Para la Naturaleza and Boys & Girls Clubs will offer sessions for nature immersion on Saturdays to 260 children and teenagers (between 6 and 18 years old), allowing them to experience the importance of taking action in the conservation of nature and their historical heritage.
Thanks to a donation from the National Recreation Foundation, these boys and girls will have the opportunity to learn about what causes hurricanes and everything that is necessary for the ecological recovery of Puerto Rico, which requires everyone’s commitment with conservation.
During a nine-month period, participants will enjoy first-hand experiences in reserves, natural areas, and historic buildings managed by Para la Naturaleza. The youth participating in this pilot program will go on field trips where they will get to know and research the diverse ecosystems of Puerto Rico’s islands and will become a part of their recovery.
Once the second semester of the program begins, participants will collaborate as citizen scientists as part of Para la Naturaleza’s program Mapa de Vida (Map of Life). Mapa de Vida is a project that gathers scientific field data about Puerto Rico’s ecosystems, which are later used to help design specific management plans for natural areas, as well as small-scale conservation strategies.
As they participate in the Mapa de Vida program, the youth will visit rural areas with Para la Naturaleza’s experts and log their findings on the flora and fauna. They will learn how to identify plants, reptiles, birds, and other species, and they will help prepare beach profiles.
Likewise, participants will join Para la Naturaleza’s Hábitat program, which aims to restore the ecosystems and communities of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. They will donate their time and work as volunteers for planting efforts in urban and rural areas, as well as in one of Para la Naturaleza’s natural reserves. They will also visit the organization’s tree nurseries to learn how to collect seeds, what to do to help them germinate, and what are the necessary cultivation processes before planting a native tree.
A great part of these activities will be held at five of the reserves and natural areas managed by Para la Naturaleza: Fajardo, San Juan, Barranquitas, Ponce, and Manatí.
“Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico values the conservation of our natural resources. This partnership will allow our participants to keep learning and take action as responsible citizens by getting involved in the process of restoring the ecosystems to benefit our communities,” said Olga Ramos Carrasquillo, Esq., President of Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico.
Meanwhile, the President of Para la Naturaleza, Fernando Lloveras San Miguel, Esq., added that, “this partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico will allow us to offer more than 200 Puerto Rican children the first-hand opportunity of getting to know the rich biodiversity of Puerto Rico’s nature and how vital its conservation is for the well-being of our communities, while they become an active part of the recovery of our habitat.”
About Para la Naturaleza
Para la Naturaleza is a non-profit organization that integrates society in the conservation of its natural ecosystems. Its goal is to ensure that the percentage of natural protected areas in Puerto Rico reaches 33% for the year 2033. It provides transformative experiences in nature to inspire each person and community to take concrete steps to protect it, such as donating time, money, or land. Aside from organizing fundraising campaigns and volunteer and educational events, Para la Naturaleza also protects more than 60 natural areas, with visitor centers open to the public throughout Puerto Rico.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico
Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico is a non-profit organization with 50 years of service, leading after-school programs and services for boys, girls, and teenagers aged between 6 and 18 years old. It offers a safe and creative space where they can grow to become leaders who reach their academic, personal, and professional goals. Their innovative programs are focused on career development and entrepreneurship, providing tools to help participants secure a dignified employment with economic stability. Last year, they offered their services to more than 16,000 girls, boys, and families, and employed more than 300 professionals in the island. Boys and Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico has thirteen clubs located at Ramos Antonini Public Housing Project in Río Piedras, Las Margaritas and Luis Lloréns Torres Public Housing Projects in Santurce, F.D. Roosevelt Public Housing Project in Mayagüez, Torres de Sabana Public Housing Project in Carolina, and other centers in the communities of San Lorenzo, Villa Carolina, Arecibo, Aguas Buenas, Bayamón, Loíza, Vieques, and Isabela.