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Newsletter No. 51 - July, 2004
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Hola Volunteers, Supporters, and Friends –

After a wonderful seventy days vacation up to Idyllwild California, Delores Colorado and Tucson Arizona I arrived back to my home in San Pancho just in time to enjoy the beginning of the annual monsoon. Within three weeks, the rains had turned the dry jungle into a lush forest of green.

Never before, and so early, have we been this organized and ready. The dune buggy is in excellent condition; the nursery is up and operational, and eight volunteers are standing by, but so far, only one nest has been located. Normally an average of eight nests are located before July.

Since late last April, I have been sitting on some bad news. Our efforts to bring some protection to the coastal Jungle of Nayarit came to a sudden and unexpected conclusion. In April, Esteban Millard and I attended a meeting in Sayulita. The objective of this meeting was to elect and install Officers who would take control of a newly formed Environmental Group. The goal of this Group was to protect the natural environment of this area, or that is what Esteban and I had first assumed.

Dr. Alberto Székely had accepted the responsibility of facilitating the meeting, and to see that the Offices were installed correctly. Before the meeting, I asked Alberto if I could be the first to speak. I wanted to ensure that the community of San Francisco would be included within this new Group, especially before we handed over any funding to its treasury. After I spoke to the assembly, and made our request known, several attending, including Alberto, shot our request down. They cited that "Having both communities involved within this one Group would be too complex." It was just as well, as later we discovered that the main thrust of this Group was turning to the protection of the town of Sayulita, and less to the environment at large.

Apart from any last minute disaster, this season's nesting beaches are in excellent condition, although they are not without their individual problems. About eight days out of each lunar cycle, high tide waves swamp the beaches, which in turn can destroy nests. Night-lights shining on the beach disorient adult marine turtles, and hold hatchlings on the beach to die in the morning's heat. Horseback riding compress the damp sand, again destroying the nests. In addition, occasional flash floods often spread tons of their treacherous debris along the beaches, blocking the advance of both adults and hatchlings.

Over the years, the Group's dune buggy has endured heavy corrosion largely due to its contact with salt, sand, and mud. Only a good washing could protect it, but in most cases, the water pressure in San Pancho was too weak to clean it properly. For years, we were aware of one piece of equipment that could do the job properly, so while in the States, I purchased a new power washer. This equipment turns low-pressure into1400-PSI, which in turn rips salt, sand, and mud down to its bright finish. In any case, after eighty day on blocks and a good washing, it started up on the first crank, a good omen.

We just received a wonderful letter this week: "Dear Frank Smith - The money enclosed was fundraised by me from my 8th grade project. I sold 30 T-shirts that I designed from your T-shirts. The speech you made in December at Costa Azul really inspired me. Thank You, Andrea Novotny". We thank you Andrea for the generous donation of 262 dollars and the wonderful letter.

This season, we will again have the help of twelve plus volunteers from the community of San Pancho, and expect to have up too fifteen international volunteers. (See below) Seventy-five percent of all our volunteers are returnees, the largest amount to date. With twenty-seven volunteers we expect to have lot of good potluck dinners and music.

* New volunteers

Frank Smith USA 6/25 to 12/31/04
David Dunn USA 6/25 to 12/31/04
Riikka Immonen Finland 6/25 to 10/31/04
Paul Tsaros France 6/25 to 10/15/04
Jim Sorter USA 6/25 to 8/31/04
Linda Sorter USA 6/25 to 8/31/04
*Mellisa Moore USA 7/12 to 9/2/04
*Andrew Thompson USA 7/12 to 9/2/04
Bronwyn O'Halloran Australia 7/2 to 10/31/04
*Donny Thieme Netherlands 8/25 to 9/30/04
*Mariska Schrever Netherlands 8/25 to 9/30/04
Nick Sanders UK 9/1 to 10/31/04
*Estibalie García Spain 10/1 to 11/30/04


Frank D. Smith
Director
Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde, A.C.


Chruch

This front yard nursery or hatchery holds over 166 nests.


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