Yokoyama presents free ebook at BirdsCaribbean meeting

POSTED: 08/12/15 3:50 PM


Mark Yokoyama with BirdsCaribbean Executive Director Dr. Lisa Sorenson. Photo Leno Davis

Kingston, Jamaica—Every two years, bird educators, scientists and conservationists from throughout the Caribbean and beyond gather for the BirdsCaribbean’s International Meeting. At this year’s meeting in Kingston, Jamaica, over 200 international delegates from 33 countries/islands gathered to share the latest in Caribbean bird science, conservation and education. Representing St. Martin, Les Fruits de Mer co-founder Mark Yokoyama facilitated two media-related workshops and released a free ebook, Look Sharp! Promote Your Organization with Great Photography.

Birds – Connecting Communities and Conservation was the theme for the meeting, and the event photography workshop presented by Mark Yokoyama focused on forging that emotional connection through the power of great images. Michaela Roberts of Echo Bonaire found the workshop “very dynamic, fun and informative” and Leno Davis commended the hands-on portion as excellent, delivering “instant results.” Deanna Albert from the University of the West Indies commented that it was “good to know how to make non-governmental organizations visually appealing to the public—locally, regionally and internationally.”

The conference opened with Jamaica Day—A Celebration of Jamaica’s Unique and Wonderful Birds which included a dozen presentations about Jamaica’s birds, from the latest research in tracking Jamaican seabird populations to the role of birds in pest control on Blue Mountain coffee farms. The extended look at Jamaica’s birds also included reports on the launch of the Caribbean Birding Trail program in Jamaica and Jamaica’s historical contribution to ornithology.

“This year was the perfect time to bring the BirdsCaribbean meeting back to Jamaica,” noted BirdsCaribbean President Leo Douglas. “The Blue and John Crow mountains were named a Unesco World Heritage Site just weeks before the meeting, while the Goat Islands and Portland Bight Protected Area are currently facing the threat of development. At this moment Jamaica is in the spotlight, representing both the irreplaceable value of Caribbean natural heritage and its vulnerability.”

The rediscovery of the Black-capped Petrel on the island of Dominica was another highlight presented during the meeting. A team of scientists from St. Maarten-based Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (Epic) and Dominica’s Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries were able to record almost 1,000 of this elusive bird using radar and night vision scopes. The last confirmed nesting date for this species in Dominica was in 1862.

In addition to over 120 presentations, workshops and panel discussions, the delegates enjoyed a variety of field trips to explore Jamaica’s wilderness areas first-hand. Conference trips visited Hope Gardens, Goat Islands, Cockpit Country, Portland Bight Protected Area, and the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park, amongst other destinations. Many participants were particularly eager to catch a glimpse of some of the 29 bird species endemic to Jamaica that can be seen nowhere else in the world.

The event photography ebook is available for download on the websites of both BirdsCaribbean and Les Fruits de Mer. The free, 26-page book draws from experience working with many talented photographers on St. Martin as well as advice from local journalists and media experts about how to use photography to promote non-profit events and activities.

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