Rainforest Biodiversity Group

                                     2984 Triverton Pike Dr.

Madison, WI 53711

www.greatgreenmacaw.org

[email protected]


 

Rainforest Biodiversity Group

 Annual Report 2005

 January 1, 2005 through December 31, 2005

Rainforest Biodiversity Groups’ mission is to protect biological diversity, including migratory bird species, through the protection of habitat for the Great Green Macaw and the creation of local conservation initiatives. We accomplish our goals through the creation and support of public, as well as, private conservation initiatives.   This annual report covers our activities for the calendar year of 2005. 

Annual Summary

COSTA RICA:

The year of 2005 came rushing in like a surging river…like a flood, literally. Blair Bumgarner, one of our directors in Costa Rica and Secretary for 2005, awoke to the music and cool water of the Río Sarapiquí, conveniently located right in his bedroom! As the river swelled, our entire office was flooded and the water level in the house quickly rose to over 5 feet. Luckily he was able to salvage some of the organization’s belongings, but much was lost as well. Our greatest disappointment was to lose nearly all of our paperwork and files, many field guides, scientific reference materials, other books, as well as our accounting paperwork and reciepts. The better part of January and into February was spent recovering from the damage, as Harmony Patricio and Blair, along with the help of some local friends, attempted to clean, dry and repair belongings and the office itself. The damage to the interior of the office was so extensive that we deemed it best to relocate. The flood dealt quite a blow to the community as a whole, and there were many who suffered far greater losses than us. Our thoughts are still with those who continue to recover.

As a result of the flood and funding difficulties, decisions were made in the U.S. to put the projects in Costa Rica on hold. However, our directors Harmony Patricio and Blair Bumgarner were committed to finishing their work in Costa Rica for the year, and they chose to keep working. Both of them found alternate jobs, in order to cover some of their expenses, and they continued to work with Asociacion Amigos de la Lapa Verde (Amigos), the Costa Rican nonprofit that RBG had formed as our Costa Rican counterpart at the end of 2004. The president of Amigos, Alexander Martinez, was incredibly generous in donating lodging and some meals for three months, which enabled our directors to remain in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí.

Despite the challenges carried in with the flood, we were still able to accomplish quite a bit. Our project directors continued to conduct weekly educational presentations, research and planning for the Bird Route, assisted with two nest adoptions and participated in very satisfying river clean-ups led by Costa Ricans.  Also we completed the composition of three formal requests for funding via applications, conducted fundraising efforts, and participated in Executive Committee of the San Juan-La Selva Biological Corridor (CBSS-EC) meetings and projects. This included a presentation to the EC-SSBC on the Bird Route development. Additionally, our sister organization Amigos de la Lapa Verde, persisted throughout 2005 with their work to protect the Great Green Macaw and its habitat directly through patrols for illegal hunting and logging, fundraising, education, and nest adoptions. Two more nest adoptions were celebrated last year, thanks to donations from Dr. Vincent Hanlon, Tod Highsmith and Selva Verde Lodge. We want to commend Alex Martinez and the other members for their continued struggle to preserve the flora and fauna of Costa Rica, despite the limited amount of time and resources available.

After our project directors left Costa Rica in May they continued to volunteer support for RBG and Amigos through organizational and administrative work, educational efforts, grant writing, research, outreach and communication, as well as participation as members of the Board of Directors.

After May we did not have staff in Costa Rica, as we did not procure the financial resources necessary to support this full time staff in Costa Rica. Without a full time staff member, or resources to support volunteers, our volunteer program was suspended as well.  We continue to be in contact with our partner organization Amigos, our friends at Rain Ranch, and also with the CBSS- EC member organizations.  We hope that in the near future our financial resources will enable us to re-establish our presence in Costa Rica.

UNITED STATES:

The year 2005 marked the year we changed the name from Friends of the Great Green Macaw to Rainforest Biodiversity Group.  There were reasons for and against changing the name, and we have had positive and negative results from the name change.  Positive results from the birding and conservation organization side; but mixed results from the everyday US donor side, as they too had to adjust to the name change, things were confusing for some people.

Our main fundraising campaign of 2005 was our Membership/ Adopt-a-Nest Phone-a-thon.  This fundraiser actually started at the end of the 2004 calendar year but ran through February 2005.  This fundraiser brought in nearly $1500 and obtained 35 memberships for 2005.  Along the lines of fundraising, time was also spent preparing a grant for the 2005 Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act, from whom we have received word we have been awarded the grant! We also submitted information for a Chiquita Banana and GTZ- (Germany) funded project in Costa Rica, through our German colleague Christian Wiesser who attended their project planning meetings in Germany. 

