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Friends of the Great Green Macaw, Inc

Annual Report

Jan. 1, 2004 through December 31, 2004

 

The Mission of Friends of the Great Green Macaw (FGGM) is to Preserve and Rehabilitate the habitat and population of the Great Green Macaw in Costa Rica, and to protect the biodiversity in the ecosystems in which it is found. We accomplish this through the creation of local and private conservation initiatives. This annual report covers the calendar year of 2004.

Summary

The year 2004 began on a low note as at the end of 2003 the volunteer program at Bosque Tropical del Toro began to collapse. The volunteer coordinator at the time had trouble coordinating the workload and volunteers were living under very difficult conditions. The organization was without a Director in Costa Rica as Andrew Rothman was in the US with a family medical emergency. In addition, the living conditions at BTT were becoming more and more unbearable with intermittent water, and uncontrollable grass growth. The grass encroached seemingly faster then it could be cut, leaving the volunteers to feel as if they were trapped in field of "corn", or in this case grass. The grass also brought a high load of insects that proved to be annoying in the open-air living setting. This led to the dismantling of volunteer operations at Bosque Tropical del Toro.

Andrew returned in February, with Jim Dinsmore who was to be trained as the next Costa Rican Director, and with new volunteers. Operations were moved to the Rain Ranch property 10 km N of Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui near the community of La Esperanza. Improvements to Rain Ranch and the office in Chilamate were made. It turned out that Jim was not a good fit for the organization. Anna Hjarne, a native of Sweden, who joined the organization as a volunteer, was promoted to replace Andrew as Interim Project Director in Costa Rica. Anna led the organization for the months of March and April. During her time she managed the volunteers at Rain Ranch who were conducting various biological surveys, creating and clearing hiking trails and assisting with the development of the Rainforest Vanilla Conservation Association. Anna also represented Amigos de la Lapa Verde, and hosted an informational booth at the III Annual Bi-National Macaw Festival, which in 2004 was held in our back yard of Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui.

In May, Harmony Patricio took over as Project Director in Costa Rica, and Blair Bumgarner became Volunteer Coordinator. Roles were split to allow Harmony to concentrate on the further development of the San Juan- La Selva Bird Route, and our Adopt-a-Tree Program, while Blair assisted and guided the summer volunteer staff. Harmony and Blair remain Co- Project Directors.

Throughout 2004 some tangible progress was made for the conservation of the Green Macaws and their habitat in Northern Costa Rica, here are some of the highlights. An Almendro tree with a macaw nest was officially adopted with the financial support of a local family and FGGM donations. We conducted a celebration to commemorate the tree and received national television coverage of our programs. The high school students of the small village showed immense interest in conservation and the green macaw, and hope to build a new high school that focuses on ecology, biology, and naturalist training.

We were also inspired by the initiative of the youth the small village of La Quezada, Nicaragua. While participating in a Bi-National workshop on the biology and conservation of the Green Macaw with our companions of the San Juan - La Selva Biological Corridor, we met a group of young people who have created a wildlife preserve in their community. We also shared information about our programs with the residents of the area, and conducted a program on the Green Macaw for the primary school children. It was incredibly inspiring to see young people so committed to conservation, despite their challenging living conditions.

We made contacts with some landowners in order to continue the development of the Bird Route. We also made a connection with a nearby community that manages their own reserve and needs support in monitoring and conservation of the forest. Hopefully their inclusion in the Bird Route will provide the resources they need to protect their reserve from poaching and illegal logging.

Of course, FGGM is in need of resources as well, and we came very close to getting that big grant we have been waiting for. The Inter-American Foundation selected our proposal for a site visit out of over 1,800 proposals that they received (only about 80 other projects were selected along with ours). We hosted their representative in early December, and spent a few days introducing him to the Bird Route sites and communities, as well as re-working the grant proposal. He was incredibly positive, and very impressed with our projects. Unfortunately, he was not the final decision maker. The Inter-American Foundation Committee, which makes the final decision, chose at the last minute not to fund any projects in Costa Rica this year. We will submit the proposal again for the next round of grants, and hopefully we will be successful this time.

The most important achievement this past year was the development a local nonprofit association here in Sarapiqu�. In order to ensure lasting conservation and continuation of the projects a strong network of local activists and supporters must be developed, and we have furthered this process by supporting local people in the organization of their own association with the goal of protecting the forest of the Green Macaw. We hope that in the future this local organization will have the capacity to choose, direct and manage the projects in Costa Rica while FGGM supports them through fundraising and promotional efforts. In the year that Blair and Harmony have spent in Costa Rica it has become clear that we must depend on the local people to take the lead in preserving their forests, but we can support their efforts through volunteer labor and acquisition of funding.

In the US, the summer of 2004 played host to this organizations largest fundraising event to date. Saturday July 24th, 2004 Friends of the Great Green Macaw held the Rainforest Benefit Concert at Luther's Blues in Madison, WI. The event featured four great local bands, cuisine from the Rainforests of Laos, and a silent auction of prizes donated from nearly 30 local Madison businesses. The event was a success as over 300 people attended.

