This week update (October 30, 2010 to November 5, 2010) is as follows:
1) Over 40 trees were cut down at the Baldorioty de Castro Avenue/ Parada 18- We are very sad to inform that a wonderful small urban forest that included fully grown native trees was cut down and removed from the Marginal Baldorioty de Castro at Santurce’s Parada 18 area, steps away from EPA’s and SJBEP’s offices.
These trees provided the estuarine ecosystem with vital services, including their function as bio-filters of the stormwater flushed into the Condado Lagoon, as well as key habitat for urban birds, control of motor vehicle-related noise contamination, and CO2 absorption. Javier Laureano contacted the San Juan Municipality and the DNER, but their personnel didn’t have the information on the reasons for the massive tree cut in that critical area of the city and the watershed.
2) Allied of the SJBEP met with Al Gore: During his visit to the Caribe Hilton Hotel Vice President Al Gore recognized Mr. Eddie Ramírez, Caribe Hilton's Procurement and Environmental Sustainability Manager. Mr. Ramírez has been an active collaborator of our Program and is working closely with Gladys Rivera in restoration initiatives involving the Hilton’s employees as well as tourists (as part of Ramírez’s “Voluntourism” project). The Caribe Hilton Hotel is the only hotel of its kind with an active environmental program in the Metropolitan Area. We are very proud to be one of their partners.
3) Meeting at the DNER regarding Caiman invasive species- Dr. Jorge Bauzá and Javier Laureano met with Dr. Miguel García, Dr. Rafael Joglar and Ángel Atienza to discuss the control methods and outreach outlets to be used with the Caiman invasive species presence at highly populated areas. The team also discussed the need to conduct further scientific investigations on these reptiles. Dr. Joglar will submit a proposal to the SJBEP regarding the studies. The group is coordinating a meeting with several community representatives on Wednesday, December 8, 2010.
4) MAPFRE Foundation Award submitted- Javier Laureano completed all forms and narrative requirements for the award and submitted it to Puerto Rico’s MAPFRE corporate offices at Hato Rey. We want to thank Ernesto Díaz from the DNER; Pedro Carrión, Corredor del Yaguazo Community Group; Ramón Lloveras San Miguel, Popular Insurance; Teresita Rodríguez from EPA and Carlos Fernández Lugo, McConnell Valdés for endorsing our nomination. People like you are VITAL to our organization!! For further information please access: http://www.mapfre.com/fundacion/es/becasypremios/pmma/becas/premios-fundacion-mapfre-2010-bases-de-la-convocatoria.shtml
5) Alliance with CECIA- Dr. Bauzá offered a water quality monitoring seminar to CECIA (Centro de Educación, Conservación e Interpretación Ambiental) students at the Inter American University- Metro Campus on Tuesday, November 2, 2010. CECIA students will serve at our organization’s Water Quality Monitoring Program. We want to thank CECIA's Ernesto Otero for his support and collaboration with the SJBEP.
6) Key meeting with Polytechnic University’s President, Ernesto Vázquez Barquet- The Polytechnic University graduates over 400 engineers and technical professionals per year, and produces over 140 research and technical projects and papers annually. After presenting the projects of our organization to Vázquez Barquet, Ernesto Vázquez Martínez, Eng. and Dr. Carlos J. González, Dean of the College of Engineering and Geomatic Sciences, the University’s representatives were very enthusiastic of the proposal of signing a MOU with the SJBEP. Javier Laureano will be discussing the specifics of the MOU with all department directors in a meeting to take place on December 7, 2010. We thank our President, Andrés Salas Soler for facilitating the meeting.
7) Alliance with the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo-MAC- (Museum of Contemporary Art)- This was a week of important alliances, another meeting to promote an alliance was held between Javier Laureano and MAC’s Executive Director, Marianne Ramírez on Thursday, November 4, 2010. Among the projects discussed were Basurarte (TrashArt), estuarine murals at schools, Capetillo community’s tutoring center restoration, Taller Vivo and others.
8) Three high school students “shadowed” Javier Laureano for a day- As part of their Career Day, three students from the Colegio Puertorriqueño de Niñas accompanied Javier Laureano to all his meetings during Thursday, November 4, 2010. We were very glad to host these bright students at our office and answer all their questions during the day. Teresita Rodríguez from EPA facilitated this activity.
9) Girls Scouts at the Estuary: As part of an ongoing relation with San Juan Region’s Girl Scouts: a) One scout troop participated in a ecological day at Bosque de Piñones where they received information and performed several estuary-related activities. B) Several troops will be working in water monitoring and mangrove planting as part of the Ecological Fest Event to be held in March 2011. C) An estuarine merit batch will be created for the Girls Scouts troops. Carlos Fernández Lugo, Secretary of our Board of Directors, facilitated the initial contact with the Girl Scouts.
10) Estuary Guardians participants and leaders met with Project Coordinator: New participants of the Estuary Guardians Program from de Colegio San Antonio in Río Piedras and Academia Sagrado Corazón of Santurce met with Gladys Rivera at the Condado Lagoon Park for an educational talk and a guided visit to our mangrove restoration site. Students are very exited about the program and leaders are sharing information and experiences to enrich the process. Teachers are also on board and are sharing experiences and transferring technical information.
11) October=Education Fest! In October more that 50 students received orientation and educational materials to complete projects for their Science classes. The students visited our offices or were received in the Red Mangrove restoration site and permanent educational exhibition at the Condado Lagoon. One of the groups, from a nearby public school, Esc. Rafael Cordero, will receive an educational talk tomorrow, Saturday November 6, 2010, at the Jaime Benitez Park.
Save the Date!! EPA’s 40th Anniversary-December 10th, 2010- The Environmental Protection Agency is celebrating its 40th Anniversary with an all-day seminar comprised by themes related to Vieques, Recycling and the Martín Peña dredging. The event will take place at the Inter American University on December 10, 2010 from 8am to 5:30pm. Judith Enck, EPA Regional Administrator, will highlight EPA’s priorities for the island. For reservations please call Mrs. Brenda Reyes at 787-977-5869
Save the Date!! On Saturday, November 13, 2010 the Estuary’s Green Cinema at Jaime Benítez Park presents Disney’s fabulous documentary “Oceans”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwxZuKErHs8 As part of the screening, Girls Scouts troops will meet in the afternoon at the park to received an educational talk and to enjoy a pedal boat trip around the Lagoon with our Outreach Coordinator.