Community Cloud Forest Conservation (CCFC), a non-profit organization in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, strives to protect the cloud forest and help address poverty through local reforestation and education initiatives. One of CCFC's amazing programs is called the Conservation and Agroecology Leadership Training (CALT) (www.cloudforestconservation.org/interact/scholarships.php). Through the CALT program - which is offered to young Q’eqchi’ Maya women from villages located close to the cloud forest - participants are engaged in learning both theory and applied practices related to conservation, agroecology, women's empowerment, and more.
One of the main conservation themes is birds! The loss of cloud forest in the region has had devastating consequences for many species of Guatemalan birds, including some that are endemic. Several talented and enthusiastic women, many of whom are alumni of the CALT program, are doing something positive to help address this problem: using the BirdSleuth-International: Connecting Kids Through Birds curriculum, they are teaching new CALT participants about the importance of birds. They are also teaching the curriculum in schools throughout numerous local communities, inspiring kids of all ages to love and conserve birds. By educating and advocating on behalf of birds, future generations are taking the initiative to create bird habitat by planting trees, or encouraging others to appreciate the observation of birds, rather than the act of killing them with slingshots. Together, they are helping to ensure that many generations beyond them will get to enjoy the incredible diversity of Guatemalan birds.