Yupukari Wildlife Club awarded 2011 Disney grant

From Guyana Times 27 May, 2011

Yupukari Butterfly Farm to benefit


By Venessa Deosaran


University of Guyana team with a Black Caiman

Rupukari Wildlife Club was awarded a 2011 Disney Friends for Change grant to support its efforts towards the development of a community butterfly farm in the village. The grant was awarded via a proposal that was written and submitted by Yupukari Wildlife Club members Harnaman Dorrick, Rosita Roberts and Shamir Khan, with the assistance of a volunteer from Rupununi Learners Incorporated. Funds acquired from the Disney Friends for Change grant were used to support activities related to Global Youth Service Day (GYSD), which took place in Yupukari Village.

Disney, along with Youth Service America, provides Disney Friends for Change grants to fund youth-led service projects that focus on making environmentally friendly changes and engage youth on Global Youth Service Day, which is from April 15 to 17. The Disney Friends for Change program awards U.S.$500 grants to youth-led service projects around the world that demonstrate youth leadership, creativity, and the commitment to making a positive impact on the environment.

The Yupukari Wildlife Club saw GYSD as an opportunity to really launch the butterfly farm project as something that is valued and owned by the community. After receiving grant funds, wildlife club members travelled to Lethem to collect materials and supplies for various projects, with support of the village tractor. GYSD activities began on Thursday, April 14, when representatives from Iwokrama Centre for Rainforest Development travelled to Yupukari to help the wildlife club to construct a flight enclosure for adult butterflies on the grounds of Caiman House Research Station, adjacent to the already existing box enclosure that was previously set up to house butterfly eggs, larvae and pupae.

GYSD in Yupukari continued Saturday April 16, when the Wildlife Club engaged the larger community in a workday in the butterfly habitat garden, planting plants that local butterflies prefer to feed on and lay their eggs. Events continued on Wednesday, April 20 and 27 with educational outreach on butterfly biology, ecology and conservation through the Yupukari Public Library and supported by Caiman House Research Station. GYSD events concluded on Thursday, May 5, with a large community event that involved a habitat garden workday and the installation of the butterfly farm’s new water source, a 500-gallon water tank connected to the village water source with PVC pipes also supplied through the grant. The cumulative effort of this series of events engaged a total of about 75 people of all ages from the community in activities that both supported local wildlife and general community development.


Caiman House Guest House

The Yupukari Butterfly Farm project was inspired by a visit to the Iwokrama Butterfly Farm in Fairview Village by members of the Yupukari Wildlife Club, and Iwokrama staffers Hemchandranauth Sambhu, Samantha James and Russian Dorrick have been instrumental in supporting the community-based effort to support butterflies in Yupukari. Like the Iwokrama Butterfly Farm before it, Yupukari Butterfly Farm is being established in an effort to both provide habitat for local species and improve the livelihoods of village residents through tourism enterprise and partnerships with Iwokrama Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development.

The butterfly farm in Yupukari currently consists of a 1/4-acre butterfly habitat garden, the land which was donated by the Yupukari Village council; a box shelf system for protecting and keeping butterfly eggs, larvae and pupae, and a free flight breeding enclosure for adult butterflies. The supplies and construction for both the box shelves and flight cage were provided by Iwokrama and supported by Caiman House. The butterfly breeding project and butterfly habitat garden will continue to serve as learning centres for students at Yupukari School and Public Library, as well as an ongoing project supported by Yupukari Wildlife Club and Caiman House Research Station. GYSD’s contribution to this project helped to raise awareness of the Yupukari Butterfly Farm and bring the community together to support local wildlife, as well as the learning and development of its children. With the value added to the community by the contributions of GYSD, RLI fully expects this project to persist as an important aspect of their community into the future. (Taken from Guyana Times Sunday Magazine)