May 23, 2012

Ambassador's Choice

Have you ever seen a mangrove forest?

A mangrove in the Gulf of San Miguel, Panama.

Mangroves have a cool tangle of roots that reach from above the water down into the sand below and provide a safe home for finfish and shrimp, and other vital species. I always wonder how they stay rooted given the ebb and flow of the tides. They look like they are out of movie. But they are real, they are amazing, and their health in the Gulf of San Miguel, Panama is not only crucial for the health of the ecosystem but it is also intimately tied to the health of the communities around them.

Eric Pinto, a fisherman in the Gulf of San Miguel, relies on the health of the mangroves to support his livelihood.

EcoLogic is committed to working with these communities to preserve the mangrove forests that provide a livelihood source for most of the villagers. But we can’t do it alone. Enter Ambassadors – a group of dedicated and creative EcoLogic supporters that each pledge to raise a certain amount of money within a calendar year. Now, that’s commitment.

As an Ambassador you get exclusive and intimate access to project updates through a weekly email called “The Ambassador Corner.” Since EcoLogic has such a breadth of projects spanning five countries, we let Ambassadors choose an initiative or region on which they would like to focus each year. This year, the majority of Ambassadors voted to focus on our work in the Darien Province of Panama.

I can probably guess why they chose to hear more about Panama. The Gulf of San Miguel is an extremely lush and richly diverse, yet particularly remote area (ever heard of the Darien Gap?). Because of this, many NGOs and governmental organizations choose not to work there – but not EcoLogic. We have been working with the communities of San Miguel for three years now, helping them care for their watersheds and get access to clean water, working to get the mangroves declared as a protected area, and providing educational workshops on sustainable fishing techniques for local fisherfolk associations..

In reality, all of us working for EcoLogic get to do amazing things because of the inspiring communities we work with in Central America and Mexico. But, I also get to work closely with a special group of creative, thoughtful, and impactful donors that can truly be called Ambassadors of EcoLogic’s work.

- Katie O'Gara, Program Officer for EcoLogic
Katie works with the individuals fundraising team and coordinates EcoLogic's Ambassador program. Katie will be attending the University of Michigan this fall in the graduate program, Natural Resources and Environment. 

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