Fundraising efforts continued in the US during 2004 as 3 funding proposals were written and educational presentations were conducted for various organizations and groups, as well as for the general public as we participated in the 2004 Waterfront Festival in Madison, WI. In December 2004 and January 2005 we conducted the FGGM Phone-a-Thon that raised nearly $2,000 thanks to our generous supporters. Also as previously mentioned in 2004 we adopted our first Great Green Macaw Nest in Costa Rica with the help of Tod Highsmith.

The year of 2004 provided some of the best moments for the organization but also some of the worst. Fundraising continues to be the largest issue that the organization faces. Speaking of faces, more changes will be happening in 2005 as the face of our organization changes hands as Harmony Partrico becomes the President and our organization changes its name to the Rainforest Biodiversity Group. Below is a more detailed summary of Friends of the Great Green Macaw's activities in 2004.

2004 Activities

In 2004, FGGM focused its conservation activities on the development and promotion of the Costa Rica Bird Route: Section San Juan - La Selva, and education and outreach.

Education Programs:
� Conducted two educational programs during workshop in Nicaragua with San Juan - La Selva Biological Corridor and Mesoamerican Biological Corridor.
� Developed informational handout for the promotion of the San Juan - La Selva Bird Route for local landowners
� Conducted educational programs with children at Sarapiqui Conservation Learning Center
� Conducted educational programs on weekly basis at Selva Verde Lodge

Reforestation:
� Planted 50 trees in 2004
� Assisted with the care of additional 100 trees

Biological Surveys:
� Conducted Point Count Bird Survey at Rain Ranch Biological Station
� Conducted Pitfall Trap Amphibian Survey at Rain Ranch
� Participated in La Selva Radius Christmas Bird Count at Rainforest Aerial Tram
� Conducted Christmas Bird Count at Rain Ranch

Adopt-A-Nest Program:
� Created Adopt-a-Nest Program
� Officially adopted 1st Nest Tree in Adopt-a-Nest Tree Program
� Hosted promotional event to mark declaration of nest protection and obtained national television coverage of event.
� Created binding contract for owners of nests in which we adopt the protection of nest trees.
� Collected information on Adopted Nest Tree
� Created Certificate for those that Adopt Nest Trees

Promotion of Activities/ Outreach:
� Create Amigos de la Lapa Verde information sheet on programs for general public and landowners in Costa Rica
� Obtained airtime on national Costa Rican TV for promotion and education on Adopt-a-Tree Program.
� Had informational articles published in Costa Rican publications: Sin Fronteras, and La Hoja del Almendro.
� Developed and distributed press releases to various media outlets on work of organization, Adopt-a-tree program and Bird Route
� Distributed information on organization and its programs to International Organizations (Conservation International, World Wildlife Fund, Nature Conservancy, Smithsonian Institute, Pinhead Institute, RARE, Flora and Fauna International, American Bird Conservancy, Alliance for Zero Extinction)
� Communicated with Conservation Organizations (Partners in Flight, Wisconsin Bird Conservation Imitative, Madison Audubon Society, Tropica Verde,
� Communicated with Universities and professors from University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point, University of Houston - South Carolina Clear Lake, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Weslyan College)

Bird Route:
� Identified 2 additional potential Bird Route sites
� Obtained Data base of local landowner contact information
� Visited 6 potential bird route sites
� Formed Nature Tourism Sub-committee of CBSS Executive Committee to oversee and advise on development of Bird Route
� Modified and Edited Bird Route Code of Ethics
� Modified, edited and further developed Bird Route and Tourism Plan within CBSS
� Proposed 40 - 50 hectare minimum total property size for Bird Route Sites
� Proposed restricting Bird Route sites to 15

San Juan - La Selva Biological Corridor (CBSS):
� Participated in 8 of 11 CBSS Meetings
� Participated in Biological Corridor Annual Meeting and Field Outing
� Participated in educational workshop in Nicaragua
� Participated in public forum on the development of the Biological Corridor (Puerto Viejo)
� Formed Nature Tourism Sub-committee of CBSS Executive Committee
� Supported CBSS initiatives � Fulfilled 75% of responsibilities withn CBSS

Festivals and Conferences:
� Participated in III Bi-national Festival of the Macaws in April 2004
� Participated in The Nature of Trails Retreat hosted by Fermata, Inc

Fundraising and Grant Writing:
� Applied for Grants from:
1. Conservation, Food and Health Foundation
2. InterAmerican Foundation
3. National Fish and Wildlife Service Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act (2 proposals)
4. Costa Rica - USA Foundation (incomplete)
5. Wisconsin Bird Conservation Iniative (incomplete)
� Hosted Representative from InterAmerican Foundation

Other Meetings:
� Participated in 2 Board Meetings of the Private Reserve Network of Costa Rica
� Participated in half of yearly CRENASA meetings of CRENASA
� Participated in 8 of 11 Corridor Meetings

Other Activities:
� Assisted with and supported the Sarapiqui Conservation Learning Center local neighborhood census (Chilamate, Costa Rica vicinity)

Volunteer Program:
In 2004 we had 18 volunteers from 4 countries assist us with our projects in Costa Rica. We also would not have been able to accomplish what we did in 2004 without the many people in the U.S. who donated their, time, energy, resources and wisdom. The 2004 volunteers were:

