Speaker Series: Birds, Birding, and Conservation in Guatemala with Rob Cahill

Doors open at 6:30 PM, Talk starts at 7:00 PM

Although less frequently visited by birders than other Central American countries, Guatemala is rich in diversity with over 730 species. Nearly one third of the country of Guatemala is designated Important Bird Areas. Rob Cahill will introduce us to the birds of Guatemala with a special focus on regional endemic species, as well as North American migrants, including our own Golden-cheeked Warbler, which overwinters in the cloud forest. Rob will also talk about community-based conservation projects that both help at risk communities and enhance landscapes for birds. Rob and his wife, Tara, started Community Cloud Forest Conservation (CCFC), and they believe that holistic human and community development through education and capacity building is the key to conservation and development in Guatemala’s central highlands. Education, especially for young women, is key to building peace in this region. CCFC instructs students in grades one through nine in their Kids and Birds environmental education program at their campus outside Coban, Guatemala. CCFC protects cloud forests and alleviates poverty in 110 remote mountain villages that border the remaining cloud forests and cloud forest fragments of the region. It is in this cloud forest area that the Golden-cheeked Warbler was first described to science back in 1860.

Rob is a founding director of Community Cloud Forest Conservation. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin at Madison (B.A.) and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.) Since coming to Guatemala in 2001, Rob and his wife Tara have specialized in environmental education and agroecology in the Q’eqchi’ Maya context.

Rob and Tara are the parents of John Cahill, birder and bird guide extraordinaire. Rob and John are the eBird editors for Guatemala. Together they guide a limited number of bird tours in Guatemala that benefit the educational programs of CCFC. 20 TAS members had the Cahill experience in January 2019; 10 more are headed down in January 2020.  In addition to TAS tours, the Cahills have led birding tours for Virginia Society of Ornithology for the last 4 years.

Note: Parking will be tight this evening. We encourage carpooling! There is additional parking in the Texas Health Credit Union parking lot located at 4800 Grover Ave.

*Pre-meeting gathering at La Mancha will resume in October*

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