Friends of the Great Green Macaw, Inc.


                                                                                                                        7 N. Pinckney St

Newsletter 17                                            Suite 210

No. 4 Vol. 3                            [email protected]                           Madison, WI 53703

Jan / Feb / March 2003                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          



Greetings to all from the staff of Friends of the Great Green Macaw.  Yes, this newsletter is coming out late, but there is a reason. We have been busy with lots of moving and shaking…and yes this does include a little salsa dancing.  We even did a little dancing with the American Birding Association (ABA) and their Birders Exchange Program.  The program donated three copies of the Birds of Costa Rica field guide for use in our education and research programs.  Thank you ABA and Birders Exchange.


The slow days in January led to a whirlwind February in Costa Rica for me.  I spent the month visiting our project sites, and meeting with the people who may take over directing our volunteer, fundraising and bird route projects in Costa Rica.  I will personally be doing the fundraising and management salsa (i.e. moving and shaking) here in the states, while we will hire two directors for our grassroots efforts in Central America.  We will be hiring one person as Fundraising Director and Volunteer Coordinator and another as Bird Route Director.  We will also be hiring a third persona as volunteer assistant to the Bird Route Director. The interview process continues, however we hope to have a selection made by the end of March.  In the meantime, we have the capable Ana Hjarne, a native Swede, acting as Interim Director in my absence. Upon our selection, I will be handing the project over and don’t plan on being back in Costa Rica for the rest of the year.


Also during my time in Costa Rica I witnessed the beginning of a new project at Rain Ranch (more below).  The site is beautiful and the birding is top notch.  For those of you possibly planning a trip to Costa Rica, you will want to contact us and visit this site for a taste of rustic Costa Rica living, private reserve preservation and avian diversity.  There is always something happening at Rain Ranch, even if it does rain a lot.


The office in Chilamate has been improved as well. We have a new desktop computer, a cell phone and after a year of no cold drinks, we have a refrigerator, and it even has a freezer. Woo-hoo! We also have new desks, shelves, screened-in windows and a much sturdier porch. Thank you Geordie and Jim. 

For every up there is a down, and we had our downs as well this last month.  A number of pricey and important equipment items were stolen during a business trip, which has caused us a bit of grief, and frustration.  We had to put the BTT project on hold (see below) and even getting the line for the cell phone has proven to be time consuming. However, as I return to the states I feel the projects’ potential continues.  Funding for everything from transportation to office supplies is still needed, but we have good a network established, have good projects at Rain Ranch and with the Bird Route, and currently have a good volunteer crew. With good leadership in Costa Rica, broader promotion and fundraising efforts, and strong support, Friends of the Great Green Macaw can accomplish its goals. 


I look forward to bringing you the news again in April.



Andrew Rothman



The Name Game


Friends of the Great Green Macaw. “ Friends of what?” is typically what I here. I reply Friends of the Great Green Macaw. That’s a mouthful.  In reality our name is a long name.  We at FGGM (for short) are pondering a change of name to make our name and thus, our programs, a little easier to understand.  Rather than just picking a name and going for it, we would like feedback from our general members.  There are a number of potential names below.  Pick the one you think is best and send us your vote at [email protected] Subject: The name game. The nominees are


·      Macaw Conservation Group (MCG)

·      Macaw Protection Group (MPG)

·      Macaw Conservation Association (MCA)

·      Macaw Conservation Projects (MCP)

·      Macaw Ecosystem Protection Program (MEPP)


If you have other proposed names please send them our way. 


We are also thinking about modifying our motto, to make it a little shorter.  Currently our motto is:

Protecting macaws to protect biodiversity.  We pondered the idea of changing the motto to:

·      Macaws, Biodiversity, Conservation

·      Conservation, Education, Innovation

·      Sustaining Macaws and Biodiversity

·      Protecting Macaws, Conserving Biodiversity


Let us know if you think we should change our motto, and if so, to what. Contact us at [email protected]. It will only take a moment. Just cut, paste and send your vote or suggestion.




Rain Ranch Project Takes Flight

The ranch where it always rains, will now house the next generation of FGGM volunteers.  The site owned by David Gardella and his wife Cecila, protects over 50 hectares of rainforest habitat, and includes another 20 or so hectares under different agriculture and forest restoration efforts.  Friends volunteers Geordie Beck, Marissa Workowski, Jim Dinsmore and Anna Hjarne spent time in the month of February making Rain Ranch comfortable for the volunteers…and comfortable it is. 

