Saturday, February 5, 2011

Guachinanga restoration/ Dunes stabilization/ Oral history-Cucharillas/ Estuarine Comic Books/ IGERT students

Photos: IGERT student's monitoring trip; new billboard and 'mesh' to promote our Special Fund; Educational sign at the Caimito community.

Our weekly update for January 30 - February 5, 2011, is as follows:

Guachinanga island restoration initiative at the San José Lagoon: As part of next year’s Work Plan, the Cantera Peninsula Company and the San Juan Bay Estuary Program are joining efforts to restore this beautiful island in the San José Lagoon. Guachinanga is a nesting paradise for coastal birds and is home to a very unique biodiversity in the midst of the Metropolitan Area in part thanks to its isolation. Debris and sedimentation closed the small channel that separated Guachinanga from the Cantera Peninsula, and now water quality is in peril in the filled area. The Cantera Peninsula will match $100,000 of EPA funds in cash to complete a restoration dredging initiative, which has an approximate cost of $200,000.

Billboard and ‘mesh’ to promote tax return contributions to our Special Fund: Thanks to the work of our communications specialist, Georgina Vega Porrata, we obtained free of charge the placement of a billboard and a ‘mesh’ at a building in Condado to promote contributions to our Special Fund through tax returns. As soon as the billboard and mesh are placed we will publish the photo and exact address. Leverage obtained through this initiative adds up to $15,000 per month.

Drug Court’s “Addicts in Rehabilitation Program” will volunteer in dunes stabilization pilot project: As part of their rehabilitation program, Drug Court associates will contribute to our first dunes stabilization pilot project planting event that will take place (tentatively) on March 25, 2011, at an undisclosed site. We thank Drug Court’s judges and prosecutors for their interest and enthusiasm in our ecological restoration program.

New estuarine educational sign placed at the entrance of the Caimito community: Community leader Haydée Colón approached our organization to place an educational sign identifying her community as part of the San Juan Bay Estuary’s watershed. We are glad to announce that this week employees of the Municipality of San Juan installed a sign that was designed and produced by the San Juan Bay Estuary Program at the entrance of the Caimito community. Several thousands of vehicles pass the site on a daily basis.

Oral history of the Cucharillas Wetland communities: As part of her collaboration with the San Juan Bay Estuary Program during the current academic year, Ph.D. student Betzaida Ortiz is completing a research project on the oral history of the communities living on the Cucharillas Wetland. To date she has interviewed several community leaders and residents, and in the following weeks she will interview two very special community elders, each over one-hundred years of age. Ortiz, who already has a manuscript of 75 pages, began the project after a kick-off meeting with Javier Laureano. Our organization will publish the narratives at the end of 2011. We are very proud of the work Ortiz is doing and encourage her to continue her interdisciplinary research on the San Juan Bay Estuary.

Estuarine Comics Workshop - First phase of our estuarine ecological alphabetization campaign to be launched at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC): Twelve Junior High and High School students will participate in our Estuarine Comics Workshop, to be held on April 2, 9, and 16 at the MAC. Graphic and comics designer José Luis Vargas will be the facilitator of the workshops. The students will be drawn from the schools affiliated with our Estuary Guardians/Water Quality Monitoring Project. On March 26, they will take a guided boat tour of the ecosystem. This is the first phase of a comprehensive educational campaign that includes a TV spot, newspaper ads, a coloring book, and a comic book designed and created by students.

Conference and monitoring trip with National Science Foundation’s IGERT University of Puerto Rico students: On Wednesday, February 3, 2011, fifteen graduate students from the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) of the University of Puerto Rico went on a monitoring trip to the eastern axis of the Estuary. Ernesto Olivares, the SJBEP’s Water Quality Monitoring Coordinator, served as guide and environmental interpreter. As part of this National Science Foundation-sponsored program, Javier Laureano offered a conference to the group on January 31, 2011. Currently three IGERT students are focusing their research on the San Juan Bay Estuary.

Twentieth-Century Fox is sponsoring our Estuary’s Cinema: We want to thank Twentieth-Century Fox’s official distributors in Puerto Rico for sponsoring this key outreach initiative of our organization. Every second and fourth Saturday of each month, the SJBEP presents short films, educational documentaries, and a featured film, free of charge. Thanks to the work of our communications contractor, Georgie Vega Porrata, we obtained the permit to screen the following films (approximate monthly leverage of $500-$700):


12 Anna and the King

26 The Truth About Cats and Dogs


12 Little Miss Sunshine

26 Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest trailer


1 Los ‘100,000’ - Local documentary on abandoned cats and dogs in the streets of Puerto Rico

23 Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs


April 30, 2011: Puerto Rico Water Quality Monitoring Day. Send an email to Gladys Rivera for information at

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