Celebrating Earth Day in the Pablo Arturo Barrios Wildlife Refuge

Fig. 1. Image taking by: https://noticiasmicrojuris.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/shutterstock_96211094.jpg?w=1000

Since 2012, the Azuero Earth Project has been working with the community of Pedasí to promote a better management of the Pablo Arturo Barrios Wildlife Refuge and its natural resources, mangroves, dunes, and vegetation. Besides being a very important protected area in Pedasí, the touristic and natural value of this area is even more valuable due to its role as a buffer zone for the R.V.S. Isla Iguana. A community committee from Pedasí in addition to several organizations, including the Pedasí organisation Tortugas Pedasí, MiAmbiente, ATP, Minsacapsi Pedasí, the municipality, Cima Pedasí, Pedasí Tourism Chamber, the Azuero Earth Project and the Barrios family, planned an annual event for Earth Day to commemorate the RVS Pablo Barrios. This committee submitted an application to achieve shared management of the R.V.S. Pablo Barrios. A final answer in this regards will be taken by MiAmbiente.

Fig. 2. The image shows the planting of mangroves

To highlight the importance of the refuge and to share with this important date with the community of Pedasí, Earth Day was celebrated this Saturday, April 21st of 2018 at the Arenal beach and the refuge, with the support of the aforementioned entities and Fundación Natura.

That morning began with a walk and cleaning from the center of Pedasi to the Arenal beach, where the Azuero Earth Project received the public with open arms and a variety of exciting and interesting activities. Among these activities were a relaxing kayak tour within the confines of the wildlife refuge “Pablo Arturo Barrios”, in which families and friends had the opportunity to observe the natural beauty of the mangroves and the diversity of birds that inhabit them. Additionally, an important task was carried out for the conservation of this refuge, planting more than 100 mangroves. Another important event taken place that day was the distribution of bird guide and informational triptychs from the shelter “Pablo Arturo Barrios” from a study carried out by two students from McGill University, Montreal, Canada. A photography contest was organized with anticipation to the event to highlight the beauty of the refuge and the local nature of Pedasí. The winner of this contest where also revealed during the event. Finally, to mark the end of this eventful day, a beach cleaning was organized followed by several games of beach soccer!

Fig. 3. Celebrating in Playa El Arenal with the families and friends of the national and international community of Pedasi

The Azuero Earth Project would therefore like to say: “Thank you to all those who accompanied us to celebrate Earth Day! We are proud to know that many people celebrated this great day, which symbolizes the day of our mother Earth, or in other words, our home. However, we must remember that this must be an everyday matter and state of mind, because protecting the planet means, after all protecting our own home. We have a great responsibility over it! “

Fig. 4. Enjoying a kayaking trip between the mangroves of the Pablo Arturo Barrios Wildlife Refuge

You can find more information about our work at the Azuero Earth Project by following us on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages @proecoazuero , or by browsing on our official website: https://proecoazuero.org/

For any additional questions, we can be reached by phone with the following number: 995-2995 or via e-mail at:  info@proecoazuero.org

If you would like to support our reforestation programs you can also follow us on this page: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/support-riparian-reforestation-with-azuero-farmers/

“Thank you to the LATA Foundation for their support of this activity”


Eco-Movil Malls: Tag sales to promote local support for conservation

When we talk about saving the planet, we’re not just talking about recycling plastic, cans, etc, but also thinking carefully about the use we give everything we have in our house that we no longer use or simply don’t like. To that end, our Eco-Movil Mall Initiative, together with Tortugas Pedasi, collects clothing, shoes, home items, and many other second-hand goods, to then sell at yard sales that rotate among rural communities on the peninsula. Every Eco-Movil Mall has an organizer in the local community in charge of inviting us to the community, and inviting their neighbors to the activity, that benefits local community through offering them the chance to buy quality items a low cost without travelling to urban centers, while supporting local environmental initiatives at the same time.

Through this initiative, we hope to promote the reuse of everyday items, giving them a second life, while at the same time supporting environmental NGOs in the region. In each of our two first sales, in December 2016 and May 2017, we have collected over $500.00, a great help to both organizations. Our next Eco-Movil Mall is tentatively planned for August 2017.

Do you have goods you’d like to donate? Would you like to help organize a Eco-Movil mall in your community? Reach out to us at (507) 995-2995 or info@proecoazuero.org to support this initiative. You can also deliver items directly to our Pedasi office, in front of Distribuidora LIBADI, during work hours (8 am – 5 pm, Monday-Friday), at your convenience.

Pro Eco Pela’os Study Plastic Bag Use in Pedasí Markets

Children from the Pro-Eco Pela’os Program visit local stores in Pedasí to study plastic bag use among customers, c. Leo Mena

The children that make up the Pro-Eco Pela’os program were busy in June 2013 working on a campaign to reduce the number of plastic bags used by customers of local stores in Pedasí. For three weeks the Pro-Eco Pela’os group visited 3 different stores in Pedasí on Wednesday afternoons and wrote down the number of people that took plastic bags from the store along with the number of people that brought their own bags for their purchases.

