Grenada is the first country to receive the CBT training, and was held from 17-21 June 2013 in St. George’s, Grenada, attended by 24 participants—staff from local tour operators, non-profit organizations and the Forestry and National Parks Department.
Facilitating the training were interpretation and bird guiding professionals Rick Morales and Beny Wilson. Assisting Rick and Beny were Lisa Sorenson, Executive Director of BirdsCaribbean, Holly Robertson, Project Manager of the CBT, and Anthony Jeremiah, Wildlife Conservation Officer with the Forestry and National Parks Department of Grenada.
The training provided time in the field, utilizing the distinct ecosystems of Grenada to demonstrate the relationship between birds and habitat.
The week culminated in a day of presentations, with the participants making use of their new knowledge to give a 10-minute talk tailored for a specific audience. The most outstanding presentations were ones that had a cohesive and clear message that was evident throughout the presentation. The best presentations also had elements of humor and whimsy, that captivated the group’s attention from start to finish and had everyone wanting to know more. Many participants were able to do this, and it was an extremely entertaining day!
Each participant received a pair of waterproof 8 x 42 Eagle Optics Vortex binoculars, a copy of the Field Guide to the Birds of the West Indies by Herb Raffaele, and various other materials and resources.
The training was made possible by major funding support from the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund and from local sponsors and partners, including the Grenada Forestry and National Parks Department, St. George’s University, McIntyre Brothers, Ltd, Blue Horizons Garden Resort, Caribbean Horizons, Grenada Fund for Conservation, the Grenada Dove Conservation Programme, and Optics for the Tropics.
The feedback on the training was very positive from participants (see comments below). Since June, two have led their first bird tour and another is working with a resort to develop on-site birdwatching opportunities.
In addition, the group of trainees formed a bird club, organize weekly field trips to hone their skills and attract new members, and submit observations to eBird. They also collaborate on how to tackle major issues in Grenada that negatively impact the environment and their livelihoods as tour guides, such as littering.
We look forward to working with our new partners on bird conservation in Grenada!
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“This workshop was fantastic. It’s given us the tools to revamp the tours that we have, put more emphasis on interpretation, and of course add the bird tours which we think are a great means to help raise environmental awareness for our guests as well as our local visitors.”
“This workshop helped me develop a passion for something I didn’t even know I would have a passion for!”