Online Toolkit Facilitates Improved Sustainability for Nature Reserves

Violet-tailed Sylph by Serguei Koultchitskii

(Washington, D.C., July 17, 2014) An online toolkit designed to improve sustainability for bird and other nature reserves is now available at no cost, following a development process led by American Bird Conservancy (ABC).

The "Reserve and NGO Self-Evaluation System" provides conservation groups with a step-by-step process to evaluate themselves and their reserves, ultimately generating a sustainability grade and interpretation of that grade. With four language options (English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French) the toolkit is accessible by a wide range of audiences across the Caribbean and Central and South America. It also includes a Sustainability Library, which contains additional downloadable resources and tools related to tourism, carbon credits, endowments, and educational programming.

"Establishing reserves is difficult and often expensive—but the real effort begins afterward, to make sure these places persist into the future. This toolkit will help ensure success and sustainability, including the generation of operating funds," said George Fenwick, President of ABC.

Development of the online toolkit was a joint effort by ABC, blue moon fund, and The Jeniam Foundation.
Topics such as mission, leadership, conservation planning, and reserve infrastructure are among those covered in the toolkit. Financial tools—including a simple self-evaluation and a detailed budget template—help to identify annual costs and anticipated revenues, enabling organizations to better plan their finances into the future.

After using the toolkit, Alexandre Magno Junqueria Enout, of the Brazilian conservation group Biodiversitas, said, "The assessment of the sustainability of our conservation institution and our reserves was quite valuable. The toolkit has been important in our efforts and decision-making to plan for public use of our Mata do Passarinho (Stresemann's Bristlefront) Reserve."

ABC works with partners in Latin America and the Caribbean to establish and expand nature reserves for birds. To date, ABC has helped to establish or expand 65 reserves managed by partner conservation groups, communities, and governments in 14 countries.

For more information on the toolkit, contact ABC's Jason Berry.

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