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................ ...Newsletter No. 73 - January, 2007
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Hola Volunteers, Supporters and Friends ~

On January 18th, beneath a beautiful sunset the last 36 hatchlings of the 2006 nesting season were released before a crowd of onlookers. This season, our 15th, ended a heck of a lot better then it began. Case in point: by August, it was obvious that we were collecting more than twice the normal amount of nests. In fact, by the end of the season, we recorded 621, or only 20 nests shy of the record of 641 set in 2000. Then, just when we needed help the most, we found ourselves short of volunteers. Subsequently, there was one hurricane, several tropical storms, and a stubborn poacher to deal with.

On the other hand, despite the difficulties, it has also been a good year. We found two nests of a single Leatherback and carefully relocated both nests containing 44 and 43 eggs (see photos below). We released a record 42,850 hatchlings this season. The dune buggy, for once, preformed very well throughout the season and, despite being short of volunteers, we got the job done without too much difficulty, thanks to the skillful and outstanding work of our volunteers. For me, there was the pleasure of visiting and working with ten veteran volunteers.

Since 1991, we have released over 372,000 Olive Ridley hatchlings. This figure does not include 58,900 Olive Ridley hatchlings released at our Nuevo Vallarta nursery in 1994, or the 755 Leatherback and 41 Eastern Pacific hatchlings released in San Pancho.

The numbers this season are:
· Of the 469 nests placed in the nursery, we released 36,826 hatchlings at 83.5% survival rate.
· Of the 48 nests placed in a controlled, protected area on the beach, we received 2,184 hatchlings.
· Of the 32 nests left in place on the beach we received 2,630 hatchlings
· Of the 34 nests left in place on the beach after November 28th, we received 1,209 hatchlings
· Nests lost, 38 or 6.1%
· Total 621 nests and 42,850 hatchlings to the sea.

As mentioned above, the damn buggy performed well throughout the season but, by mid-December, the stress of the long, tortuous summer caught up with it. Today, off-season repairs are nearly complete (see below). In the past, these repairs would have taken up to six months and cost as much as $3,600. Times have changed. The cost of rebuilding the dune buggy for next season will take less than 45 days and cost as follows:

· Overhauling the motor $300 (scheduled for late January)
· Overhauling the brake system $300 (completed)
· Front and rear spring/shocks $210 (scheduled for late January)
· Replacing the exhaust pipes and muffler $45 (completed)
· Rust removal and painting $25 (completed)
· Replace the left front fender $50 (completed)
· Replacing the top lights and wiring $15 (completed)
· Replacing, coil, point, rotor, cap, and condenser $15 (completed)
· Replacing the gas tank $150 (completed)
· Replacing head padding $10 (completed)
· Lube and oil change $15 (completed)
· Total c
ost of the overhaul: $1,135±

All of us involved with Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde would like to thank those who have contributed to our environmental programs. We would also like to thank Bob and Susan Cole for their very generous donation of $3,000 dollars. Their donation will allow us to purchase a new multi-media projector. For years, we have been hoping to upgrade our visual arts equipment. It will also allow us to take advantage of the thousands of beautiful digital photographs that we have been unable to show before. Having this equipment will also allow us to produce a variety of interesting presentations.

To date, we have published and sold over 132 Home Directories, and hope to sell an additional 40 by June. If you would like to contribute to our environmental programs and have not received a Home Directory, please call me at 258-4100 or drop by my house.

Weather-wise, aside from a few cold nights in the 60's and some cloudy days, the weather in San Pancho has been fantastic. Daytime temperatures in the high 80's to mid-70's, good sunsets, light winds and some light rains in late January.

If you are wondering why the streets of San Pancho are staying clean, wonder no more. Through an idea created by Rodolfo, and with additional financial help from community members, i.e. Geno and Elvia, "El Maestro" or "Nico", the man behind the lime-colored wheelbarrow, has agreed to receive a salary to routinely clean the streets of our community. If you see him and like his work, give him a tip. (See photo below)

In mid 2002, and with the help of one other environmental group, an attempt was made to raise 120,000 pesos in order to hire Alberto Sézkely to take legal action against the State of Nayarit and the County of Bahía de Banderas. We were hoping to slow down, or if possible, stop out-of-control construction and multi-national hotel chains from carelessly destroying the coastal landscape. Our efforts fell short when the community of San Pancho could only raise $49,000 pesos. 10,000 pesos were returned to the donors, although 39,000 has remained in a Lloyd's bank ever since. We are planning to close this account and transfer these funds to our general account where they can be better used to promote other similar activities.

Frank D. Smith
Director,
Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde, A.C
Mexico tel. (311) 258-4100
America Latina #102
San Francisco, Nayarit, Mexico

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By Lisa you can see how large this Leatherback is              El Maestro or Nico.


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