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Nicaragua

Maderas Volcano National Park

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Conservation benefit: Improvements to Finca Magdalena’s visitor and park ranger station

Date Approved: 06.2014

Ecotourism

This project supports a local conservation-based tourism initiative.

Forest

This project protects forest, preventing the release of greenhouse gases and reducing erosion that damages coastal and ocean ecosystems.

River/Lake

This project protects freshwater habitat around a river or lake.

Ometepe is the largest volcanic island (107 square miles) within a fresh water lake in the world, and is one of the largest non-oceanic islands in the world. It sits in Lake Nicaragua, the second largest body of fresh water in Latin America.

The island encompasses a dramatic range of altitude, topography, and climate. Its two volcanic peaks—forested, dormant Volcán Maderas and active Volcán Concepción—are joined by a low wetland isthmus. As a result, Ometepe boasts an extraordinarily diverse mosaic of forest and wetland habitats. It supports a dazzling array of species, including an endemic salamander and endemic orchid. The island is of particular importance for neo-tropical birds that migrate to Central and South America from the north. UNESCO declared the entire island a Biosphere Reserve in 2012.

A building there is currently used as a field base for volunteer park rangers and tour guides. Seacology, with our partner NGO, Fauna & Flora International, is funding the renovation of the building so it can serve as a center for visitors exploring the trails that extend over 5.3 miles into Maderas Volcano National Park. The grant will also fund an outdoor exhibit to educate tourists about the park. The permanent presence of park rangers, who are also tour guides, will allow better oversight of park visitors and enforcement of regulations.

Project Updates

April 2016

The completely renovated building, which is located near the beginning of one of the most popular volcano trails, is now being used to educate and inspire visitors to Volcano National Park. The new visitors’ center has motivated members of the local water committee, environmental organizers, and ecotourism businessowners to form a group dedicated to protect the forests of the park and keep the visitors’ center operating.

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January 2016

Seacology’s Executive Director Duane Silverstein and Central America Field Representative Ian Drysdale attended an opening ceremony for the rehabilitated facility in January 2016. They reported that the building improvements and the large interpretive signs had both been done very well. At the gathering, a member of the local coffee-growers cooperative gave a moving talk, stressing the importance of conservation not just for the current residents of the area, but for all of the people of Ometepe and for future generations.

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September 2015

Field representative Ian Drysdale visited the site and reports that great progress has been made on repairing the building. New doors have been built and are ready to be installed. Ian says that the outside interpretive area looks great; the path will soon be paved with slate rock, and information panels will be installed.

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May 2015

The architectural design of the park ranger station renovation has been finished and approved by the local park management committee. A local contractor plans to start the work in May; repairs to the house should be finished by June, and some of the work on the exhibit area should be done by then as well. Our partner NGO, Fauna & Flora International, is hiring a professional designer of interpretive environmental materials to create an outdoor exhibit about the importance of the Maderas Volcano National Park. The design work will be completed in May. After that the materials will be translated and printed, and the exhibits will be placed outside the station area.

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January 2015

Our partner NGO, Fauna & Flora International, is now hiring the architect and construction crew for improvements and repair of the Finca Magdalena building. The hiring process should be completed by March 2015.

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