Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Nourishing and Healing Our Spirits and the World

Me teaching

Me teaching about how to nourish wild macaw chicks 

In my last blog I spoke
of how the conservation team in the Mayan Biosphere Reserve is attempting to
augment the wild macaw population by incubating eggs and placing the hatched
chick into foster nests. This process entails being able to feed the chick once
s/he hatches up until it is accepted by his or her new parents.  Feeding parrot chicks may be routine in
captive, controlled situations, but how do you prepare and serve food in areas
with spotty electricity, long hours away from any kind of store?

To answer this
question, I gave a presentation on feeding wild chicks yesterday at the
Wildlife Conservation Society’s headquarters in Flores, El Peten,
Guatemala.  I reviewed concepts and
techniques of pediatric nutrition, and demonstrated how to use Nutristart.  Nutristart is a powder that you simply mix
with hot water to have a complete diet for parrot chicks, although adding 1/8
to 1 tsp of peanut butter might be needed for macaws. Lafeber Company donated
this food so that WCS may feed the chicks, which will nourish the wild macaw
population.  Following this I
demonstrated how to use Emeraid, also from Lafeber Company. This is a powdered
enteral diet for weak or debilitated chicks. They do see sick and malnourished chicks
in the wild, especially the 3
rd chick, and an easily prepared
emergency diet such as this might save future lives.

Chepe tube feed

Chepe volunteering to be a chick so I could demonstrate tube feeding 

As a wrap up for out
time together, I asked a few questions to augment my ethnoornithology study,
which is focusing on how to support the human dimension of avian conservation
in Central America.  

Rony Filming

Filming the presentation and ethnoornithological discussion 

I asked the conservation
team members what values were important to them that they got to live out in
their work.  They spoke of the importance
of their relationships with one another: that they are united, and value the
dedication, respect, humor, and creative interplay that fills their days and
nourishes their own spirits. Under it all is their love for conservation and to
be doing something positive, with others, that helps heal the world.  I then asked what they would ask of the world
and they replied to you. “Do something real, not just for show. Every person
can do something, and what you do, no matter where you are, will help us here.”

 I translate this
into:  If the situation of the world or
your community bugs you, do something about it. 
It matters what you do!


Bug seen from side of road on our way back to Flores (photo by Dr. Melvin Merida) 


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