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Saving the evangelists with wings

September 7, 2018

A little devil is in danger.

By "little devil," we mean the Black-capped Petrel, a charming bird species that boasts sleek black wings and a white underbelly. The seabird lives off of seafood, spending most of the day soaring over the ocean in search of fish to feast on. At night, however it returns to the trees.

This bird is native to Hispaniola, where the Haitian and Dominican locals refer to it as diablotin– little devil.

It wasn’t very long ago, however, that people believed the Black-capped Petrel was extinct. In the 1960s, researchers discovered surviving birds in the Caribbean, to the delight of many bird enthusiasts and scientists. Unfortunately, the public did not prioritize conservation, and in the 2000s, it was estimated that only 1,000 or 2,000 of the birds remained.

One of the biggest testaments to God’s artistry and goodness is the presence of so many different species on the earth. For many people who are unable to read or hear Scripture, Creation is the most compelling testament to God’s presence in the universe. Every time a species goes extinct, another evangelist is lost.

That’s why Plant With Purpose applauds the work of those who diligently strive to protect different species. We look for opportunities to collaborate with them in instances where our missions intersect. In the process, we’ve made friends with a number of other organizations, including A Rocha, ECHO, and EPIC– Environmental Protection in the Caribbean.

The latter has particularly taken the plight of the Black-capped Petrel to heart.

Their goal is to educate the local population about the bird. EPIC highlights the fact that it is an iconic bird found only in the area. They’ve worked with the local population in order to create a healthy co-existence between the bird and the people living beneath the trees where it nests.

This can be a difficult undertaking. The bird struggles for survival, but so do the people of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. It isn’t easy to convince people to take care of a bird when they already struggle to survive.

That’s where trees and collaboration play a vital role.

One of the biggest threats to the species has been the destruction of its habitat. For people living in poverty, charcoal can be a short-term fix. Trees can be removed and turned into charcoal, but this has a number of ill-effects. Tree loss further depletes soil and reduces forest size.

Wilner, a trained Haitian agronomist is a member of Plant With Purpose Haiti's staff

Wilner, a trained Haitian agronomist is a member of Plant With Purpose Haiti's staff.

Ever since Plant With Purpose began working in Haiti, we have actively promoted the importance of trees.

Trees help bring nutrients back into the long-depleted soil, help protect water sources, and provide shade for crops below. They also help protect species that are in danger by preserving their habitat.

“We really need to deal with some of the things that are making people go into these areas to log trees,” explains EPIC’s founder Adam Brown.

"We realized that we’re not going to come in and change things quickly, so forging partnerships with humanitarian groups, who already have relationships in these villages is a great way to go.”

Plant With Purpose focuses on trees, agriculture, savings, and discipleship. These tools that serve all creation, and we continue to find further benefits. By being a Purpose Partner, you can help empower communities to discover how to conserve their resources. To learn more about how you can support, follow this link!


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