Young Eyes on Living Treasures: Thanks to the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico, Children of All Ages Are Learning to Preserve and Manage the Island's Rich Natural Resources

By Murphy-Larronde, Suzanne | Americas (English Edition), July-August 2003 | Go to article overview

Young Eyes on Living Treasures: Thanks to the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico, Children of All Ages Are Learning to Preserve and Manage the Island's Rich Natural Resources


Murphy-Larronde, Suzanne, Americas (English Edition)


With a nod from the guard station attendant, a bright yellow bus pulls into Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve on the northeastern tip of Puerto Rico and, in a ritual repeated hundreds of times each year, a battalion of youngsters in crisp primary school uniforms spills into the parking lot under the watchful eye of teachers and parent volunteers. Two by two they pass beneath the spreading limbs of an ancient ceiba and head for the nineteenth-century-style reception center, where the wraparound veranda is shaded by palm, wild tamarind, and almond trees.

On hand to greet the new arrivals is a young woman dressed in the distinctive khaki shirt and blue jeans of the park interpreter. Following a brief introduction, she waves the students onto a motorized trolley and with a lurch they are off on their journey of discovery into the wonders of the natural world. At their first stop, the young visitors stroll a sun-bleached boardwalk that loops through dense forests of mangrove, discussing as they go each of the four distinctive varieties and their importance to humans. Along the way, they spot dragonflies, bees, and a yellow warbler perched atop a hurricane-damaged tree. They gawk as tiny fiddler crabs strut across parched tidal fiats and inspect the clear, brackish waters of Laguna Grande, a rare, bio-luminescent lagoon filled with microorganisms that glow in the dark.

At Los Lirios, an inhospitable cove whose rough coastal waters shelter green turtles and manatees, the children are let loose to explore a beach littered with polished river rocks, coral remnants, and seashells that they press eagerly to their ears for echoes of the sea. Poised on a breezy promontory above three distinctive headlands, or cabezas, that jut dramatically into the Atlantic Ocean, El Faro is the itinerary's final destination.

In operation since 1882, Puerto Rico's second oldest lighthouse is still an important landmark for sailors who navigate the treacherous offshore reefs below, and its beacon can be spotted for up to thirty miles. Inside the gray and white neoclassic structure, students learn about its history and tour marine exhibits that include a popular petting zoo. Later they climb the French-designed, black spiral staircase to a rooftop observation deck, where unfettered views unfold across the 316-acre reserve--to the east, the islands of Vieques, Culebra, St. Thomas, and Tortola and to the northwest, the Sierra de Luquillo and the Caribbean National Forest, known as El Yunque.

The two-hour excursion, which visits five of the reserve's seven ecosystems and historic El Faro lighthouse, creates a powerful impression on many of the fifty thousand adults, teens, and children who make the trek to Las Cabezas each year. "I think I'd like to be a nature interpreter when I grow up," proclaims one youngster flush from her close encounters with the flora and fauna of this, one of the Puerto Rico's most pristine coastal regions.

Indeed, her interest in the environment may blossom, one day leading to a career in wildlife management or marine biology, but there is a more fundamental and ambitious goal behind these guided nature forays, according to Las Cabezas guide Arlyn Fuentes. "Ours is essentially a message of discovery and commitment to the environment. We want to open people's eyes to the beauty and fragility of our natural resources and to their value for us as human beings," she explains. "If we can also help them to understand that these resources belong to all of us, then maybe they will be motivated to take care of them."

A tranquil, breeze-swept outpost in a sea of seamless development that stretches eastward along the island's north coast from booming San Juan to the town of Fajardo, Las Cabezas was itself scheduled for its own dramatic transformation from privately owned agricultural and grazing acreage to major resort complex in the late 1960s. Instead, in 1975, after years of rallying by environmentally minded islanders, the Puerto Rico Planning Commission awarded rights of purchase to the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico or Fideicomiso de Conservacion de Puerto Rico, a fledgling group created five years earlier by the governments of Puerto Rico and the United States. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Young Eyes on Living Treasures: Thanks to the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico, Children of All Ages Are Learning to Preserve and Manage the Island's Rich Natural Resources
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.