This half day tour takes you up close to some of the Caribbean Sea’s most dramatic wildlife
May 2010 Newsletter
May 2010 - Bocas Sustainable Tourism Alliance Newsletter
The Bocas Sustainable Tourism Alliance (BSTA) is made up of hotels, tour operators, guides, community tourism organizations, restaurant owners, boat drivers and residents of Bocas del Toro.
The BSTA’s mission is to lead, coordinate and promote the development of sustainable tourism in Bocas del Toro. We follow the principles of Geotourism, defined as a tourism, which supports and improves the geographical character of the destination, including the environment, heritage, local culture and well being of its residents.
The BSTA supports local projects whose goals are the implementation of environmentally friendly practices and the preservation of the unique culture of Bocas del Toro. We aim to promote Bocas del Toro as a sustainable tourism destination and create positive image of the province at an international level.
The Alliance also represents an important resource for information and assistance for residents and tourism enterprises that wish to implement these Geotourism principles.
Current Member List:
Al Natural Resort , Bahia Honda Community, Bibi´s on the Beach, Bluff Beach Retreat, Bocas Bound, The Bocas Breeze, Boteros Unidos, Bocas Butterfly Garden, Casa Blanca, Casa Cayuco, Casa Selva del Mar, Catamaran Sailing and Snorkeling Adventures, Dolphin Bay Preserve, Island Property Management , Lin Gillingham of Finca Los Monos, La Loma Jungle Lodge, Lula´s B&B, Sandubidi / Popa 2 Community, Punta Caracol, Rainforest Awakenings, The Rip Tide, Salt Creek Community, San Cristobal Community, Soposo Jungle Lodge, Starfish Coffee, Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, El Ultimo Refugio Restaurant, Up in the Hill. Individuals: Allene and Clay Blaker, Bryan Silven/Bocas del Toro Travel Center, Joseph Margarite.
Beach Clean- Up
For Earth day, the BSTA assisted with the Smithsonian Beach Clean-Up. We are happy to report over 90% of the participants were children. Here is more from Marlon Smith of the Smithsonian Tropical Reserarch Institute:
Bocas del Toro Research Station celebrated Earth Day on Friday April 16th at Bastimentos Town and Sunday April 18, 2010 at Playa La Cabaña (Bocas island). BRS made this beach Cleaning in collaboration with many. For this event we received support and collaboration from many local sponsors. They donated juice, sandwiches, dessert and sweets, paper cups napkins, water, to refresh the volunteers. Between the two islands 170 volunteers helped us collect 1,847 pounds of garbage. On Bastimentos Island with the collaboration of The Bastimentos Public School Teachers and Professors, Corregiduria de Bastimentos and STRI volunteers Dawna Knapp, Alexandra Dennis(BSTA), Sam Meagher, and Christian Harris with a crew of 96 volunteers collected a total of 850.5 pounds in 2 hour. The groups were divided into three zones to collect trash. They collected 470.5 pounds of cans, plastics and glass and 380 pounds of garbage in total area of 700 meters.
On Playa La Cabaña the community of Isla Colon with the Collaboration of Bet-el School children, Principal Adira Culioli STRI Arcadio Castillo, STRI Scientist Ray Gabriel, Ricardo Cossio Volunteers Joel Chin and Alexandra Dennis (BSTA), Sam Meagher, John Schneiderman, Bocas Breeze, Lesley Hedicker, Heather Rose, Lin Gillingham, Iglesia Adventista, Playa Tortuga Beach & Resort Hotel Crew collected 996.5 lbs in 3 hours with a crew of 74 volunteers in total area of 800 meters. Bet-el School helped clean out all the recycling material to be sent to the Corporation Wong.sa. The Alcadia of Bocas Island donated their time and the use of their cars and boat to take the trash to the dump. This year three zones collecting a total of: Playa la Cabaña 531.50 pounds of garbage, 287 pounds between plastic, glass and 178 pounds in cans. Also the B.R.S projected during the Refreshment break the powerpoint Garbage Art, Plastic bags Impact in your environment and some posters about the reuse and garbage impact.
'El Desafio' filming on Turtle Nesting Sites
First of all, many thanks go to all those who support the sea turtles and have helped with their cause. People have been writing letters, attending meetings, taking photos of the sites and expressed their outrage with respect to a television show being allowed to film atop a turtle nesting site. At the moment, 'El Desafio' from Colombia, is still filming. We have been successful in persuading them to move one of their locations. Biologists are still monitoring the nests, and we are working to make sure that the Municipal Reserve on Bluff Beach becomes fully protected, so that in the future television shows may not obtain permission to film in such environmentally sensitive areas.
The news: First Bocas Lionfish Roundup! Saturday June 5th.
Cash prizes for Individual/Team with the most, the largest and the smallest! Come get your waivers at the offices of BSTA or Bocas Breeze. Get your spears out y'all and help protect the reefs! Bocas Bound will be sponsoring a free shuttle service for those interested in spearing out at Polo Beach on Bastimentos, boat leaves at 10:30 and returns at 2:30.
Plenty of prizes for participants, fresh fish, music and fun at Bomberos station at 3:30 pm.
