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Educational Programs


International Workshops

Run in conjunction with International Expeditions

Costa Rica - Veterinary Ecology and the Rainforest

This is an environmental education workshop offered in odd-numbered calendar years. Costa Rica is a land of unparalleled ecological diversity. The setting provides a unique learning experience that demonstrates first hand the links between ecological health and animal health. The health of any species ultimately depends on the ecological integrity of its environment. The theme of this educational program is to illuminate the links between rainforest ecology and veterinary medicine, so that we can understand why ecology and conservation are relevant to our everyday work as veterinarians. An understanding of the natural ecology and habitat of any species will lead to better design of in-situ conservation strategies, as well as better health and reproductive management of species in our homes, on our farms and in our zoos. To achieve this goal, AVE brings together animal health specialists with botanists and ecologists to give a broad picture of the animals in Costa Rica, their natural habitats, and the conditions needed to maintain healthy and viable populations. Continuing educational credits are available. For more information on this exciting educational experience, contact International Expeditions in Helena, Alabama at 800/633-4734 or link to their web site from here.

Belize - Reef Ecology and Aquatic Medicine

This is an environmental education workshop offered in even-numbered calendar years. There are few areas of the world that exceed the great diversity of flora and fauna found in Belize. Its oceans share this singular enchantment. Second only in size to the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, the Belize Barrier Reef is the longest unbroken living reef on Earth. Known worldwide for its pristine beauty and diversity of marine life, this great natural wonder provides both the skilled diver and the novice snorkeler a truly unique opportunity to experience the overwhelming beauty found underwater. Among the myriad of fish species that can be seen interacting with the coral and plant materials in the reef ecosystem are brightly colored wrasse, hamlets, angelfish and parrotfish. There is an unbelievable variety of both hard and soft corals in all shapes and sizes. Each time one enters this sea world, there are fresh surprises such as banded coral shrimp, manatees, sea turtles, octopus, sea anemones and seahorses. This international workshop examines the interconnections between and among reef creatures, mangrove forests and water quality, and explores how reef systems protect shorelines, provide shelter and rookeries for the ocean's breeding and nursing grounds, and contribute to animal health and well-being. Aquatic medicine specialists team together with marine mammal conservationists and marine ecologists to offer an unprecedented continuing educational experience.


Domestic Workshops

Community Team Building:
Environmental Team-Building in Your Own Community -
Getting Others Involved
Santa Fe, NM and Nashville, TN

In September, 1998, the Alliance of Veterinarians for the Environment sponsored a pilot community project in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Have you ever dreamed about what you might be able to accomplish in your own community outside your practice of veterinary medicine? For three days in September, a group of 25 people began taking the first few steps down a path to making a difference in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This Community Environmental Team-building Workshop, cosponsored by the Alliance of Veterinarians for the Environment (AVE), the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and the New Mexico State Land Office, brought together local citizens, including 6 veterinarians to undertake three small, but important steps in moving toward a better Santa Fe.

Our first task of the first afternoon? Dream out loud about what you would like your community to be like in September, 2048, 50 years into the future. Here were some of our wishes: horned lizards still living on our great grandchildrens' property; no traffic; bike paths; colorful migratory birds drinking clean water from the Rio Grande; schools integrated into their environs; sweet honeycomb from local beehives; a California condor scavenging a dead Mexican wolf; a butterfly in a wildflower blooming before our grandchildren's eyes; human population under control and sustainable; healthy families; family units more integrated with a great respect for life; and finally the best of nature and city together; people happy with the environment in which they live; where everyone has a purpose in and a responsibility toward their village/community.

The community group decided that it wished to address three major issue areas: I. Healthy Habitats; II. Planting and Water; and, III. Air Quality.

Since the workshop, this group has been working together, meeting monthly. Working cooperatively with city and county governments, we are compiling current mapping information available (Geographic Information System (GIS)) for the County of Santa Fe, relative to vegetation, animal species, water sources, and municipal improvements, to demonstrate where there are info gaps that need to be filled. We are working with a mayor domo (the local Hispanic watermaster) to help clean up and enhance a local acequia (historic irrigation ditch) right near the plaza in Santa Fe. We are working with an heir to water rights in this local acequia, so we can once again have flowing water. The water will flow to an acre of land, which we hope to lease at a negotiated rate of $1/year, and where we plan to construct a victory garden. There will be demonstration plots where we grow local fruits, nuts and vegetables, maintain an educational kiosk to teach about air and water quality and quantity, have wildlife and domestic animal viewing areas, and take our surplus foods to local homeless shelters. Once all the logistic/political forces are in line, our next step this coming spring will be to till and improve the soil, buy seed and begin planting one seed at a time, one step at a time for our community.

It is AVE's true belief that community projects such as this one in Santa Fe, outside the clinic/practice setting, but intimately tied to veterinary medicine, will be a great part of our profession's future.

If you do not dream, you cannot achieve.
Without dreams, no culture, no nation, and no individual can flourish.
Dreams are not the lifeless wishes of the lazy, or the idle pastime of the indifferent.
Dreams are the blueprints of the architecture of your life to come.
People who do not dream, falter and fail. People who learn how to dream, learn how to live.
[Shad Helmstetter Ph.D.]


| GOALS | ACTIVITIES | FACTS & CONCERNS | EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS |
| CAREER TOOLS | JOB OPENINGS | FACT SHEETS |
| AMPHIBIANS AS SENTINELS | CLIMATE AND HEALTH | NEWSLETTER EXCERPTS |
| ANNUAL REPORT | MEETING REPORT | MEMBERSHIP |
| RELATED SITES | HOME |

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