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In ACAA’s first year, Audubon chapters raised more than $18,000. Through our state and national match grant system, ACAA raised more than $162,000. Our work is primarily focused on land acquisition and habitat restoration, but we also help with capacity building, skill-training, education, eco-tourism development, research and monitoring. Our first year’s fundraising efforts will be used to help with land purchases bordering Pico Bonito National Park and the Honduran Emerald Reserve, which is located in the buffer zone that surrounds the park. Some of this area has been seriously degraded and will require replanting of native tree species from a nursery established by our Honduran partners.
ACAA will be instrumental in helping Honduran conservationists establish a national-level workshop in Honduras for designating Important Bird Areas. Important Bird Areas identify areas vital to birds. Honduras is the last country in Central America to begin the IBA process. IBAs will help the people of Honduras focus their conservation efforts on the most important habitats for birds. Honduras has the highest percentage of natural forest habitat remaining in pristine condition, with about 46 percent of the predevelopment habitat left in Honduras.
ACAA also is creating a link between nature centers in Missouri and nature education centers in Honduras. This summer we hope to bring a naturalist from Honduras to attend a Conservation Department workshop, bringing our international partnership together. This collaboration will help foster an exchange between personnel and eventually technology for the children who live within the community of Pico Bonito.
ACAA is based on a leveraging concept of matching funds. Audubon chapters raise funds that are contributed to the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation. Funds are matched four times by partner agencies, nongovernmental agencies and foundations to further leverage. Once the funding targets are met in Missouri, they are transferred to national partners who double the funds through donations or a grant proposal to the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act. Ultimately an eightfold increase in funds will reach Pico Bonito National Park in Honduras. Or simply put, every $10 contributed to ACAA will become $80. Because of our system, the opportunity to make a difference is substantial.
Our long-term vision is to work within the Meso-American Biological Corridor, which is a 30-year landscape design effort underway throughout Central America. This forward-thinking plan is currently identifying important areas for wildlife and protecting those areas by creating