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 activities, 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.
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, they approved the placement of 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 of outlining 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; PRO COSARA is seeking to coordinate actions for the reestablishment of protective forests along river beds in the buffer zones of San Rafael; as well as to coordinate 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 partial reforestation 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 Fund for Conservation of Tropical Forests. We have a presence in two local communities, Libertad del Sur and Jovere, where this year trainings began and continued throughout the course of the year on gardening and soil recuperation.
Under the same project, producers in the community of San Miguelito, in the district of Tavai, department of Caazapa, met with the technical team from PRO COSARA to coordinate the start of the activities there. Work there 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 trainings on soil conservation and management, agroforestry, home organic gardening, production diversification, and care for riverbeds, among others. It is important to emphasize that this project is also being carried out in the indigenous communities of Pindoju and Mberu Pirapoi, where in mid-October they had their first harvest of peas.
Reactivation of the Management 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 happening within the largest native forest reserve in the Eastern Region of Paraguay.
With the objective of reactivating the committee, representatives of the Secretary of the Environment from the Departmental Government of Itapua participated in a coordinating meeting between the Director of Biodiversity for SEAM, INFONA, the Environmental Legal Unit, and the Executive Director of PRO COSARA. The result of this inter-institutional meeting was the coordinated development of further activities, with the full support and accompaniment of SEAM. By the end of the year, SEAM had sent out a resolution officially recognizing the Committee.
Pro Cosara and the Community
Continuing in our work in 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 local high schools and organizations to our Operational Headquarters, with the goals of getting to know the Reserve and gaining knowledge about natural resources.
19th Anniversary of PRO COSARA
In September, we celebrated the 19th Anniversary of PRO COSARA. Nineteen years of uninterrupted work in pursuit of the conservation of the San Rafael Reserve. We were joined by many of our allies, including a group of sky divers called Sky Friends, who fly to promote the care of natural resources, flew to support the event. We are also very thankful to those that helped us coordinate the event, including our friends at Promotores Ambientales and the logistical help of Guyra Paraguay and the SEAM park guards. We also want to thank the team from Discovering Paraguay, who accompanied us on a bicycle tour, as well as all the public who were present. We celebrated the work that PRO COSARA has accomplished in the past 19 years, and together we remain united for the Conservation of San Rafael.
Participation in Workshops, Seminars, Conferences
PRO COSARA attended the Seminar of Education and Socio-Environmental Management at Reforma University in May 2016. We participated in the poster exposition, showing our work in Environmental Education in rural schools within the zone of influence of the San Rafael Reserve. Likewise, we participated in a workshop, titled "Preparation of a National Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change and National Contributions."
In September, with representatives from our Advisory Committee, we participated in the “Conference of Global Food Supply: Resource Shortage and Emerging Economies” organized by WWF Paraguay. At the conference, we discussed the need for the agribusiness sector to maintain sustainable production.
We completed a very productive year, and we would like to specially thank everyone who collaborated with us in any way, to tirelessly support our efforts to conserve the San Rafael Reserve. As we continue this fight, we hope to have your support once more throughout this next year.