Out of the 98 people that visited the stores during the 3 weeks of the Pro-Eco Pela’os´ study no customers came in with their own reusable bag. About 44% of the people that visited the store did not use a plastic bag for their purchase. Conversely, slightly more than half of the customers who visited the stores during the Pro-Eco Pela’os visits took a plastic bag from the store.

Pro-Eco Pela´os noting how many customers use plastic bags for their purchases, c. Leo Mena

Leo Mena, organizer of the Pro-Eco Pela´os Program, discussed with the children why it is important to reduce plastic bag use at local markets. Many of the Pro-Eco Pela’os commented that it is important to take fewer plastic bags from the store so that they do not end up littered on the street or worse, eaten by a sea turtle that thinks that the plastic bag is a jellyfish.

The members of Pro-Eco Pela’os designed posters which can be seen in stores urging customers to ask themselves, “Do you need that plastic bag?” The Pro-Eco Pela’os program is hopeful that these flyers will make the customers think about their actions before taking a bag in the future.

Poster reminding customers to consider their plastic bag use in stores, c. Leo Mena and Pro-Eco Pela´os Program

Where Nature and Tradition Meet: Art Workshop with Francisco Delgado

c. Guillermo Duran

The AEP office burst into activity on the afternoon of March 16 as Pedasí residents and visitors learned about traditional art and culture of the Corpus Christi festival (celebrated on Thursday, May 30 in 2013) with Francisco Delgado. Delgado’s workshop, titled “Where Tradition and Culture Meet” explored the dilemma of preserving traditional practices of Panama while conserving local flora and fauna. Delgado spoke about birds found in the Azuero, such as the Azuero parakeet (Pyrrhura eisenmanni) and scarlet macaw (Ara macao), whose feathers are used to make the fantastic masks worn during Corpus Christi.

However, these birds are now in danger of extinction. As Delgado explained, “For every devil mask (diablico) that you see dancing on television, one needs 100 feathers, which, sadly, means that sometimes one must kill up to 10 macaws for one mask.” As an alternative, Delgado suggests making feathers out of colorful paper, in addition to protecting these birds in their natural habitat.

Francisco Delgado with workshop participants, c.Guillermo Duran

The story is similar for flowers like caracucha and veranera flowers, rose petals, acacias, and carnations used to make Corpus Christi flower carpets. Today there are few funds to buy these natural flowers. Delgado showed workshop participants how to make paper versions of these flower carpets and bird feathers using coconut palm fronds, Chinese kite paper, manila and colored paper and kabob skewers. By the end of the workshop, participants had made beautiful carpets out of paper, showcasing how traditions can be maintained through creative adjustments to the peninsula’s modern reality.

Workshop participants included Scouts Group 90 from Pedasi as well as local families and residents. Said Librada Barahona: “I learned how to make flowers and feathers out of paper because there are not enough flowers and they cost a lot. We cannot waste bird feathers because we take their lives [when we use them for these art projects]”.

To learn more about the workshop and for more information on Francisco Delgado, visit the Guest Experts page.

Written by Sophie M. Fuchs

Francisco Delgado with workshop participants, c. Guillermo Duran

Pedasí Community Explores Global Fishing Crisis in AEP Movie Night

Source: http://endoftheline.com/film/

In the latest feature of the Monkey Movie Nights on March 7, AEP screened “End of the Line”, a documentary that explores the global fishing crisis. Through interviews and scientific studies, the film explains that the current state of fishing on a global level is unsustainable. Unless fishermen worldwide change their practices quickly, stocks of fish could be depleted within our lifetimes.

Sr. Algis Garcia of the Association of Pedasí Fishermen, Sr. Victor Vera, administrator of the Cooperative Virgen del Carmen in Pedasí, and other community members attended the event. The movie’s themes hit close to home for many, particularly artisanal fishermen, who rely on fishing for their livelihood and Pedasí residents who eat seafood on a regular basis.

After the movie, participants discussed the film’s themes in more depth. AEP staff asked the group if they thought there had been a decrease in the number of fish caught by fishermen in Pedasí in recent years. Victor Vera commented that the stocks of snapper (“pargo”) had definitely decreased, while the population of jellyfish has increased. When asked what we can do to protect fish stocks in our region of Panama for the future, Sr. Vera pointed out that we have the Pablo Barrios Wildlife Refuge and that we need to better protect this area to ensure the future of local fish stocks.

What can you do? The three takeaway points from the movie are the following:

  1. Ask where your fish comes from before buying (and choose fish that is less in danger of extinction)
  2. Ask your politicians to protect the oceans with stronger laws against overfishing
  3. Demand the creation of a network of protected marine areas

Read more about efforts to prevent overfishing

View Panamanian Marviva public service announcements promoting responsible fish consumption

Written by Sophie M. Fuchs