Meet Bestalina Martínez, the president of the Municipalities of Central Atlantida Department (MAMUCA), EcoLogic’s local partner on our Towns for Environmental Corridors and Communities project in northern Honduras. Bestalina will attend EcoLogic’s annual benefit on October 23, where she will lead a discussion on “Women Leading Innovative Conservation in Central America” as one of our 10 expert facilitators. At the event, Bestalina also will be recognized as the winner of EcoLogic’s Innovation Award!
An Interview with Cleopatra Méndez, EcoLogic’s new Bi-National Program Coordinator
What is your role with EcoLogic?
I coordinate EcoLogic’s bi-national project in the Sarstún region. My role is to provide support and oversight on the ground for EcoLogic’s work in these important coastal and marine ecosystems. This area is vital to conserve—it’s home to many endangered species, and places on both sides of the border have been recognized under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands as wetlands of international importance.
Why do you think it is important that this is a cross-border project?
At the end of the day, natural resources don’t recognize national borders! To conserve this region, it will be key to strengthen relationships among local stakeholders in both countries.
By EcoLogic intern Camilo Esquivia-Zapata
I grew up in Colombia, and I have spent my whole life experiencing the effects of an ongoing 50-year war over the natural wealth of my country. Colombia is extremely biodiverse, and it is home to many species of animals and plants that are endemic to the country—meaning that they exist only in Colombia. Conflicts over natural resources, distribution of wealth, and political ideologies have led the country into a 50-plus-year war. The long conflict between various political groups in Colombia is driven largely by a desire to control our natural resources. I grew up seeing the links between Colombia’s rich biodiversity and the war, and how much damage the conflict has done to both the people of Colombia and its environment. What I saw and experienced from the terrible conflict at home made me interested in the deep connection between conservation and conflict from a young age.