project updates

Snow Leopard Conservancy & Himalayan Homestays: Q1 2019 PROGRESS UPDATE

Snow Leopard Conservancy India Trust set the year off on a good course with their Himalayan Homestays project taking place in the Sham Valley of Ladakh. The organization identified two beneficiary villages to receive homestay packages - Wanla and Hanupatta. Each village received two consultations to determine beneficiary households and figure out next steps for beginning the homestay program. These are households opening their homes to tourists as a way of enabling tourists to learn about local culture first-hand and enable local people to generate income that offsets livestock loss to snow leopards. The organization also provided garbage bins to an existing homestay village in their efforts to better manage waste.

In getting the homestay program going, the organization met with Wanla villagers to discuss the importance of conserving the snow leopard and the associated species and the landscape. Conversation also took place around adverse impacts of mass tourism on the natural resources of Ladakh and the importance of maintaining an ecological balance for sustainable development in the future. Snow Leopard Conservancy India Trust carried out inspections of homestays, offering explanation of the value of homestays – how for example, ten percent of proceeds from the homestays will go to a village conservation fund that can be used for various activities promoting responsible tourism in the village. Lastly a date was determined for the Snow Leopard Conservancy India Trust to return and distribute material and offer training on hospitality, hygiene, sanitation, cooking and bookkeeping. In addition, the visit at Hanupatta village took place to consult the villagers for starting homestays. Four of the households did not meet the standards set by SLC-IT and are working to address the issues in order to re-qualify.

Lastly, a total of 25 metal drums were handed over to the Mangyu village to support with waste management. The metal drums or garbage bins were painted and labeled and sites were determined where they would be placed as well as discussion about management with waste once bins are filled. Agreement was determined to send the recyclable waste to Leh, the capital town, and dispose the rest in a dry valley next to the village. All in all, this project is off to a great start!

Project Name: The Himalayan Homestays Program
Organization Name: Snow Leopard Conservancy India Trust
Year Grant Awarded: 2018
Progress Update: Quarter 1, 2019 Project Update

Settling Into New Homes: Q1 2019 PROGRESS UPDATE

The Batwa community and their families thanks to the support of Volcanoes Safaris, are taking great strides at the beginning of this year to settle into their new homes and community. Since the project got underway in 2018, about 10 acres of land have been purchased with plans to build homes, a community center and sequester land for agricultural and recreational use. The homes were completed in early 2018 and the official launch of the village took place at the end of May 2018. All in all, the Gahinga Batwa community is comprised of over 100 adults and children whom have not had permanent homes since they left the Mgahinga National Park over 25 years ago.

The Batwa are now practicing farming with VSPT support, providing this community with farm inputs to enhance food security. Integrated adult literacy classes are underway to offer the Batwa people the opportunity to learn how to read and write. In addition, health education, treatment, and monitoring is taking place by an appointed village nurse and other health workers.

Project Name: New Batwa Settlement
Organization Name: The Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust
Year Grant Awarded: 2017
Progress Update: Quarter 1, 2019 Project Update

Protecting Coral Reefs in the Mexican Pacific: Q1 2019 PROGRESS UPDATE

WILDCOAST is making considerable progress with protecting coral reefs in the Mexican Pacific! It’s been quite a busy first part of the year for this organization. Over the course of this grant, WILDCOAST has developed and distributed 5,000 Wildlife and Dive Guides for the 13,613-acre marine portion of Oaxaca’s Huatulco National Park. The organization is currently working with the Huatulco Hoteliers Association to distribute the guides. A printed short survey will be included for the hotel guests to complete to help evaluate the impact of the guides. The organization is also partnering with Isla Espiritu Santo National Park to create a new guide for the 48,655-acre park.

In addition to guides, WILDCOAST implemented the first coordinated network of mooring and conservation buoy systems in the Mexican Pacific. With grant funding, the organization installed a total of 200 mooring and conservation buoys in Huatulco National Park and an additional 10 mooring buoys in Espiritu Santo National Park that will protect more than 150 acres of corals. WILDCOAST also facilitated trainings with eight park rangers from the national parks of Huatulco, Cabo Pulmo, Isla Espiritu Santo, Isla Isabel and Islas Marietas, on the installation and maintenance of mooring buoys. WILDCOAST carried out buoy maintenance in seven bays in Huatulco National Park that were impacted during the 2018 hurricane season and large swell events.

To advance their training goals for this grant, WILDCOAST facilitated trainings with a total of 80 tourism outfitters in Huatulco, Isla Isabel, Espiritu Santo, and Cabo Pulmo National Parks to improve on-site coral reef visitor management and best visitation practices in the parks. In partnership with Isla Isabel, Espiritu Santo, Huatulco, and Cabo Pulmo National Parks, WILDCOAST also facilitated an exchange of thirty park staff and tourism outfitters to improve visitor management in the four protected areas.

To support in building community support and stewardship for local reef ecosystems in Oaxaca (Huatulco), and Baja California Sur (La Paz, Los Barriles and Cabo Pulmo), a total of 2,732 community members were engaged in activities including presentations at local schools as well as conservation themed photographic exhibits and informational stands during local festivals.

