Puerto Rico Chapter Marks Milestones, Looks Ahead
The Sierra Club's Puerto Rico Chapter celebrated two milestones at its Annual Assembly in late January: its 1,000th member and its fourth anniversary as a chapter. Above, chapter leaders at the Assembly.
"We started laying the groundwork six years ago," says chapter organizer Camilla Feibelman, "and in 2005 the Club's board of directors came to Puerto Rico to approve us as the organization's first Spanish-speaking chapter. We started with just a couple dozen members, but since then we've gained a thousand more through outings, chats, and conservation campaigns."
Below, Chapter Outing leader Evalexa Tomei staffs a booth at the Assembly...
...and Chapter Chair Angel Sosa presents Jose Sesman with a volunteer merit award, below left. Below right, Chapter Conservation Chair Victor Marcial Vega tickles the ivories.
The Chapter's biggest success to date was helping block two mega-resorts proposed by the Marriott and Four Seasons corporations in the Northeast Ecological Corridor, below, nesting ground for the endangered leatherback sea turtle. With bipartisan support, in October 2007 Governor Anibal Acevedo Vila signed an executive order designating more than 3,200 acres of the Corridor as a nature reserve.
Below, a Sierra Club outing to el Yunque, immediately adjacent to the Corridor, and the only rainforest in U.S. Forest Service jurisdiction.
Feibelman cautions that Puerto Rico's new governor has not yet made his position clear on managing the Corridor. "We're trying to get the management and land use plan approved by the planning board so we can begin developing the Corridor as an ecotourism destination and the adjacent towns as gateway communities," she says. "We hope the new governor will lead the way."
In reaching the 1,000-member mark, Feibelman gives a special shout out to chapter volunteer leaders Angel Sosa, Evalexa Tomei, Nayda Diaz, Alberto Perdomo, Alin Blanchet, Victor Marcial Vega, Francisco Perez, Eva Perez, Jose Menendez, Ana Elisa Perez, Eva Luz Menendez, Jennifer Robles, Kristal Ibarra, Lisette Alvirio, Adriana Gonzalez, and Igri Rosado.
All photos by F. Claudio, except photos of Northeast Ecological Corridor and el Yunque rainforest.