By: Nicole Netherton, Executive Director of Travis Audubon
Travis Audubon members were thrilled to visit Community Cloud Forest Conservation’s reforestation project in Guatemala this January. As a carbon offset for our in-country travel, half an acre of hillside was planted with native oaks in honor of our organization. Including previous trips, that makes 1.5 acres of pine-oak forest planted in honor of Travis Audubon at this site!
Juan Jacinto shared how diversifying the forest was better for the birds and people who live there, and that he collected seeds and acorns on his walks back and forth from his village, “above the clouds” from the CCFC Center. Our trip covered both the cloud forest and the rain forest, and our group was able to see 336 avian species—including the Resplendant Quetzal and wintering Golden-cheeked Warblers on the same day! But our time spent with the leaders, workers, and volunteers at CCFC was the most rewarding part of our adventure.
CCFC works to alleviate poverty and protect forests through education, reforestation, sustainable development, leadership training, and ecological improvements to agriculture. Their work focuses on educating young women in Guatemala’s central highlands, especially in the areas of environmental education and agroecology. Rob and Tara Cahill have been doing this work near Cobán since 2001, and Travis Audubon is proud to partner with them to maintain a connection between Austin and Guatemala, two places that are essential to the survival of the Golden-cheeked Warbler.
Special thanks to the Cahills and Jean Warneke of JB Journeys for this unforgettable experience.