Books to Schools Program
In order for the people of any country to make a stand for conservation of their natural resources, they must first know what they have. And once they know what they have then this information needs to be disseminated. However, more often than not, the very books that depict and describe their biodiversity are not published in their native language as mainstream publishers rarely ever make a return on their investment. It is sad, but true. The end result is that most of the country’s citizens are “left out in the dark” from information regarding the natural heritage they are being asked to protect in the first place. This backwards ‘trend’ needs to be reversed.
In early 2015, after nearly twenty years of fieldwork and three years of writing, Robert self-published Honduras’ first official bird guide. Only 2,500 copies were printed, but would end up having international distribution.
Depicted within 73 colored plates were illustrated nearly all of the country’s 770 known species. Five-hundred pages of text, rich in natural history information, individual range maps, chapters on various topics and a large format pull-out map, would convert this book as the authoritative guide to the country’s birds.
It had always been a dream of Robert to publish the book in a full Spanish edition and even more so to get copies in the hands of schoolchildren.
In 2017 Robert organized a group of nearly 20 volunteers who helped translate and edit the original English edition of his bird guide for Honduras. The overall goal was to make this book available in the country’s native language, whereby conservationists, pertinent government agencies, biologists, teachers and others would be able to learn about their birds.
Another objective was to acquire sufficient funding in order to start a unique program where books could be delivered to public elementary schools. In order to make this program more effective Robert organized a small group of school teachers and they developed a custom made work booklet, divided into two grade levels, to accompany the bird guides.
With the help of some donations and in-country sponsorships Robert was able to do a small print of books and would set aside 400 copies to give to schools. The project would focus mostly on rural public schools from grades 1 to 6 that were located along the perimeter of numerous national parks and reserves.
On September 28, 2018 the first ceremony was held in Valle de Angeles with schools that were located near La Tigra N.P. Since that date, more than 70 schools have received books and nearly 9,500 schoolchildren have copies in their classrooms. Words can hardly describe the elation that teachers and students felt when they received their copies. The photos here tell their stories.
Pro Nature Honduras is currently seeking additional funding in order to continue and expand this program. Many schools from around the country are requesting the presence of the foundation and would like to receive books.