Marissa and french volunteer Helene Cavagna remain at Rain Ranch conducting research projects.  Marissa is researching tree species and is looking to mark and identify individual trees at Rain Ranch that may be of interest to the great green macaws, who visit the site yearly.  Helene will be conducting point count bird surveys for the next three months.  This study will give us valuable information on the species of birds present at Rain Ranch, and we will be able to compare data from Rain Ranch with data gathered from El Retorno in years past.  We hope to show the impact protecting habitat for the great green macaw has on other species of birds. 

Ana, who is spliting her time at Rain Ranch and at the office in Chilamate, has been getting trails prepared at Rain Ranch.  Old time friends Scott Hocking and John Baeten will join Ana in trail maintenance and development in March.  (Free FGGM patch to the first person who correctly emails me the date of Scotts first mention our newsletter!)

Many ideas are advancing rapidly at Rain Ranch.  There is interest in housing captive bred macaws on site in large flight cages, and developing the site into a great green macaw research center.  This is a project to pay close attention to, the site has a lot of potental!


News and Notes:

MEMBERSHIP and RENEWAL 2004: We have begun the 2004 membership season, and are looking forward to maintaining your support over the next year, Jan – Dec 2004. Membership dues received by FGGM go along way to maintaining our project.  It is hard to receive the non-line item specific operational funding in other ways outside of membership dues.  So you your support plays a key role in the organization and for a small non-profit every dollar helps.  If we maintain even 50 members at $25 per member we have $1,250 available to cover cost of living expenses for our non-salaried directors in Costa Rica who make this project move forward.  Our organization will go as far as our support goes, and we hope that you will make the effort to support our organization and become a new member, or if you have been a member before, renew your membership.  Memberships are only $25 and of course are tax-deductible.  You will receive a new membership certificate for 2004 upon receipt of your dues, and will continue to receive the latest conservation news from Costa Rica’s Sarapiqui lowlands. Please send membership requests to FGGM, 7 N. Pinckney St., Madison, WI 53704. Those of you who renewed or became members between Sept.1, 03 and today are in good standing through 2004.


BTT: Life at BTT for the volunteers has been difficult…a little too difficult.  The project has had many ups and downs and never really got off the ground in the ways we had expected.  After a trial year, FGGM has decided to put the project on the shelf until living arrangements can be improved.  BTT will continue to be protected by the owner Guido Quesada.  The BTT project has gained the interest of neighboring landowners and more and more owners are becoming interested in joining conservation efforts in the area.

3rd Annual Bi-national Macaw Festival: The annual macaw festival celebrated between Costa Rica and Nicaragua is right around the corner.  Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui will host the event April 16-18. FGGM will be there and will report back on the event in the next issue of our newsletter.  The past two years have been successful and this year there is much excitement about the potential of the festival as an educational tool as Puerto Viejo, a town of 5000 people; the largest community to host the festival yet.


Biological Corridor News: CEDERENA, a founding member organization of the San Juan – La Selva Biological Corridor committee, has begun to conduct a land tenure study within the area proposed as Maquenque National Park.  This study will identify every property within the proposed park, who owns it, how big it is, if they are interested in conservation or selling, etc. 

Additionally there is new promotional materials coming out for the communities in Costa Rica. This includes brochures and posters.  Speaking of communities, Bosques por el Mundo: Fundacion Maquenque was established in late 2003 by local community members as a way for their voices to be heard in the Biological Corridor and National Park development processes.  We welcome them to the committee.

In other news, at the end of 2003 Friends of the Great Green Macaw took on the role of advising the corridor on nature based sustainable tourism options.



Here we will note items or things that would be of great use to FGGM.  Please let us know if you can help provide them.  Each item will receive a value that can be used as a tax-deduction.

The Wish List:

Color Printer

Computer (laptop or desktop)

Digital Camera

2 way radios and communication antennae

Mountain Bike (x 2)

Pad Locks

Office Supplies (Manila and regular envelopes, printer paper, pens, pencils, etc)

Vehicle (4 x 4 truck, four wheeler, or motorcycle)


Thanks for your help!!!