting effect. It is especially effective because this strategy saves the most corridors connecting areas where species live. Animals need corridors to keep their genetic diversity high enough to allow their survival. Without corridors, animal populations get isolated and undergo inbreeding, which can drive the species extinct due to lack of genetic variability.

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Brazilian Amazon rainforest. © World Rainforest Fund

The World Rainforest Fund empowers indigenous people to help them save their rainforest homes. Scientific studies have shown that the most effective way to save rainforests is by empowering indigenous people who live in them to save their rainforest homes. It saves the most rainforest land per dollar spent, and saves rainforest in the way that has the highest chance of lasting permanently. This is because tropical countries tend not to have the money to hire a sufficient number of guards to protect rainforests in national parks. Amazonia National Park in Brazil has only six rangers to protect its 3,300 square miles (8,600 square kilometers). Thus, poachers come in and shoot wildlife, cut trees, and mine minerals illegally in these national parks. On the other hand, indigenous people are natural guardians who live in the rainforests, passionately want to protect them, and do not even require a salary.

The World Rainforest Fund is exceptionally effective and efficient at putting your donation to work at its stated mission. All members of our board of directors and board of advisors, and many of our staff, are volunteers, drawing no salary. The organization is a non-membership organization, so no money is spent on newsletters or other expenses incurred by membership organizations; money that would otherwise be spent in these areas is instead put directly to work on saving rainforests. A greater percentage of money we receive from our donors goes to actually carrying out our stated mission. In fact, over ninety percent of the proceeds we receive go directly to work saving the Earth's rainforests. Our track record of helping indigenous people, giving grants to organizations that save rainforest, educating the public on the need to save rainforests, and saving rainforests through partnering with other organization dedicated to saving rainforests is exceptionally impressive. We are a 501c3, tax-exempt, public non-profit organization and all donations you give are tax-deductible. Our advisory board has many well-known, distinguished people. Our staff and workers are highly knowledgeable and exceptionally dedicated.

The World Rainforest Fund recently granted Fundacion OSA $3,500.00 to attempt to stop an illegal road to a 10,000 acre rainforest in Ecuador that scientists at the Missouri Botanical Garden showed was the ecosystem with the highest biodiversity in the world, meaning it has more species per area than any other ecosystem on Earth. This is because the rainforest and Andes ecosystems overlap in this area, which therefore has species from both of these ecosystems. The road would have allowed loggers, miners, and other exploiters into the rainforest, and it would have been cut down. Fundacion OSA received no grant other than WRF, and would not have been able to stop the road without the grant. They used the money to send in an observer, who found the road was wider than approved by the government of Ecuador. They also used the grant to print up brochures to distribute to officials of Ecuador’s government that showed the beauty and value of the forest to people, the illegality of the road, and the destruction that would result if it were built. As a result, the government of Ecuador stopped the road. Given the high diversity and low cost of this victory, the World Rainforest Fund saved an exceptional number of species per donor dollar.

Art of Conservation and Conservation Heritage-Turambe are very pleased to be working with such a small yet impactful organization like our ourselves! Learn more about our partners on our new website!

Please help the World Rainforest Fund save the earth’s rainforests and biodiversity with a tax-deductible donation by visiting their website at worldrainforest.org. It is even better to support them by sending them a check, because PayPal takes a percentage of donations given to them on their website. To donate to the World Rainforest Fund by check, please send a check, made out to the World Rainforest Fund, to:

World Rainforest Fund
1888 Pomar Way
Walnut Creek, CA 94598-1424

They will put your donation right to work saving rainforests, and send you a thank you letter of acknowledgment that you can use to get a full tax deduction for your donation. Thank you for your concern for the earth, rainforests, and the animal and plant life of the planet.

 

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Major Announcement: Art of Conservation Goes Global!

After months of intensive field visits and meetings with potential partners and community members, ART OF CONSERVATION is officially global! We are bringing our vital assistance programs to communities in ecologically sensitive areas throughout the Caribbean Basin, which includes Mexico, Central America, Venezuela, and Guyana.

After our inspiring and enduring success in Rwanda, we will now inspire children and their families to conserve biodiversity through creative learning and one-health awareness. Julie Ghrist, our Founder and Program Director, will be moving to our new base within the jungles of Tulum in Quintana Roo, Mexico, in just a few weeks. 

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Your help can make a world of difference! Please consider making a donation to help fund this critical expansion.

Bringing our proven AoC model to new communities halfway across the world costs a lot, as you would imagine! We can't do it without your support. We rely on contributions we get from supporters like you to help provide the necessary resources, such as:

$25 provides basic and vital supplies such as textbooks and art supplies for our classrooms

$50 provides toothbrushes and personal health items for children

$100 provides a full year of conservation education for a Mexican child

$250 provides all students the opportunity to attend a weekend family conservation and health workshop

$500 provides Art of Conservation the funding needed to employ local artists and staff to effectively reach our community-based conservation goals in Tulum, Mexico

To continue the important work of Art of Conservation, inspiring and educating children and families worldwide about conserving biodiversity and living healthy, we need you to donate today! During our transition your support is more critical than ever for us to continue our work.