Lastly, WILDCOAST identified hard coral species to be included in the Mexican Act for protected species (NOM-059). We submitted two proposals to the Biodiversity Department of SEMARNAT to include two hard coral species in Mexico’s endangered species list (NOM-059).

Project Name: Coral Reef Conservation In Mexican Pacific
Organization Name: WILDCOAST
Year Grant Awarded: 2017
Progress Update: Quarter 1, 2019 Project Update

Water for Hwange: Q1 2019 PROGRESS UPDATE

With a challenging drought this year, Imvelo Safari Lodges is working hard on their Water for Hwange Project to build solar water pumps to support the wildlife in in the Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe! The project will replace old dirty diesel water pumps with new pumps that reduce the carbon footprint in these areas by providing a more eco-friendly environment for wildlife and human population surrounding the boundary of Hwange National Park.

So far this year, planning has taken place and quotes are out for constructing pumps at the following sites: Mfagazaan location inside the park, Mbazu site in the park, the Makeni village and the Emanaleni village. The quotes are expected to be finalized by the end of this month and deposits put down to move into the next phase of this project. The scope of work for each site is as follows. For the Mfagazaan site, there is currently an existing small solar panel array, which is insufficient and will be supplemented with a Kubota diesel generator unit as part of the upgrade. At the Mbazu location, the project will entail installing two solar diesel hybridized pumps with two solar arrays and one large diesel pump.

For the Makeni village, the hand operated bush pump will be replaced with a solar array driving an electric submersible pump to fill a new 2,000 liter water tank on a low stand with spigot. Lastly, the Emanaleni village contains an old diesel engine running a mono pump. The project will replace this pump with a solar array and electric submersible pump that will allow 2,000 liters of water on low stand with spigot. The plan is to have this all completed by mid-June and have all the wells, arrays and pumps operational by June 15th! We look forward to sharing more information about this project soon!

Project Name: Water for Hwange
Organization Name: Water for Wildlife Trust / Imvelo Safari Lodges Pvt Ltd
Year Grant Awarded: 2018
Progress Update: Quarter 1, 2019 Project Update

Keep the Khumbu Region Trail System Clean: Q1 2019 Progress Update

The Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee has a lot to be proud about in having successfully completed construction of 7 garbage bins located at various resting points along the Everest Base Camp Trekking Trails in 2018!  The organization is continuing to progress on their grant in the first part of 2019 with selecting sites and planning for construction for the remaining 13 garbage bins that will be completed during the year.  In addition, another site visit will happen soon to install donor plaques on the 7 completed garbage bins as well as the 7 already installed garbage bins will be emptied and monitored. Lastly the measurement of selected sites for construction of the remaining 13 garbage bins will take place in order to get ready for the installation phase.  With more than 37,000 tourists and approximately 80,000 trekking and expedition staff with porters having visited the Khumbu Region where the Everest Trails inhabit, taking steps to control waste and mitigate environmental degradation on this important world landmark is huge!   

Project Name: Construction of Garbage Bins Along the Trekking Trails of Everest Region
Organization Name: The Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee
Year Grant Awarded: 2017
Progress Update:Quarter 1, 2019 Project Update

STRENGTHEN RESPONSIBLE VISITATION PRACTICES OF CORAL REEFS: Q1 2019 PROGRESS UPDATE

WILDCOAST is starting the year strong with their Oaxaca Sea Turtle Conservation Project and has made great progress with a number of their goals.  First off, planning activities began to get ready for carrying out 12 monitoring trips this year. To this end, WILDCOAST met with local community partners and the Mexican Sea Turtle Center and additionally analyzed data from the nine monitoring trips that took place in the 2018-2019 season.  They estimate more than two million turtles nested at Morro Ayuta in the 9.3 mile stretch of beach and they are excited to begin their studies in 2019!  They also initiated planning activities with local partners for beetle control implementation that affects the sea turtles for the 2019-2020 arribada season that commences in August.  WILDCOAST also worked with the Mexican Sea Turtle Center to renew a collaboration agreement to develop conservation protections for the Morro Ayuta area.

Towards their goal of designing education materials, WILDCOAST developed an initial draft of a guide for sea turtle habitat visitation for local communities and visitors that includes maps, other visuals, and visitation best practices.  The organization also engaged 98 students from a local indigenous village in sea turtle conservation experiential learning activities and in Huatulco, WILDCOAST reached 130 local residents and tourists through an environmental festival to promote conservation of sea turtles.  WILDCOAST is also hard at work collaborating with the Mexican Sea Turtle Center to organize a workshop to train locals in the immediate response to oil spills and oiled wildlife. Lastly, WILDCOAST initiated a needs assessment for the indigenous communities of Rio Seco and Morro Ayuta.  Great work WILDCOAST!