Much networking was done in 2005 in the United States.  Rainforest Biodiversity Group was a presenter at the 2005 Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative (WBCI) / Wisconsin Society for Ornithology (WSO) symposium entitled Neotropical Migrants: Insuring Their Return.  The focus of this symposium was neotropical migrant birds and their conservation.  From this meeting Andrew Rothman became a founding member of the WBCI- International Committee.  Rainforest Biodiversity Group also became an official member of the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative.  We developed closer ties with Partners in Flight, the American Bird Conservancy, Bird Conservation Alliance, Alliance for Zero Extinction, WI- DNR, Madison Audubon Society, Milwaukee Zoological Society, Urban Ecology Center, and many of the top ornithologists in Wisconsin.  Many of these groups gave Rainforest Biodiversity Group praise for our efforts.

From the connections made at the WBCI/ WSO symposium RBG was invited to the Bird Conservation Alliance Pan-American Roundtable Meetings in Washington D.C. which we attended in the fall. Here we again gained valuable insight to neotropical migrant bird conservation issues and made more connections.  This time we made closer ties with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy-Mexico, and multiple projects and organizations in Latin America such as Pronatura in Mexico, and the Jocotocco Foundation in Ecuador. Results from the meeting were talks of RBG helping to develop a Sister Protected Area relationship between Laguna Madre Wetland Area in Mexico and the Horicon Marsh in Wisconsin.  Work on this continues to develop in 2006. We were also invited to the 2006 World Ornithological Conference in Vera Cruz, Mexico.

In other conservation action the organization supported a petition to stop of the creation of 400 wind turbines within 2 miles of the Horicon Marsh, which has been deemed the most important bird area in Wisconsin.

These wind turbines pose a risk to the bird life of the Horicon Marsh, including neotropical migrants.

Also in 2005 we fulfilled the US Fish and Wildlife Service request for information on point count bird surveys in Costa Rica.

2005 Activities

In 2005, RBG focused its conservation activities on the development and promotion of the Costa Rican Bird Route: Section San Juan–La Selva and the Nest Adoption program, as well as on education and outreach. We also continued to develop relationships with ornithological conservation organizations.

Education Programs: 

·                          Conducted 2 educational programs with children at the Sarapiquí Conservation Learning Center

·                          Conducted 18 educational presentations at Selva Verde Lodge

·                          Conducted 5 Great Green Macaw and conservation presentations for small private groups in the U.S.

·                          Conducted presentation at the WBCI/ WSOSymposium and annual meeting

·                          Total Presentations: 26

·                          Total number of people presented to: 400+

Adopt-A-Nest Program:

·                          Conducted research on potential trees for adoption

·                          Collected background and baseline information for adopted trees

·                          Assisted with the adoption of two nesting Almendro trees

Promotion of Activities/ Outreach:

·                          Developed and distributed press releases to various media outlets regarding RBG, the Adopt-a-Nest program and the Costa Rican Bird Route

·                          Distributed information on RBG programs to international organizations

·                          Networked and developed relationships with national and local conservation organizations

·                          Communicated with departments and professors from University of California Santa Cruz in regards to establishing contact with the University resources.

·                          Composed letter to share achievements and request support from the President of Conservation International

·                          Established partnership with Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative and Madison Audubon Society

·                          Supplied information on Point Count Bird Surveys in Costa Rica to US Fish and Wildlife Service

·                          Supported and participated in River Clean Ups led by Amigos in Costa Rica              

Bird Route:

·                          Obtained and analyzed GIS (Geographic Information Systems) map of Biological Corridor

·                          Modified and edited Costa Rican Bird Route Visitor and Property Owner Code of Ethics

·                          Modified, edited, and further developed Bird Route proposal and Tourism Plan

·                          Strengthened support for Bird Route by CBSS- EC

·                          Presented updated information on Bird Route to CBSS-EC  

San Juan – La Selva Biological Corridor (CBSS):

·                          Participated in 5 Corridor Meetings

·                          Participated in analysis of management plan for Maquenque National Wildlife Refuge 

Festivals and Conferences:

·                          Participated in the Bird Conservation Alliance Annual Meetings in Washington D.C.

·                          Participated and presented material at the WBCI/ WSO Symposium in WI.  

