Agroecosystems for Communities and Conservation

By natcatcher 26 Dec 2014

The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund has awarded a one-year, $25,000 grant to fund a CLO project that addresses the needs of birds and people in Guatemala. Starting January 1st, Cornell Master’s student, Gemara Gifford, will lead an expedition to the Highlands of Guatemala, working with in-country partners, Rob and Tara Cahill from Community Cloud Forest Conservation (CCFC). Though, she isn’t going alone! Young Birder and Guatemalan, Daniel Aldana, as well as Cornell undergraduates, Sarah Dzielski and Mary Margaret Ferraro will begin surveying for Neotropical migrants on their wintering habitats –  the cloud forests, coffee plantations, and rich agroecosystems in Q’eqchi’ Maya villages. Imagine a trip to the cloud forest for your winter break! Director of Conservation Science, Dr. Amanda Rodewald is looking forward to accompanying her student to Guatemala to see the Disney project come to life. “Agroecosystems for Communities and Conservation” aims to identify agricultural practices that both conserve birds and promote sustainable communities in Guatemala. Its goals are to improve wildlife habitat and human nutrition with a fruit tree program, and to build local conservation capacity through environmental education. By monitoring migratory and resident birds species in agroecosystems with point counts, CLO scientists will be able to determine the conservation value of an agricultural ecosystem based on the species present across repeated surveys, and – all of the data can be viewed live on eBird! On top of the bird surveys, CCFC will be bringing rural elementary schools to their Agroecology Learning Center where nearly 300 students will complete a hands-on environmental education and agroecology camp, reinforcing the importance of healthy agroecosystems for people and birds.

Guatemala Article

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To find out more about this exciting project, visit the project blog here:

To find out why agroecosystems are important for birds, watch this video:

To see other DWCF projects, go here: