We’re certain you’ve noticed that Venezuela has been in the media spotlight worldwide for its ongoing political and economic crisis. Although this has created many challenges for the Red Siskin Initiative (RSI) team, we continue to make strong progress and we are optimistic for the future. These challenges have made us more resourceful, nimble and resolute. The situation has also provided an opportunity to emphasize the importance of conservation even under the most trying circumstances.

The Red Siskin Initiative (RSI) is a program that works to protect the Endangered Venezuelan Red Siskin (Cardenalito in Spanish), from the brink of extinction and aims to restore sustainable populations of the species in the wild. The main partners include Provita, a Venezuelan NGO and the Smithsonian Institution (USA).

This year the RSI built the first Red Siskin Conservation Center (RSCC) in Venezuela, a facility created to breed Red Siskins for research purposes and for future reintroductions in the wild. The next step for the RSCC is to implement outreach activities to engage adults and children, and the Conservation and Commerce training course has been an excellent opportunity to learn the “What, why and how” of our conservation message, that sometimes we fail to express properly in order to engage the target audiences. In this course, we learned and practiced lots of communications techniques and strategies that effectively improved the confidence and communicational skills of the participants. During the intensive training week, Adam (CREW Training, UK) and James (The Living Desert) continuously encouraged all the participants to share this knowledge with their co-workers at their organizations. And I am sure we are all thankful for that!