Friends of the Great Green Macaw, Inc.


Newsletter 9, No.2, Vol. 2                                          October 2002


Bienvenidos or welcome to the October issue of our “Friends” newsletter.  There has continued to be a lot of activity with our organization in the last month or so, and there should be more in the coming months. 

            First off we elected a seventh and final board member in Steve Mahler.  We have begun moving forward with our Bird, now Wildlife Trail proposal, and we are getting back to work on Finca El Retorno. 

            This issue will feature an article by our Vice President Bill Volkert on a workshop he attended in Nicaragua.

            I would like to thank and welcome all of our new members to our newsletter and organization.  Enjoy!






This month volunteer Dave Boehnlien from the University of Minnesota, and myself Andrew Rothman, will be returning to Costa Rica and Finca El Retorno.  At the farm, we will continue with our point-count bird surveys, will tend our reforestation plots, and our gardens as well.           

FGGM has also just recently gotten involved with a new farm called Bosque Rio Toro, owned by Ticos, Guido Quesada, and Guido Quesada Jr. We will be working to assist this farm with a bird inventory, tree planting, and overall infrastructure development on the farm.  This is a new opportunity for volunteers and interns.

            Additionally, we will be presenting our San Juan – La Selva Wildlife Trail proposal to key individuals, businesses, and organizations including the Biological Corridor Committee.  We will diligently networking to gain support for the creation of our Wildlife Trail.


New Board Member, Steve Mahler


Our newest board member is Steve Mahler of Menomonee Falls.  Steve is currently the director of education at Camp Minikani, a YMCA camp in the Germantown area.  Before that, Steve was an educator for the Milwaukee County Zoo and owner and operator of the Wild Bird Center of Menomonee Falls for five years.  Steve currently serves as president of the Milwaukee Audubon Society and has been a board member of the Society for Tympannucus Cupido Pinnatus (the Prairie Chicken Society) for many years.  He also is a licensed bird bander and has a strong interest in birds, the outdoors and conservation.


Steve recently joined us as a member of the board.  His experience in working with various conservation groups and projects along with his organizational skills will be a great benefit to our organization.  He has already volunteered to convert our slide program to a PowerPoint presentation and will also help us in fund raising to acquire a vehicle for use on the project.  Welcome, Steve!



Nicaragua Bird Conservation Education Project


During the first two weeks of September, Bill Volkert and three others traveled to Nicaragua to conduct a workshop on neotropical migrant bird conservation education.  The other members of the education team came from Wisconsin, Colorado and Colombia.  Their objective was to conduct a week-long workshop to exchange information and train environmental educators to organize and conduct a series of workshops for various audiences in the country about the issues facing neotropical migrant birds.


The Nicaraguan participants consisted of 10 of the countries top ornithologists and environmental educators.  The instructors included Susan Gilchrist of the Wisconsin DNR and author of the One Bird - Two Habitats curriculum about neotropical migrant birds; Sue Bonfield, of the Partners In Flight project; and Jorge Botero, researcher and educator from Colombia working on bird conservation in coffee plantations.


The workshop provided a forum for the exchange of information and education programs related to bird conservation.  During several days of working together, the Nicaraguans identified their priority audiences, important messages to communicate in their education programs, and various media and means for conveying this information to the different audiences.  They then developed the outlines and detailed agendas for 6 different workshops targeted at these audiences which they plan to conduct over the next several months in order to share their concerns and conservation issues with the people of their own country.


In the end, all of our efforts to develop comprehensive conservation programs in the U.S. to protect our summer nesting songbirds will be to no avail unless the people in the tropics complement these efforts through sound land management and habitat protection programs.  After all, our neotropical migrant birds spend more time in a year on their wintering grounds than in Wisconsin.  Certainly, North America is important as being the nesting ground for these birds, but they only spend about 4 months here.  The remainder of the time is spent in Central or South American with a few months needed to make the annual journey. 


During this workshop, Bill also discussed the efforts of the Friends of the Great Green Macaw with the Nicaraguan ornithologists.  Since a large population of these birds also lives in Nicaragua, Bill tried to make contact with conservationists working on macaws and other birds in the country.  Work on these large conservation issues requires cooperation among a large number of people in order to be successful.  This workshop provided an opportunity to work and network with people in area to further a variety of conservation efforts.






 Presentations:  In the beginning of October, FGGM members gave two public presentations. One at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, and one at Camp David’s Door County Farm House in Fish Creek, Wisconsin. 

            We will also have scheduled presentations for the MACAW Bird Group of Madison, and the Horicon Marsh Bird Club.  If you know an organization that would like to host a presentation please contact us at [email protected], or call Lynne at 715- 343-0252. 


Bird Trail becomes Wildlife Trail:  After meeting with Fermata Inc, founder Ted Eubanks, FGGM has decided to transform our Bird Trail Project to a Wildlife Trail Project.  In the essence of Ted’s words, why focus on just birds when there are so many species in the area and we want to protect biodiversity as a whole anyway.  We will of course keep our flagship species as the Great Green Macaw, but now rather than focus just on birds we will include everything from Butterfly sites to Manatee sites.  We hope to continue to work together with Fermata, INC and negotiate a working plan to crystallize the creation of the San Juan – La Selva Wildlife Trail.


New Shirts:  The 2003 Friends of the Great Green Macaw shirts are in.  This year they are in Spanish!  The money from the sales of these shirts will support the general operation of our organization and help support Friends projects in Costa Rica.  Sizes L – XL –XXL.  100% Organic T’s are just $12 ($14 XXL); our Long Sleeve Shirts are just $20 ($22 XXL).  Order yours today with the order form on the bottom of the newsletter.





Shirt Order Form




Mailing Address:                                                                                                                               


T-shirt Quantity                                             Size                                                                            

Long Sleeve Quantity                                     Size                                                                            

Amount enclosed (T’s = $12, $14 XXL, Long sleeves = $20, $22 XXL):

Please add $1.00 shipping and handling per shirt                                                                                         


Please send check or money order to:

Friends of the Great Green Macaw

7 N. Pinckney St.

Suite 210

Madison, WI 53703


Note: All purchases are tax-deductible