Location, Location, Location!

When Julie Ghrist first arrived in Rwanda 8 years ago, our greatest possible outcome was for local leaders to continue and sustain our work. That vision is now a reality through the work of a newly created partner organization, Conservation Heritage – Turambe (CHT)Read here for more details about CHT and the enduring AoC legacy in Africa.

Now we can bring that proven track record to another vulnerable community – this time within the Caribbean Basin. This region is exceptionally diverse in so many ways – culturally, biologically, and geologically, all within a relatively small area. 

AoC will now be working in marine environments, linking connections between marine and terrestrial ecosystems!

  • In northern Honduras, the edge of the Mesoamerican reef (the second largest coral reef on Earth) is less than an hour’s drive from a Garifuna fishing village in one direction, and a stunning mountain rainforest full of toucans in another.
  • In primordial southwestern Guyana where giant anteaters, jaguar, and giant otters are still plentiful, Macushi Amerindians live on expansive savannas and fish in rivers that overflow during the wet season.
  • And in coastal Mexico, The Maya people of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula live near a variety of habitats, including dry and wet tropical forests, mangrove swamps, lagoons, and cenotes—all rich with wildlife.

This is AoC’s vision of one-health conservation!

Our novel approach to conservation outreach has made a significant difference in Rwanda, and we look forward to sharing it with children and their families first in Quintana Roo in Mexico, and then throughout the Caribbean Basin.

Please consider making a donation to fund our work during this very exciting yet critical transition into the Caribbean Basin.

FOUR Things You Can Do Now to Help Ensure Success:

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PROMOTE! Share this email with 5 of your friends and ask them to consider making a donation!

SHARE! Find AoC on your favorite social media platforms and share our work with your friends!

Blog Facebook Twitter Youtube Instagram Pinterest Google+

VOLUNTEER!

Lastly, we have launched an updated website designed to keep everyone up to date on our exciting progress. We’re so excited to begin sharing updates on our progress, challenges, and the new friends we are making in the Caribbean Basin!

Thank you again for your support! 

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Forests, Mangroves, Lagoons, and Oceans

In our quest to gather as much information as possible during our recent trip to Honduras, Lucy, Allison, and I started our day with more eco-tour activities and visits to local communities. We jumped in the truck with Guide Rolando from Omega Tours and left Pico Bonito National Park for a drive to a place we could put in our sea kayaks.

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Where Rolando Leads... Lucy, Allison, and I Will Follow

You really can’t beat the beauty of Pico Bonito National Park in Honduras. Lucy, Allison, and I arrived by ferry to the city of La Ceiba on the north coast and Caribbean side of the country and quickly made our way to the Omega Tours Eco Jungle Lodge located near the eastern most boundary of the park next to the Cangrejal River.

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Fantastic Updates From Rwanda

Art of Conservation started the one-health awareness programs at the Ibirunga Tennis & Running Club. The Rwandan team: Valerie, Eric, Innocent, Olivier, and Eusebe continue carrying on AoC’s work!! If you recall, the Ibirunga Tennis & Running Club is one of the great local community initiatives that we have been supporting for eight years. Children are provided the opportunity to exercise, practice teamwork, and gain a sense of accomplishment. In addition to that the club also brings local people together leading to a stronger sense of community and pride while playing sports in the name of conservation.

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Meeting Mesoamerican Reef Region Partners

Soon to call the Mesoamerican Region our new Art of Conservation home, I am busy as ever with stacks of books and multiple tabs open on my computer studying the varied ecosystems found in this place on Earth. Where is this eco-region? It extends from the northern tip of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula southward toward Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Over the recent winter holidays I was joined by AoC’s Lucy and Allison in Honduras. Our main goal was to meet Jenny Myton of Coral Reef Alliance and her husband, Ian Drysdale, of Healthy Reefs for Healthy People on the island of Roatan, the place they call home. Crazy winter weather nearly usurped this opportunity! Finally Jenny and Ian arrived and all was great.

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Sports for Gorillas News from Rwanda

Hi, Olivier here with exciting Sports for Gorillas news.

In December, children from our Ibirunga Tennis & Running Club competed in the JUNIOR TENNIS NATIONAL TOURNAMENT at Cercle Sportif de Kigali.

Five clubs participated in the tournament:

1. Cercle Sportif de Kigali

2. Nyarutarama Tennis Club

3. Kanombe Tennis Club

4. Remera Tennis Club

5. Ibirunga Tennis & Running Club

Coach Rachid Nsanzimana and I traveled with seven of our players on the bus to Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali.

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Wishing you Happy Holidays

Dear friend,

 

Thank you! Art of Conservation would not be possible without wonderful supporters like you! Together we are taking action to ensure Planet Earth is healthy and full of biodiversity. Help us to continue to celebrate biodiversity and protect our shared environment through creative learning and one-health awareness by increasing your support this year.

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