COSTA RICA:
Amanda Ferrer
Ana Hjarne
Helene Cavagna
Geordie Beck
Jim Dinsmore
Marissa Workowski
Max Piana
Erin Fuller
Katie Ingram
Harmony Patricio
Blair Bumgarner
Andrew Rothman
Scott Hocking
John Baeten
Elissa Rosen
Alex Rowe
Alex Martinez
Mario

USA:
Andrew Rothman
Russ Rothman
Bobbie Webster
Stephanie Schmid
John Reynolds
Mike Saunders
Orion Kiesch
Green Tea and members
Know Boundaries and members
Anna Marie Tasker
William Volkert
Jeff Keuckenbecker
Carl Leopold
Josh Rothman
Shiela Rothman
Mike Haight
Jen Ewald
Phoebe Saunders
Jamie Kiesch

Membership:
Board: In 2004 the Board of Directors was split into two parts, an Executive Board, and an Advisory Board. The Executive Board held voting responsibilities on motions, and the advisory board provided recommendations and oversight of the development and implementation of motions.

The Executive Board 2004:
President: Andrew Rothman
Vice President: Mike Saunders / William Volkert
Secretary: Bobbie Webster
Treasurer: Russ Rothman

The Advisory Board 2004:
William Volkert
Steve Mahler
Jeff Keuckenbecher
Carl Leopold

General membership:
Our general membership numbers have dropped every year. This year was our worst membership year to date, as we had just 15 paid members. This coincided with our minimal membership effort in 2004.

Newsletters:
Between 2/04 and 12/04 we published six newsletters (No.'s 17 - 22)

Website:
Our Website was updated and maintained by Russell Bensman Marketing


ACCOUNTING

US Funds Raised / Donations:
Membership: $325.00
Adopt-a-Nest: $200.00
General Cash Donations: $1920.00
TOTAL CASH DONATIONS: $2,445.00

In-Kind Donations: $35,523.35
Bills/ Fee Costs Donated: $1121.11
Other Incomes / Donations: $2121.00
TOTAL US Funds Raised /Donations: $41,210.46

Costa Rica Funds Raised:
Volunteer Fees Taken In: $180
Presentations: $100
Total Funds Raised in Costa Rica: $280

EXPENDITURES

USA:
Costs for Staff: $1268.90
Fees: $347.20
Promotion: $295.38
Benefit Concert: $1014.64
Postage: $ 276.02
Total US Expenditures: $3,202.14

Costa Rica:
Definitions:
Bills: Money used to pay bills of organization in Costa Rica (ex. Rent, Electricity)
Transport: Money used for transportation for project directors and staff
Stipend / Living Expenses: Stipend needed for living expenses for Project Directors
Internet: Money used for Internet use
Supplies: Money used for purchasing of supplies used by staff (ex. project needs, cleaning supplies, construction matierals)
Other Expenditures: Money used for purchase of equipment or project materials (ex. Computer, Tree Adoption, Cell phone)
Income: Money obtain from fees, sales or donations

EXPENDITURES COSTA RICA:
Bills: $1093.47
Transport: $316.01
Stipend/ Living Expenses: $1,772.60
Supplies: $483.74
Internet: $ 83.54
Other Project Expenditures: $1097.24
TOTAL EXPENDITURES COSTA RICA: $4846.60

TOTAL EXPENDITURES COSTA RICA AND USA: $8048.74


2004 DONORS

Madison Audubon Society
Budwieser
Boulders Climbing Gym
Capitol Kia
The Exclusive Co.
Budget Bicycles
REI
Glass Nickel Pizza
Team Soft
Lao Lang Xiang
Capitol City Tattoo
Art Gecko
Sara Roark
Wild Birds Unlimitied
Chickadee Depot
STA Travel
The Shoe Box
Capitol Kids
Jazzman
The Princeton Club
Alex Queen
Amy Wick
Collen Webster
Craig and Cindy Dunn
Davis and Louise Reimer
Duane and Aleta Barmore
Dan Schnieder
Eric Rothman
Gary Johnson
Hallie and Jeff Ringhand
Heather Neldner
Ila Koss
Horicon Bird Club
Josh and Shiela Rothman
Karen Cherry
Lisa Newman
Mara Hoyer-Winfield
Marc and Tema Bomback
Maria Victoria Chiriboga
Matt Lohr
Nancy Nelson
Russell Adverstising
Phil and Marsha Rothman
Steve O'Connor
Tod Highsmith
Jen Ewald
Capitol City Reporters
Sally Kupkovits
Frank Montgomery
David and Sarah Berres
Steph Bielke
Alan Crossley
Steve and Suzanne Fedie
Jim and Linda Endres
Helene Cavagna
Marsha and Marc Williamson
Dick Cullen
Bob and Nancy Queen
Ron Depry
Gerry Mowris
Sally and Paul Edelsburg
Charter Media
WMSN Channel 47
Midwest Family Broadcasting
Andrew Rothman
Luther's Blues
Charlie Conover
Alexander Martinez