Allow us to introduce you all to an amazing organization: La Reserva Biológica Cerro Seco, located in Bahía de Caráquez. Founded in 1996 by Marcelo Daniel Luque Intriago, the organization’s original purpose was to research and publish the native flora and fauna of the tropical bosque seco (dry forests) of Ecuador, since then the primary objective has changed to that of conservation and protection of this Ecuadorian tropical dry forest which is one of the last 2% of this unique ecosystem that exists in the world. A private reserve that uses only their own and natural resources to run their organization, it really is amazing what they have accomplished so far and the work that they continue to do.
Here is a list of just some of the projects that they are involved in:
Tree Nursery: Filled with plants and trees native to the tropical dry forests of Ecuador, so that they can collect and classify the seeds.
Educational trail: through the dry forest, where people can learn about the unique environment, while experiencing the natural wonder at the same time.
Research: Anyone can volunteer to help with flora and fauna inventory, through pictures, videos, and classification.
Eco-tourism: Many different types of tours are offered throughout the year including, the Cerro Seco Biological Reserve, bird watching tours, whale watching (June - September), monkey observation, bike tours, and kayak tours, just to name a few.
Environmental Education: workshops provided for the children of Bellavista (their local community), and the schools, high schools, and colleges of the Sucre County. These workshops work to change the habits, customs, and raise awareness of conservation of the environment.
Volunteers/Students: Support the activities and projects that Cerro Seco Biological Reserve realizes daily. See some personal stories from volunteers on their blog.
Municipal ordinance: Together with Manabí sector of the National Cooperation of Forests and Natural Reserves and the local government of Sucre County, they are working to improve the government protection of protected areas within the county.
Along with these projects, the Cerro Seco Biological Reserve is currently constructing a small eco-hostal that would be able to house 20 guests, where people can go to be surrounded by nauture, relax, and meet new people.
As part of their work, the Cerro Seo Biological Reserve looks to integrate expats and local community members into their projects. They have a lot of experience with multi-cultural volunteers and are very enthusiastic about intercultural sharing. If you are a person who has been wondering how to get involved in the community, but have been hindered by language or cross-culture exchange, this is a great way to start. This organization is looking to incorporate the skills, knowledge, and diverse points of view of as many people they can. In fact, one of the goals that lies within their projects is to “construct a bridge between cultures.”
To get involved in any one of these projects please contact Marcel or Michaela (contact info below) or any of us here at EcuaAssist to get more information.
To hear personal stories of other volunteers who have worked with Cerro Seco Biological Reserve, check out their blog, full of personal experiences from the volunteers themselves.
Area of Reserve: 110 hectares
Ecosystem: Ecuadorian/Coastal Tropical Dry Forest
Contact: Marcelo Daniel Luque Intriago & Michaela Maissen