Category Archives: Panama

A Positive Start To Tulum

It entailed a full year of concentrated effort from the Art of Conservation Board, our executive director Allison Hanes, and myself to arrive at the decision of setting up our new base of operations in the Caribbean Basin and more specifically in the town of Tulum which is in the state of Quintana Roo in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. But we did it and we are off to a very positive start. Before I go any further I’d like to take a quick look back at the people we met along the way who inspired and welcomed us. Enjoy the pictures and thanks everyone for your encouragement.

Art of Conservation in Guyana ©Art of Conservation 2014

Art of Conservation in Panama ©Art of Conservation 2014

Art of Conservation in Honduras©Art of Conservation 2014

Art of Conservation in Mexico and Belize©Art of Conservation 2014

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Jaguars At A Biocultural Leadership Conference in Panama

From Julie

In November, Lucy and I participated in events launching Earth Train’s not-for-profit Center for Biocultural Leadership in Panama City. Earth Train partners with many other organizations namely JGI’s Roots and Shoots, Junglewood, and Fundacion Danilo Perez and its mission is to support the growth of leadership in a new generation with a focus on environmental and cultural renewal.

One morning comprised of an educators and nature leaders workshop led by Bruce and Carol Malnor.

Earth Train & Junglewood Biocultural Leadership, Panama, November 2013 ©Art of ConservationI joined a group of educators in Panama and learned about the Manor’s Flow Learning teaching strategy.

We had an evening of music and dance in Panama’s City of Knowledge theater called The Ateneo. Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, spoke to the crowd and performers with inspiring words and a serious call to care.

Earth Train & Junglewood Biocultural Leadership, Panama, November 2013 ©Art of ConservationDr. Jane Goodall, DBE, shares the stage at The Ateneo with the Condor and Eagle Peoples of the Americas and Junglewood’s Shea Welsh.

The entire following day Lucy and I spent out on the Amador Causeway – six kilometers long and made up of four islands originally constructed as a breakwater for the Panama Canal entrance. STRI (Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute) has research facilities here with the mission to understand biological diversity throughout the tropics.

On the causeway is Frank Gehry’s BioMuseo scheduled to open soon. Gehry substitutes his usual neutral, metallic color palette with an allusion of Panama’s tropical environs.

Frank Gehry's Biomuseo, Panama, November 2013 ©Art of ConservationFrank Gehry-designed Museum of Biodiversity (Biomuseo).

The event held a packed agenda which did not allow for many AoC one-health awareness activities but we did manage to sneak in a surprise or two. Prior to traveling to Panama I contacted my friend Khanh to ask her if she could make a few (6) jaguar costumes. Khanh is always extremely busy but she made time for me. We found a pattern that worked, picked out beautiful brightly colored batik fabric, stuffing material for the tails, and off Khanh went to her studio. She surfaced a few weeks later with the cutest costumes which I eagerly packed in my suitcase.

Biomuseo, Panama, November 2013 ©Lucy SpelmanAt the Junglewood Picnic. Photo courtesy of Lucy Spelman.

Our friend Shea Welsh, a fabulous jazz musician and Junglewood’s Executive Director, asked if the jaguars could make their appearance at the Junglewood Picnic staged at the causeway. Seeing that the large group of children gathered for the event were busy pounding on drums, my friends and I decided not to interrupt them… just join them. We leapt onto the scene and danced.

Biomuseo, Panama, November 2013 ©Lucy SpelmanJaguars with Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, at the Junglewood Picnic. Photo courtesy of Lucy Spelman.

Lucy and I got up early the next morning to traverse across Panama in a few short days. We managed to make it up to the San Blas Islands on the Caribbean and met with the Kuna La Indians. After spending the night on a tiny island with coconut trees and women making beautiful molas which I bought many of we snorkeled and drank a can of not so tasty warm beer. From there we pushed toward the interior along the Chagres River and met with another group on indigenous people from the Embera Nation.

Julie and Lucy with Embera Indians Panama. ©Art of Conservation 2013Near the Chagres River with an Embera community.

Thank you to the Executive Directors at Earth Train, Nathan Gray and Lider Sucre, and Junglewood’s Executive Director Shea Welsh for an exciting conference.

Exploring Panama

From Julie

I arrived in Panama a few days in advance of what will be a very interesting conference organized by Earth Train and partners called Spotlighting Biocultural Leadership with Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE. As you may know, Art of Conservation is underway with exciting strategic planning including exploring potential new base of operations with Panama being of key interest. The short time I’ve been here I am enjoying myself immensely and learning a lot. My guides are knowledgeable and hospitable. In just three days I’ve been in the forest, on top of the forest, in the jungle, boating in dugout canoes, swimming under waterfalls, meeting beautiful people and learning about their cultures. The museum at the Miraflores Lock is interactive and informative. People from all over the world gather to view this modern marvel, the Panama Canal. Local food is delicious, my Spanish is terrible, and I am always looking for animals.

Panama City. ©Art of Conservation 2013A view of downtown Panama from the Causeway.

Panama Canal 2013 ©Art of Conservation 2013At the Panama Canal Miraflores Lock Museum. Thank you Mr. Thelen for giving my friends and I our history lesson in Des Moines!

Canopy Crane. Guide Igua and Park Service Staff. ©Art of Conservation 2013At the Canopy Crane in Metropolitan National Park with a park staff member and my guide Igua.

Canopy Crane ©Art of Conservation 2013The Canopy Crane made possible by Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. The operator was smiling from his cab and directed our perch to spectacular sites which is 42 meters tall and we were out at 51 meters from the tour.

3-toed beautiful sloth in Panama. Canopy Crane©Art of Conservation 2013A male 3-toed sloth was the first animal we saw in the canopy!

Howler Monkey with baby in Panama. Canopy Crane©Art of Conservation 2013After descending from the canopy, Igua and I took a wonderful walk in the Metropolitan National Park and spotted Howler Monkeys. Igua reports this troop has grown.

Embera Indians in Panama 2013 ©Art of Conservation 2013In Parque Nacional Chagres (crocodiles) with Embera children.

Embera Indians in Panama 2013 ©Art of Conservation 2013More beautiful children in Chagres National Park.

Panama ©Art of Conservation 2013Regrouping by studying a map.

Please join us at our Pratt Exhibition and Fundraiser in New York City on 22 November 2013. Tickets are going quickly! Thank you for your support.