Fundraising and Grant Writing:

·                          Applied for Grants from:

1.       Conservation, Food and Health Foundation (Declined)

2.       Inter-American Foundation (Declined)

3.       Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act Grant (Obtained)

4.       Chiquita Bananna – GTZ (Declined)

·                          Composed request for and received funding from Tropica Verde for Asociacion Amigos

·                          Requested and procured funding donations from private individuals

Volunteer Assistance:  

In 2005 we were lucky to receive support from many people in Costa Rica and the U.S. who donated their time, energy, resources and wisdom. The persons listed below are those who volunteered time to assist RBG in 2005:  

COSTA RICA:

Alex Martinez

Carlos Ulate

Guisselle Monge

Kevin Martinez

Luis Diego Marin

Mario Alvaro

Mariamalia Araya

Olivier Chassot

Olga Vargas

Greg Basco

Women’s Group Quebrada Grande

Daniel and Mayra Caamaño

Eric Castro

Pedro Gonzales

David Gardella

Finca Pedro y El Lobo

 

USA:

Bobbie Webster

William Volkert

Jeff Kuckenbecker

Carl Leopold

John Reynolds

Robin Klinkner

Stephanie Schmid

Orion Kiesch

Jen Ewald

John Fellows

Andrew Rothman

Russ Rothman

 

GERMANY:

 

Christian Wiesser

Board of Directors: 

In 2005 the Board of Directors maintained two parts, an Executive Board, and an Advisory Board.  The Executive Board held voting responsibilities on issues and policies, and the advisory board provided recommendations and oversight of the development and implementation of these same topics, as well as acting as the tie breaking vote.

The Executive Board 2005:

President: Harmony Patricio

Vice President: Andrew Rothman

Secretary: Bobbie Webster / Russ Rothman

Treasurer: Blair Bumgarner

The Advisory Board 2005:

William Volkert

Carl Leopold

General membership:

In 2005 we had 35 people donate as members of our organization.

Newsletters:

In 2005 we changed to a quarterly newsletter schedule and published a total of 4 newsletters.  Our newsletter list serve contains close to 400 people.

Website:

Our Website was updated and maintained one time in 2005.

2005 DONORS / General Members

Alex Queen

Amy Wick

Arden and Margaret Borgen

Carly Voight

Colleen Webster

Craig and Cindy Dunn

Davis and Louise Reimer

Duane and Aleta Barmore

Eric Quackenboss

Eric Rothman

Feen, M

Gary Johnson

Hallie and Jeff Ringhand

Heather Neldner

Ila Koss

Jack and Holly Bartholmai

Jen Ewald

Josh and Sheila Rothman

Karen Cherry

Lisa Newman

Micheal Bloch

Mara Hoyer Winfield

Marc and Tema Bomback

Maria Victoria Chiriboga

Matt Lohr

Mindla Rothman

Nancy Nelson

Phil and Marcia Rothman

Russell Rothman

Sally Kupkovits

Steve O'Connor

Sue Roark

Tod Highsmith

Marc and Marcia Williamson

Jim and Linda Endres

Horicon Marsh Bird Club

Andrew Rothman

Harmony Patricio

Blair Bumgarner

Christian Wiesser

Alex Martinez

Vincent Hanlon

Selva Verde Lodge

 

U.S. ACCOUNTING

CASH DONATIONS:

Membership/ Adopt-a- Nest/ Phone-a-Thon Fundraiser:

Total (2004/ 2005): $1705

2005 Portion: $1080

This total includes:

TOTAL CASH US 2005: $1080

US IN-KIND Donations:

Work:

TOTAL IN-KIND US 2005: $10,193

TOTAL DONATIONS US 2005: $11,273

TOTAL EXPENDITUES US 2005: $558                                                                     

Costa Rica Accounting:

 CASH DONATIONS:

 TOTAL CASH CR 2005: $2000

 CR IN-KIND Donations:

 Work:

Lodging:

TOTAL IN-KIND CR 2005: $20,000

TOTAL DONATIONS CR 2005: $ 22,000

TOTAL EXPENDITURES CR 2005: $1976

ACCOUNTING TOTALS:

TOTAL DONATIONS US 2005: $11,273

TOTAL DONATIONS CR 2005: $ 22,000  

TOTAL EXPENDITURES CR 2005: $1976

TOTAL EXPENDITURES US 2005: $558      

 CASH ON HAND AT END OF YEAR 2005: $1499.83

                                                     

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