The key to the real success of any conservation initiative is community involvement, and one of the main goals of the recent project with Biocomercio and GIZ is exactly this. Multi-faceted training courses based at Cabañas San Isidro involve not only the employees of the lodge, but also anybody interested from the surrounding communities and towns.
By hiring professionals such as chefs, bilingual naturalist and birding guides, artisans, the participants have the opportunity to learn from the best in their fields, giving them eco-friendly, alternative ways of making a living. Some of Ecuador's best-known local guides have greatly benefited from such efforts in recent years, and an entrepreneurial group of ladies from Cosanga have already started producing jams and other jarred products that they have started to sell locally.
Classes based on using recyclable materials artistically have already taught the locals techniques how to produce cheap and quality, sellable items.
It is our hope that these projects will work in symphony and offer important tools that increase the overall awareness level with respect to the need for conservation in the zone, as well as raise the living and service standards of the locals. At Cabañas San Isidro, there has already been a noticeable and fresh change in the all of these areas.