We have had a startling increase in lionfish population in the region of Bocas de Toro. Local grassroots organization I Spear Lionfish ispearlionfish.org is working diligently to spread the word and encourage people to spear lionfish. Lionfish are an invasive species that destroys coral reefs. They are highly poisonous, yet, tasty and edible. People are encouraged to handle them with care, and then enjoy them! This coincides with the Lobster ban and thus the BSTA has been encouraging lobster fisherman to catch lionfish instead. Information, t-shirts and decals from I Spear Lionfish are available at the BSTA Office, located under the Om Cafe in between Calle 1 and Caller 2 on Avenida E.
UPDATE: THE ROUNDUP WAS A HUGE SUCCESS! See http://www.discoverbocasdeltoro.com/about-bocas-del-toro/festivals-a-events/43-lionfish-roundup.html for more details.
WHAT OUR MEMBERS HAVE TO SAY:
Dolphin Bay Preserve
by Dawna Knapp
Dolphin Bay Preserve is pleased to announce the arrival of Will Rush, our new summer intern! Will hails from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is an International Business major with a Spanish minor at Drexel University. Please join us in giving Will a warm Bocas welcome! Stay tuned for further developments from the finca.
BSTA Farmer's Market
by Heather Rose
The Mission of The Bocas Farmer’s Market is to: organize local farmers and artisans to sell and promote their products; increase awareness of indigenous and local Panamanian culture; share local farming practices; expose tourists and residents to a wide variety products; and provide income for farmers and artisans.
My name is Heather Rose and I am the BSTA Farmer’s Market coordinator. I came here from an the amazing town of Ojai in California. In our small town there began a movement to buy locally and support organic farmers and residents by keeping the income in the community. Our Farmers Market grew into an event that spanned two parking lots and was the place to be on a Sunday morning. It is a wonderful feeling to know the people who grow your food, and to meet with others in your community who feel the same way. Here in Bocas del Toro, the BSTA Farmers' Market provides opportunities to meet new people, including several members of the Ngöbe communities of San Cristóbal and Bahía Honda. There is an opportunity to know creative and dedicated people like Javier Lijo and Janette Morrison from Up in the Hill shop in Bastimentos, who produce organic cacao and coconut products. Or Dorothy Digioia, Iker Lasa Tribaldos, and Jim Jackson, whose dedication to organic produce and living sustainably has brought joy and income to Panamanian people living in Tierra Oscuro. Many had the privilege of meeting Jim Jackson and spending time with him at the market. His recent passing was a shock to family, friends, and the community. Jim always came to the market with a smile and so much joy. His farm family would load up a huge cayuco of fruits and vegetables harvested that week, along with amazing chocolate products. Those who come to the market stay and enjoy the fresh produce and treats like Dorothy’s chocolate jam, Up in the Hill truffles, Bahia Honda’s awesome cookies and Johnny cakes, and converse and enjoy each other’s company. Families bring their kids to play while they catch up with friends and make new connections. Tourists arrive and experience the diverse culture and community that is on display at the Famers' Market.
My hope is to see this market grow into an event with stands lining the street next to the Park, tourists arriving in Bocas excited to experience the market, and local restaurants purchasing ingredients directly from local growers.
Our long term goal is to have more people working toward sustainable incomes by growing organic produce and making products to sell locally. Supporting your neighbors is a wonderful way to create an abundant and thriving community, and we are extremely grateful to Mayor Anderson for his continued support of the market.
by Margaret of La Loma Jungle Lodge
Organic Cacao Pudding
By Neil Sander of the Riptide Bar and Restaraunt
I went to watch Neil make this recipe in the Riptide kitchen, (to make sure it tasted all right :) Having only made instant pudding before I was surprised by how long it took. But it is well worth the time and effort, be prepared for a different texture and a not-so-sweet delicous chocolate flavour! Enjoy.
2 cacao balls *available at the BSTA Geotourist Information Center, or vegetable standsSmush them up small enough to place in a coffee grinder, make it into powder. Do not grind too long or will turn into paste and clog up your grinder Mix ground cacoa together with:
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup corn starch
1/4 tsp salt
Stir together while still dry. Put on stove on medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, start adding 5 1/2 cups of milk. Add it in slowly, stirring constantly. After 1 cup milk is in, add in 1 container of Carl and Nancy's chocolate *available next-door to the BSTA at the bookstore. Or another chocolate ball with more sugar. Slowly add the rest of milk. bring it to boil for 5 minutes. Turn off heat. Put in half a stick of butter add 2 tsps vanilla. Pour into serving dishes, let cool. While its cooling lick spoons and the pot. Top with whatever you want, whipped cream and peanut butter is good! This recipe yields a large amount, so either use half the amounts, or be prepared to eat a lot of pudding! Makes 16-20 servings.
Even though it is low season, we have been very busy at the BSTA! We have an article published in the newspaper the Bocas Breeze as well. Find it here at http://thebocasbreeze.com/.
I hope you enjoyed this Newsletter and we look forward to seeing you at the BSTA.
Gracias, Alexandra Dennis
We have added new categories for membership: Individual and Supporting Business. The cost is $50 per year.
We are always looking for volunteers at BSTA. We also provide assistance to projects in need of volunteers, or volunteers in need of projects! Contact us.