CIMAC (Centro de Iniciativa Medio Ambiental de la Ciudad) is a municipal centre with an attractive educational park, offering environmental education within the centre and as part of outreach programs. Internships and volunteering are possible in many areas of biology, ecology and environmental education.
CIMAC's programs include:
Environmental education and campaigning
At the CIMAC centre and location such as schools, community centres, and events, activities are arranged which primarily deal with the topics of solid wastes and the conservation of the Nicaraguan biodiversity. This is done as chats, workshops, demonstrations etc., but also includes theatre performances, murals, arts exhibitions etc. A highlight every year is the participation in the "Feria nacional de la Tierra" in June.
Educational park at Rio Chiquito
At CIMAC's main location near the river "Rio Chiquio" CIMAC has recreated the four ecosystems of Nicaragua on a relativel small piece of land. There is a 40 minutes educational trail where visitors can discover the characteristic flora and fauna of Nicaragua's 4 main ecosystems.
These are: Tropical rain forest, as found in the eastern provinces and on the Mombacho volcano, tropical dry forest as found in the Pacific zone, but which has largely disappeared due to the expansion of agriculture), river banks (which due to deforestation have also widely disappeared), and the transitional zone with crops and fruit trees.
Apart from the trail through the various ecosystems, the centre has a library, where children and students can learn about nature and biology. Also, a conference room is available for showing educational videos and workshops. CIMAC is planning to build a sales kiosk offering natural food items such as juices and joghurts produced by local communities. Further there are some pools where local fish can be kept to make a visit at CIMAC even more popular for children.
The aim of the centre is to make children, youth, families and tourists aware of the beauty of Nicaragua and the value of conserving its natural diversity, which unfortunately is vanishing in a fast pace. In fact, the current situation of the Nicaraguan flora and fauna is not very positive: even though there are lots of natural reserves, laws are not respected. Deforestation is a serious problem which has the result of soil erosion and the loss of species such as the jaguar.
The project was started in the 1990's when the municipal government decided to clean up the whole Río Chiquita area, collaborating with the local people and the leather industries that polluted the river and its environment. The CIMAC project surged as an outcome of this project. Nowadays, unfortunately, the rest of the area is still polluted, leaving the CIMAC educational park as kind of green oasis within the city. One of the most prominent donors of the project is the Spanish city of Zaragoza, which has a city partnership with León.
Research about biology, ecology, orneothology
At several locations such as Rio Chiquito, Reserva del Tisey and Ruta del Café, CIMAC regularly does an inventory of plant and animal species. Species need to be identified and quantified to update the existing database of biodiversity.
Possible activities for interns and volunteers are to organize and carry out workshops and presentations for school children about any related topics. This might also include activities such as handcrafts (e.g. making accessories from seeds, recycling paper) or playing theater.
The preparation of educational materials is another topic for volunteers and interns, both in terms of content-creation and design, as well as updating and expanding the website of CIMAC. This is possible in Spanish and English; also suitable for instance for a graphic designer.
Volunteers and interns can guide foreign visitors through the educational trail in English language and other foreign languages, participate in the improvements/additions at CIMAC which have been described before, and they can participate at the inventory of species.
CIMAC is also open to assist students carrying out any related research projects.
Location: León, Nicaragua
Availability: All year, Start date flexible
Minimum Duration: 1 Months
Maximum Duration: 12 Months
Language Requirements: Basic Spanish
Room with Host Family, Shared Accommodation
Supervision Possible: Yes
Qualification Of Supervisor: Biologist, Ecologist, Educator
Minimum Qualification Of Intern:
Further Contribution To Project: None
Volunteering Possible: Yes
Required Qualification For Volunteer: None
Further Contribution To Project: None
Professional Conduct, Do you have the "right" attitude?