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Newsletter No. 59 - April-May, 2005
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Hola Volunteers, Supporters and Friends

After enduring three months of repairs and custom modifications in Puerto Vallarta, the Group's dune buggy was finally returned to San Pancho, where even more modifications were scheduled, i.e., new shock-springs, lights, mirrors, complete paint job, and new wiring. The combined modifications have definitely improved its performance, power, and its ability to maneuver on the beach over soft sand.

Normally people come to San Pancho to relax. In turn, I generally travel to the States to enjoy the same. At the end of the 2004-nesting season, as the last hatchlings were released on February 16th, I, too, planned to relax, although here in San Pancho. As the say, "the best laid plans of mice and men sometimes run astray," and my time of relaxation came to a sudden end when two unexpected nests were brought to the nursery at the end of April. The 2005 nesting season is off to a very early start, and may not end until February 2006.

Question: How do the hatchlings find their way to the sea, especially when the sea is over one hundred feet from their nest, and they're only three-quarters of an inch high? Answer; through centuries of trial and error they have learned to use light to guide them. As waves break, they produce a faint light, this luminance produced by a bio-chemical reaction. To the hatchlings, this faint bluish-green light appears as a lightning storm on the other side of a mountain, and they head in its direction until they eventually reach the sea.

Unfortunately, any artificial light can confuse and cause them to turn in the opposite direction, especially when artificial light is brighter and higher then the waves. Here are some idea as to how homeowners can save on their electrical bills, make their homes and gardens more attractive, and at the same time save the lives of these hatchlings.

1. Replace lighting with low wattage, red-amber color light bulbs; far better ambiance for your home and garden, and hatchlings cannot see red-amber, especially when the wattage is 60W or below.
2. Shade all lighting that faces the beach; or face them inland away from the sea.
3. Instruct your employees to turn off all unnecessary lights at night.

The spay/neuter clinic hosted by Betty McIntyre and Judith Anderson was a great success with 69 cats and dogs sterilized, including a number of feral cats. The clinic is lowering the pet population, as members of the community began to realize that spay/neutered animals make far better pets. (See image below)

Community environmentalist, Erik Saracho of Hojanay A.C., is in process of putting together seven information signs, which are scheduled to be placed at each of the seven major entrances to the beach. These beautiful metal signs will offer a visitor information on how to enjoy their visit in an eco-friendly way, and what the community expects of them. The funds to build these signs came from several members of the community who have an interest in protecting the beaches and its environment.

Each summer millions of gallons of sewage-contaminated water flow into the sea through the mouth of the lagoon. Unfortunately this happens at about the same time that Marine Turtles gather off the shores to begin nesting. The impact on their health is serious, not to mention the impact to human health. Over several decades many attempts to rebuild and/or correct this problem have failed. The concept of building a state-of the-art "bio-passive" sewer plant near the main highway and outside of the tourist area is a must. Reclaimed water could be returned to the river below the last wellhead, and would help keep the wildlife lagoon healthy.

The struggle to raise funding for Grupo Ecológico has been set up a notch or two with the advent of the new environmental group on the block, Hojanay. Hojanay is also in need of funding, and competition to stay afloat had sent us to the drawing board with the design of a new Grupo T-shirts, including womem's sizes. We also have a completely new pocket size San Francisco Homeowners Directory, just 5½ by 4¼ inches. The Directory has increast from 84 to 131 homeowners in just one year. (See image below)

Weather wise, we have seen no rain since February 25th, the river is bone dry, and the jungle is showing signs of extreme stress due to unusually dry conditions, with several out of control wildfires in the local hills and many behind Puerto Vallarta. Otherwise, the days are more like California Springtime weather, lower than normal humidity, clear skies with some light clouds. Daytime temps in the high 80's, nights in the low to mid 70's.

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

Indina Rock Art

The spay/neuter clinic hosted by Betty Mc Intyre and Judith Anderson

Indina Rock Art

New T-shirt design, pocket size Directory

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