2015 Bricks & Birds – February 28 – March 7
September 2nd, 2014
Travel to Jinotega, and work in and explore this beautiful region of Nicaragua. Jinotega is a mountainous region north east of the capital of Managua and enjoys a cool climate. It is known for its coffee plantations and, because of its vast bio-diversity, it is a globally significant conservation area. Bridges and its Canadian sister organization have been working in two rural communities in Jinotega since 2012, building homes, schools and a library.
The first part of the week will be spent building smokeless cook stoves for families that currently cook over open wood fires. Smoke from open fires causes a range of serious respiratory illnesses and other health problems such as cataracts and burns. In addition, open wood fires are a very inefficient source of heat and a waste of wood fuel. A smokeless cook stove helps change a family’s future- improving the family’s health with less respiratory illness and fewer chronic health problems, and improving the environment because of reduced deforestation. Women spend less time finding fuel and preparing meals, which allows them to complete other responsibilities and pursue income-generating opportunities, an education, or even recreation activities.
The last two days of the trip will be spent visiting and working on a private family coffee farm and nature preserve that is involved in an organized national and international attempt to save several species of migratory songbirds and the habitat that supports them. The 215-acre El Jaguar Preserve is located in the “cloud forest” ecosystem, and is filled with rare orchids, ferns and trees that date back to pre-historic times. The owners of El Jaguar are dedicated to maintaining a sustainably managed coffee farm featuring the type of shade grown agriculture that attracts the threatened songbirds. They are at the forefront of a global conservation effort that involves local farmers in an economic development project to expand the protected forest areas. Visitors will be able to tour the farm and the preserve, and engage in reforestation work or help with the bird banding and identification projects that are being undertaken at the preserve.