Binocular Diplomacy

Andean Condor, Ecuador's National Bird (Wikipedia Creative Commons photo)(Wikipedia, Creative Commons, Emilio de Prado)

The newest issue of the American Citizen Services newsletter out of the American Embassy in Quito, Ecuador is available. The lead article was a bit of a surprise. It highlights Ambassador Heather Hodges personal hobby — birding.

Ecuador is, of course, one of the best birding locations in the world with about 1,600 different species recorded there. I can personally vouch for the beauty of the mountains and the friendliness of all the people I met when I spent a week birding there.

Many people know and truly appreciate that birding is an excellent way to learn about a place, its landscape, infrastructure, ecology, and its people. Ambassador Hodges combines both work and pleasure when she goes birding and that is clearly her intent.

The Ambassador’s birding knowledge and her growing
interest in biodiversity and wildlife conservation have
made her welcome in Ecuador’s active environment and conservation circles. In late 2010, she brought together federal and municipal government officials, non-governmental organizations and private foundations to jointly work to secure land for a new national wildlife reserve that will help protect watersheds and rare bird species, including Ecuador’s national bird, the Andean Condor

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