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The Peregrine Fund Notes From The Field

"Notes from the Field" provides frequent updates and pictures from our biologists and students who are working in the field or at our headquarters, the World Center for Birds of Prey.

Found 17 entries matching your request:

Another Successful Harpy Eagle Day Celebration

Marta Curti — in Neotropical Environmental Education Program

For the fourth year in a row, The Peregrine Fund-Panama’s education department hosted “Festiarpia,” a festival held in celebration of Harpy Eagle Day on 13 April 2008. Harpy Eagle Day, which officially falls on the 10th of April, commemorates the law that officially declared the Harpy Eagle as the national bird of Panama. This year, as last year, we joined forces with the Summit Zoo and Botanical Gardens to make the celebration even more special. The festival was held on the zoo grounds, which are located adjacent to Soberania National Park and which boast an amazing amount of wide open green space.

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NEEP Makes Second Visit to Guatemala

Marta Curti — in Neotropical Environmental Education Program

Since 2002, The Peregrine Fund-Panama (TPFP) has been conducting an intensive environmental education program in communities near Harpy Eagle release sites and in areas where wild Harpy Eagles remain. In 2003, when we began releasing this species in Belize, we teamed up with The Belize Zoo, and thanks to their work through community visits, billboards, newspaper articles, and radio programs, the Harpy Eagle is now a household name in that country!

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Third Annual Harpy Eagle Day Celebration the Biggest Success Yet

Marta Curti — in Neotropical Environmental Education Program

Thanks to the efforts of many individuals, organizations and groups, the government of Panama officially declared the Harpy Eagle as the nation’s national bird on 10 April 2002. In order to commemorate this momentous act for raptor conservation, and to make the general public more aware of the Harpy Eagle, The Peregrine Fund began hosting an annual festival, called “Festiarpia,” in 2005. It started out as a small activity, with approximately 500 people participating. This year, its third year, we had the best turnout yet, with more than 3,000 people attending this event.

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NEEP reaches out to Belize, southern Mexico, and Guatemala

Sean Davis — in Neotropical Environmental Education Program

The Neotropical Environmental Education Program (NEEP) for Latin America and the Caribbean is based in Panama. The majority of our work is within Panama, however, on occasion our services are needed in other parts of Latin America, and such was the case in early January 2007. As many of you already know, the Harpy Eagle Propagation Program has been releasing captive bred Harpy Eagles back into the wild in a remote area in northwestern Belize. All of the birds that are released are equipped with satellite transmitters so we can monitor their movements and dispersal patterns. The birds are released in a heavily forested area that connects with the Peten Forest that extends into Guatemala and southern Mexico. A few of these birds have covered distances much greater than expected while exploring their new home. With the hope of ensuring a safer future for these birds through community education, NEEP embarked on a journey to Belize, Guatemala, and southern Mexico.

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Bocas del Toro—October 2006

Sean Davis — in Neotropical Environmental Education Program

Saskia and I had to be at the airport at 6:00 a.m. for the 6:30 flight from Panama City to Bocas del Toro. Luckily, we did not have to submit to the requisite “two-hour-before-take-off wait” or extensive security checks. The trip to Changuinola, the capital of the sparsely populated province that borders Costa Rica, is a short, one-hour puddle jumper flight. As we were approaching Changuinola we could see miles and miles of banana plantations that seem to surround and almost swallow up this small provincial capital town.

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Neotropical Environmental Education Program Visits Darien

Marta Curti — in Neotropical Environmental Education Program

One of the three main target areas for our education program is Darien, the western-most province of Panama, located along the border of Colombia. This area still maintains an amazing amount of forest and wildlife, is one of the last strongholds for Harpy Eagles in Central America, and therefore is a key area for our education work. We have been working in Darien for several years now and we have presented talks, games and films about the Harpy Eagle, raptors, top predators, and migration.

