We have big news! Guias Unidos has been accepted as a project of Earth Island Institute (EII). EII is a "fiscal sponsor," which is a less-than-clear name for an umbrella organization that helps small projects like ours with the administrative parts of being a non-profit organization. So now we can officially get tax-free donations and apply to grants that are only for non-profit organizations, but we don't have to go through all the complicated business and law messiness to become a non-profit ourselves.
This also means that we have been "vetted" by an organization, EII, that has a more than 30 years of experience in what they do. They currently have about 75 projects under their watch, and some past projects have spun off to become their own major players. EII was started in 1980 by the first president of the Sierra Club, David Brower, and is to this day run by a group of people with lots of experience in social and environmental work.
We spent a couple days with the EII team in Berkeley, CA getting aquainted to their resources and work, and we're pretty excited to be working with them. If you'd like to see what they do, check them out at http://www.earthisland.org/index.php/support/, and especially the Earth Island Journal at www.earthisland.org/journal/.
Speaking of journals, Jeff got an article published in Ranger Magazine, the journal of the Association of National Park Rangers. You can read it on pages 15 and 16 (pdf pages 17 and 18) at https://aonpr29.wildapricot.org/resources/Documents/Ranger/2016Ranger_Fall_4C.pdf. We're hoping to get more word out there about our project soon.
For now, we're still applying for funding for the next steps. Some ideas include to create a resource library in one or two locations on the island (an office, basically, with computer training and guide books, etc.), and paying guides to be like rangers on the trails, keeping track of who is there, what is being done, and helping out where necessary. Likely, we won't have enough funding (the goal being $15,000) to go in June, so we're also applying to summer park jobs in the US. Not a bad backup... We'll likely be going back to Ometepe in October, and staying through March or early April.
And, of course, we're still having fun. We took the opportunity of being in the Bay Area to spend a weekend in San Francisco. So beautiful!