The Avi-Tourism Academy of Punta Cana was founded to promote bird watching in the Dominican Republic, and to train bilingual bird watching guides.
Founded by the Hispaniola Ornithological Society and the Punta Cana Ecological Foundation, the Academy is co-sponsored by The Nature Conservancy; the United States Agency for International Development (USAID); the US Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, and the Ministries of Tourism and the Environment of the Dominican Republic.
The Academy’s goal is to create a complementary offer for the international tourist, providing unique bird watching opportunities in the country, placing special emphasis on migratory birds. In addition, the Academy will train bilingual guides. Until now, some 15 guides have been properly trained by experts.
Bird watching is an important market. According to the American Bird Watching Society some $25 billion dollars are generated annually by this industry in trips, equipment and other related activities. Surprisingly, some 50 million Americans are birdwatchers. Other goal is to educate the local population in the Punta Cana region on the importance of birds as a natural resource. Also creating new sources of employment related to nature tourism and promoting a national and international conservation effort of threatened species, such as the Hispaniola Hawk.
The training program lasts six months, and consists of various workshops on the subject. It is aimed at all those interested in obtaining a broad knowledge of the subject matter and environmental interpreter.
Participants are trained on application of first aid techniques, fundamentals of environmental interpretation, planning, communications and group management, design of interpretative programs, National System of Protected Areas, biodiversity, geology, as well as cultural and other important elements. For more information, please contact Jbrocca@soh.org.do. Tel: 809 753 1388)