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NEEP Makes Preliminary Educational Visits to Mexico

Marta Curti — in Neotropical Environmental Education Program

One of the greatest threats to Harpy Eagles in the short term is human persecution. In order to prevent our released birds (see our Notes From the Field-Harpy Eagle Releases for more information) from getting shot, trapped or otherwise injured at the hands of humans, The Peregrine Fund-Panama has been conducting an intensive environmental education program in Panama for the past four years. In 2003, we expanded our release program into Belize and, subsequently, began a partnership with the Belize Zoo in order to provide quality environmental education to children and adults in that country.

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Festiarpía 2006- The Harpy Eagle Festival

Sean Davis — in Neotropical Environmental Education Program

On 10 April 2002 the Harpy Eagle was officially declared the national bird of Panama. This law also served to afford the Harpy Eagle more protection by imposing harsh fines for anyone who captured, killed, or trafficked this species. In 2005, to commemorate this special day, The Peregrine Fund-Panama held the first annual Harpy Eagle Festival (Festiarpía). We wanted to host a special event to educate the public about the Harpy Eagle and raise awareness of the threats and dangers to this large forest raptor through a series of activities and games. We also invited other conservation organizations working in Panama to use this opportunity to network with each other and to set up booths and displays for general public awareness. It turned out to be a very successful day and left us with every intention to do it again in 2006.

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Educational Guides and Teacher Training Workshops Go Hand in Hand to Further Raptor Conservation in Panama

Marta Curti — in Neotropical Environmental Education Program

The Peregrine Fund-Panama’s Neotropical Environmental Education Program (NEEP) is currently focused on working in three main target areas within Panama. The first area consists of 16 communities surrounding Soberania National Park (SNP) where The Peregrine Fund-Panama is soft releasing young Harpy Eagles (see Notes from the Field Harpy Eagle Releases). The second area includes 21 communities in Darien, the region that borders with Colombia, and where a significant population of wild Harpy Eagles remains. Most recently, we have begun to work in 13 communities in the Bocas del Toro region, where we have already released several independent Harpy Eagles and where some wild Harpy Eagles still remain.

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First Teacher Training Workshop Hosted by Neotropical Environmental Education Program

Marta Curti — in Neotropical Environmental Education Program

For the past two years, we at Fondo Peregrino-Panama’s Neotropical Environmental Education Program have been working on an educational guide based on birds of prey, designed for teachers working with students from kindergarten through sixth grade. The guide, entitled “Las Aves Rapaces” (Raptors), contains five chapters on the biology, taxonomy, cultural importance and conservation of raptors and a sixth chapter with a variety of educational activities that use birds of prey to teach concepts in language, science, art, math and even physical education. With the help of Panama’s Ministry of Education, we hope to distribute these guides to teachers and schools throughout the country. As a means to better ensure that the guides will be utilized once in teachers’ hands and that they won’t simply sit on a shelf collecting dust, we knew it would be essential to train teachers in the use of this guide.

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First Annual Harpy Eagle Day Celebration a Resounding Success!

Marta Curti — in Neotropical Environmental Education Program

Harpy Eagle Day
Harpy Eagle Day
On 10 April 2002 the Harpy Eagle was officially and legally declared the National Bird of Panama. To celebrate the third anniversary of this important event and to spread the message about raptor conservation to more Panamanians, the Environmental Education department of The Peregrine Fund-Panama decided to host a Harpy Eagle Day Celebration, called “Festiarpia.” After months of planning and organizing, the big day finally arrived on Sunday, 10 April 2005.

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Mission: Harpy Eagle—Students of Colegio Brader Teaching Conservation

Marta Curti — in Neotropical Environmental Education Program

Colegio Brader students visit the Neotropical Raptor Center
Colegio Brader students visit the Neotropical Raptor Center
Herbert Spencer said that “the great aim of education is not knowledge but action.” This certainly is true in the case of conservation education, where we work daily to inspire children and adults to make a conscious effort to better our planet. Working to educate the general public about raptors, and Harpy Eagles in particular, can be a challenge as these birds are often feared and misunderstood. Despite this, we have been very lucky. Over the past two years, we have visited many classrooms and communities and have been inspired and overjoyed at the enthusiasm and interest most everyone has shown for the Harpy Eagle and its conservation.

