Capacity building and community outreach
We involve local farmers in most ornithological field studies in Guatemala. To prepare the assistants for field research, which is different from their every-day lives as farmers working in their corn, bean, or potato fields, on coffee and cardamom plantations, or in sheep and cattle ranging, we teach them new skills. They learn how to identify birds by sight and by sound, how to study behaviors in the field, and how to write down observations.
Teaching local farmers skills for studying birds and employing them during in our research, does not just create income for them during our research, which is timely limited. The new skills enable them also to obtain other jobs. Several of the farmers who have learned their skills with us have obtained jobs in private and government institutions working for nature conservation and rural development, and as local birding guides for visiting tourists. By making observing and studying birds a part of the farmer's lives, we help to raise the environmental awareness among the Guatemalan society. Many of them pass the joy of observing nature on to their children.
We publish the results of our research on three levels: (1) in scientific journals, (2) in popular-scientific journals and magazines, (3) in situ through presentations, posters, local bird checklists, and workshops. We help to promote birding sites by producing local bird checklists, brochures, and posters.