San Rafael, December 2016

During the past year, many activities occurred in the area of influence around the San Rafael Reserve. Likewise, as an organization we have participated in a variety of acts, meetings, and seminars about topics related to protection, conservation, and environmental education. We are infinitely grateful to the dedication of Mrs. Christine Hostettler, who worked relentlessly for works as the Executive Director of Pro Cosara, pursuing the preservation and conservation of San Rafael. Continuing with her support as a direct advisor, currently the new Executive Director of the Association Pro Cordillera San Rafael is Ing. MSc. Alicia Eisenkölbl.

Institutional Activities
A meeting took place coordinating activities between the director of park guards for the Secretary of Environment (SEAM), Edilberto Ruiz Diaz, and the Executive Director of Pro Cosara, Ing. Alicia Eisenkölbl; In this same meeting, it was authorized for an office in the Operational Headquarters of Pro Cosara for the SEAM park guards.
With the objective of planning joint activities in the communities situated within the area of influence of San Rafael, there was a meeting with the director of the Farmer Center of Education, Training, and Technology (CECTEC).
In July, there was a successful day of socializing with WWF Paraguay, Peace Corps Paraguay and Guyra Paraguay, with the objective to outline activities for the conservation of natural resources in our country and especially in San Rafael.
The Executive Director of Pro Cosara, Ing. MSc. Alicia Eisenkölbl and the Manager of Operations, Celia Garayo, attended a meeting in September, with the Coordinator of the YPORA project of EBY, Ing. Menandro Grisetti; with the objective of coordinating actions for the reestablishment of protective forests along riverbeds in the buffer zones of San Rafael; as well as coordinating activities in pursuit of the legal definition of San Rafael.
As per our institutional agreement with the National Forestry Institute (INFONA), 3,350 Eucalyptus seedlings were donated for reforestation with energy purposes. They were delivered to the communities of Jovere (2000 plants) and Libertad del Sur (1350 plants) in Alto Vera, where they were given to small farmers who are participating in our project of Agroforestry Systems. Likewise, in the community of Libertad del Sur, 2000 native tree seedlings were planted for the protection of riverbeds.

Sustainable Agroforestry and Development
In the beginning of the year, we began a project titled “Promoting Sustainable Development and the Strengthening of Local Capacity for the Conservation of Forests in the Communities in the Area of Influence of the San Rafael Reserve for a National Park” in collaboration with the Foundation for Conservation of Tropical Forests. We have a prescence in two local communities, Libertad del Sur and Jovere, where this year trainings began and continued all year on gardening and soil recuperation.
Under the same project, producers in the community of San Miguelito, in the district of Tavai, deparment of Caazapa, met with the technical team from Pro Cosara to coordinate the activities there. Afterwards, work began on agroforestry systems with beneficiaries from the local area, with the goal of creating model farms and later starting trainings with the local population in the area of influence.
The principal goal of the project is to improve the quality of life of local agricultural producers through the trainings on soil conservacion and management, agroforestry, home organic gardens, production diversification, and care for riverbeds, among others. It is important to emphasize that these activities were carried out in the indigenuous communities of Pindoju and Mberu Pirapoi, where in mid-Octuber they had their first harvest of peas.

Reactivation of the Managment Committee of San Rafael
After almost ten years, the Committee for the Management of the Area of the San Rafael Reserve for a National Park has been revived. The initiative seeks to curb the constant degradation in the largest native forest reserve in the Eastern Region of Paraguay.
Under the objective of reactivating the committee, representatives of Secretary of the Environment from the Departmental Government of Itapua participated in a coordinating meeting between the Director of Biodiversity for SEAM, INFONA, Environmental Legal Unit, and the Executive Director of Pro Cosara. The result of this inter-institutional meeting was the coordinated development of activities, with the full support and accompaniment of SEAM.
By the end of the year, SEAM had sent out a resolution recognizing the Management Committee.

Pro Cosara and the Community

Under the program of Environmental Education, Pro Cosara , with the support of SEAM, gave a presentation about the Reserve and native species at the Timothy School in the city of Obligado. We are grateful to the students and professors for their interest in getting to know and take care of our natural resources.
Likewise, during the year, we had many visits from high schools and organizations to our Operational Headquarters with the goal of getting to know the reserve and also gaining knowledge about natural resources.

19th Aniversary of Pro Cosara
In September, we celebrated the 19th Aniversary of Pro Cosara. Nineteen years of uninterrupted work in pursuit of the conservation of San Rafael. Our allies, a group of sky divers called Sky Friends, who like our organization, fly for the care of natural resources supported the event. We are also very thankful to those that helped us coordinate the event, our friends at Promotores Ambientales and the logistical help of Guyra Paraguay and the SEAM park guards. We want to welcome the team from Discovering Paraguay, who accompanied us on a bicycle tour, also to all the public present. United for the Conservation of San Rafeal.

Participation in Workshops, Seminars, Conferences
Pro Cosara participated in the Seminar of Education and Socio-Environmental Management in the Reforma University, which occurred in the month of May. Our participation consisted of the exposition of posters showing our work in the Environmental Education program in rural schools within the zone of influence of the San Rafael Reserve. Likewise, we participated in a workshop of Preparation of a National Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change and National Contributions.
In September, with representatives from our Advisary Committee, we participated in the “Conference of Global Food Supply: Resource Shortage and Emerging Economies” organized by WWF Paraguay. At the conference, the agribusiness sector was urged to sustainably produce.

We completed a very productive year, we would like to specially thank everyone who colabored in some form with the organization; tirelessly supporting our efforts to conserve San Rafael. We continue the fight, and we hope to have your support as we begin this next year.