Meet the Eco-Guardians

June 11, 2019

Meet the young Eco-Guardians learning about jaguars and sharing their boundless enthusiasm with the local community. We have been getting kids outdoors with nature walks, river cleanups, tree plantings, hands-on camera trainings, and public art projects.

It feels like all of those activities were leading up to this past weekend when…

We took the first group of these kids camping.

Can you imagine being 12 years old and going on your first-ever camping experience on the Northern Jaguar Reserve?!

Even though these youngsters live in the nearest town, the reserve is difficult to reach. The Eco-Guardians played games as we traveled the long, bumpy road. And when we finally arrived, a whole new world opened up.

During the heat of the afternoon, they sat in the shade and made friendship bracelets.

At dusk, they went birding and saw trogons, flycatchers, gnatcatchers, hawks, and orioles. 

In the cool evening hours, they made s’mores around the campfire.

Hours after dark, under a blanket of stars, they went for a hike to set up motion-triggered cameras and discover what animals were nearby.

Seeing the reserve through the kids’ eyes was pure sweetness. They were full of a contagious sense of wonder and amazement. Their laughter was genuine and constant, overflowing with joy to be in this spectacular place.

You can see them come to life on the reserve in the video above.

These kiddos formed bonds of friendship, developed a love for nature, and were filled with life-defining moments. There is nothing like spending a night out in the wild to feel the excitement of being in a place where jaguars roam.

Hundreds of students participate in our Eco-Guardian club, and we hope this will be the first of many such outings. All of the Eco-Guardians have deep family ties within this community, a place where residents young and old are learning to embrace the jaguar as a friend and neighbor.

Happy World Jaguar Day!

Special thanks to all of our supporters for making these activities possible, to the Arizona Trail Association’s Seeds of Stewardship program for the gear loan, and to Optics for the Tropics for donating binoculars for just this kind of event. Some of these kids were born to be birders.