Project Name: Sea Turtle Conservation Project
Organization Name: WILDCOAST
Year Grant Awarded: 2018
Progress Update: Quarter 1, 2019 Project Update

GUNUNG PALUNG ORANGUTAN CONSERVATION PROGRAM - Q1 2019 PROGRESS UPDATE:

Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Program (GPOCP) continues to make great strides in their work to conserve orangutan populations and forest habitat in and around Gunung Palung National Park.  During Q1 2019, the organization created an online catalog of their NTPF products (Non-Timber Forest Products) for local and foreign tourists to place orders, met with new members of GPCOP’s organic farming cooperative, Meteor Garden, to discuss organic farming practices, produced and packaged their first batches of honey, coconut oil and coffee as part of GPOCP’s Customary Forest initiative! GPOCP’s aquaculture group also made headway towards establishing a catfish breeding program and best practices methodology.  In addition, the Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Program was thrilled to announce that the Head of the Regency in Kayong Utara officially signed a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) together with NTPF- EP Indonesia (Non-Timber Forest Products- Exchange Program); officially supporting local sustainable livelihoods in West Borneo to empower and benefit both the people and the forest.  

Apart from all these initiatives, GPOCP also made headway with their goal of educating the community about orangutans and their rainforest habitat.  In meeting this goal through the quarter, they offered six one-week long environmental expeditions engaging over 2,379 students in total and provided 11 school lectures to 1,308 students.  They also put on 21 puppet shows for 1,071 kindergarteners and engaged 265 adults through 12 community discussions. Through their educational mobile cinema events they reached 2,087 people.  In addition, they held 18 field trips for 813 students and launched an inaugural new volunteer youth group in Ketapang through carrying out a Field Trip for 13 new members inducted into this youth group called ‘’Tajam’’.  They also made time to broadcast 57 radio shows discussing orangutans, their rainforest habitat, and conservation and research activities conducted by GPOCP and lastly they published 126 articles in online and print media about current issues impacting conservation in Indonesia and GPOCP activities.  Quite impressive all the great work GPOCP achieved this quarter!

Project Name: Protecting Orangutans through Education and Sustainable Livelihoods
Organization Name: Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Program
Year Grant Awarded: 2017
Progress Update: Quarter 1, 2019 Project Update

Promoting and Facilitating the Reduction of Single-Use Plastics Q1 2019 Progress Update:

ATCF is thrilled with the work Desplastificate Todos Santos y Pescadero has accomplished in Q1 2019.  The stunning beauty of the Baja California region in Mexico attracts millions of tourists annually and the need for protecting the unique and rich coastal ecosystems that serve as home for so many important species is of critical importance.  Desplastificate Todos Santos y Pescadero raises awareness of the harm people are inflicting on the health and well-being of their community, the wildlife and the natural environment through excessive use of single-use plastics to educate and build awareness at an individual, organizational and institutional level.

The first quarter has been a busy one for the organization and they have been hard at work affecting change at multiple levels!  Within schools, this quarter Desplastificate Todos Santos y Pescadero gave educational presentations and workshops about single-use plastics to 365 students in 7 schools and presented a similar campaign to 400 students at the annual Todos Santos Film Festival.  They also created teams of Desplastificate Ambassadors who will serve as champions of eliminating single-use plastic waste and 3 schools received co-creative workshops with principals, teachers and students in attendance to plan how the schools can go about eliminating single-use plastics from their schools.

At a business level, posters for “5-Turtle Rating System” were created that rate hotels and restaurants on their single-use plastic consumption to incentivize businesses to reduce their environmental impacts.  Conversations were initiated with 32 of 76 targeted tourism related businesses - restaurants and hotels - to invite them to join the campaign and to determine their “turtle rating.”  Lastly, recruitment and promotion support of a local grocery store as distributor of compostable alternatives so that local businesses have better options.

Also, Desplastificate Todos Santos y Pescadero advanced their work at a community level from many initiatives including, collaborating with the Todos Santos Film Festival’s short film competition to promote Desplastificate as this year’s theme statewide.  In addition, 2 beach community cleanups were held and a “7 Actions You Can Take to support “Desplastify” poster was created and featured in a local publication. Desplastificate Todos Santos y Pescadero also collaborated with the Todos Santos GastroVino May Festival to facilitate low plastic consumption for the festival and participated in website design for the statewide Desplastificate campaign.

Project Name: Desplastificate Todos Santos y Pescadero
Organization Name: Desplastificate Todos Santos y Pescadero Aliance
Year Grant Awarded: 2018
Progress Update: Quarter 1, 2019 Project Update

Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Program - Q2/3 Progress Update:

Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Program - Q2/3 Progress Update:

This project protects the unique natural and cultural resources of adventure travel destinations by working to conserve orangutans and one of their last primary rainforest refuges, through environmental education and providing sustainable livelihood options to local communities as a method to deter or change livelihoods from participating in environmentally destructive activities

Permanent Settlement to Batwa Pygmies - Q2/3 Progress Update

Permanent Settlement to Batwa Pygmies - Q2/3 Progress Update

The Volcanoes Safari Partnership Trust (VSTP) has made considerable progress in creating a permanent settlement for the Gahinga community of Batwa pygmies. A site of about ten acres of land was acquired next to the Mgahinga National Park in Uganda, and the construction of homes for 18 families (105 adults and children) is well underway.