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Children's Drawing Contest a Success!

Marta Curti — in Neotropical Environmental Education Program

We recently hosted a national children’s drawing contest throughout Panama. The theme was “The Harpy Eagle: National Bird of Panama and Symbol of Conservation.” Every student in Panama from grades K through 6th was eligible to participate. We received more than 25 entries from all over the country including Chiriquí, Coclé, Colón, Darién, Los Santos, Panama, and San Miguelito. The drawings were as varied as the children who submitted them. And if there ever was truth to the saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words” it was evident in the beautiful pictures we received. Filled with bright colors, creativity, imagination, and a wide range of themes depicted; from a Harpy Eagle shedding tears at the loss of its forest home, to children teaching others about the importance of this magnificent species, these pictures spoke volumes about the status of Harpy Eagles and conservation in general, as seen through the eyes of a child.

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Program begins in Bocas del Toro, Panama

Marta Curti — in Neotropical Environmental Education Program

Loa Tzu said that a journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. These words rang true, both literally and figuratively, for me and my co-worker Kathia Herrera, as we began our five-hour hike through the dense Neotropical forests of the Rio Teribe (Teribe River) area in Bocas del Toro Province, Panama. We were headed to a small community called Buena Selva, located at the top of a high mountain. This would be the first of four communities we would visit during the week. The others included Seiyic, Bonyic, and Solon. We were making this trip in order to begin an environmental education program in the area. Bocas del Toro Province, specifically the forests that surround the Rio Teribe, will be the site for releasing our captive-bred Harpy Eagles once they become independent of our care and are hunting on their own and no longer need to be monitored on a daily basis. Before these releases can occur, however, we need to ensure the support and acceptance of the people living in the area, thus, the purpose of our visit.

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Visit to Frijolito School

Kathia Herrera — in Neotropical Environmental Education Program

Some of the most gratifying moments that I have experienced since I began working with The Peregrine Fund’s Environmental Education Program in Panama have been when I have witnessed the looks on children’s faces that are filled with curiosity and enthusiasm. A short while ago, the children of the Frijolito School helped me to remember this. We returned to this school after not having worked there for about half a year. It was a surprise for them since the school is located very far and the notices we sent out announcing our visit arrived late. However, we were still very well received, as always.

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November 2001 through March 2002

Kathia Herrera, Ursula Valdez — in Neotropical Environmental Education Program

Who said that a survey is boring? A bed in a rustic house, the floor of a pre-school classroom, or a cot at a health center, all of these have been places where we spent the nights while working at rural communities of the Panama Canal area. These communities comprise the small villages and towns adjacent to former or potential release sites for Harpy Eagles. We visited them during the last four months to obtain information on the level of knowledge that people have on Harpy Eagles, the reasons why these eagles are shot around human settlements.

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Isidor's Eagles: Owners of the Cloud Forest

Ursula Valdez — in Neotropical Environmental Education Program

It was about 11 years ago when I saw an Isidor's Eagle (Oroaetus isidori), also called Black-and-Chestnut Eagle, for the first time. I was crossing the cloud forest on my way to Amazonian lowlands in Peru. From a comfortable tourist truck that was giving me a ride, I could see a fantastic scene. A few meters from the road there was a mossy tree emerging from the steep slope and on the top of it there was a nest with an Isidor's Eagle and a nestling. I remember jumping from the truck and staying while the tourists were heading to a lodge not far down the road. I stayed there for three hours just watching the eagles, and I was fascinated with the experience. By that time I was a newly graduated biologist looking for a direction for my career and my interest in birds, and especially raptors, was starting to grow. Sadly, years later I found out that the eagles were not nesting there anymore, a man had cut down the tree and since then there was not evidence of a nesting activity around. During the next years, however, I had the chance to pass by that road several times and some of those I still was lucky to see an Isidor's Eagle flying along or across the valley.

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