Now that the ebook which I worked on for most of the year is finally finished, I´ve been thinking about what to do with it. Of course its available on Amazon, but the idea with the books has always been to somehow raise funds for other projects. So after a couple weeks of bouncing ideas around I think I have a new goal for 2014.
We´re launching a campaign called Education for Conservation, aimed at both tourists and local youth. The idea is to sell customized version of the book to hotels and tour operators, so they can put they´re own logo on it and offer it to their own clients. Thats the first half of the plan. You can see an example of how it would work by clicking HERE.
With what we manage to raise from selling these customized editions, I would love to sponsor high school students in the Riviera Maya (we´ll probably start with Tulum, since that is where I live) so they can enjoy the same wildlife appreciation tours tourists get to go on.
I believe that the first step toward protecting nature for future generations to enjoy, is to make sure the current generation gets to enjoy it as well. And though people travel here from all over the world to wonder at the natural marvels of this region, the majority of our kids have never snorkelled over the reef, or explored a mangrove swamp. They´ve never swam with a sea turtle, or even seen a flamingo or a whaleshark.
So my plan for next year is to begin to change that. You can read a bit more about the project HERE, but that is basically it. Proceeds from the ebook will help sponsor free tours for local high school students. and thus foster in them a greater love, respect and curiosity for their environment.
Of course, we´ll need to work with the schools to ensure not only that they are properly prepared to get the most out of the experience, but also that there is some sort of follow-up . In the long term I´d like to hand out snorkel gear and binoculars to the kids, and make sure school libraries have plenty of wildlife guidebooks on hand. As an additional benefit, these tours could be a welcome source of income for communities during the off-season.
I´d like to emphasize that we are not seeking donations. (Though they are of course always welcome, we would like the project to generate its own income and be self sustaining.) We just want to sell as many books as possible, so please help us get the word out. And if you are a hotel manager or a tour operator, please contact us about customizing the book for your customers.
David Nuñez is a biologist, photographer and author of several books on the Wildlife of the Mexican Caribbean, as well as a founding member of Mexiconservación.