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Front Page - Friday, May 10, 2019

Tennessee River Gorge Trust, La Paz partner on exchange

La Paz Chattanooga and the Tennessee River Gorge Trust have partnered for a yearlong cultural and scientific exchange made possible by the Lyndhurst Foundation.

Last summer, after geolocator research discovered that regional birds migrated between Chattanooga and the Petén region in Guatemala, two team members from each organization traveled to Petén.

There, they met with locals and began an educational and cultural program connecting students, researchers, educators and bird enthusiasts from the two communities.

In April, the River Gorge Trust brought three Guatemalan partners from Petén to Chattanooga. Local school groups were connected with students in Guatemala, and through this visit both organizations continued the exchange and dialogue between the two cultures.

The River Gorge Trust, La Paz Chattanooga and Guatemalan partners connected with more than 488 Chattanoogans.

“This would be just another science project if it were not for our partnership with La Paz,” says Rick Huffines, executive director of the River Gorge Trust. “They connected our science to human beings and helped us learn about the people in Guatemala and the Guatemalans that live here in Chattanooga.

“We are stronger when we know each other and begin to see the value that each of us brings to humanity.”

The local cultural exchange included visits to Eastside Elementary, Bright School, Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences, Normal Park, Girls Preparatory School, McCallie, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Sewanee: The University of the South.

The River Gorge Trust also welcomed the visitors to their work sites and traveled to the Cherokee National Forest, Sewanee and the Smoky National Park to learn about the local habitat.

“As Chattanooga becomes more international, our partnership with the Tennessee River Gorge Trust has allowed us to show how we are all interconnected,” says Vivian Lozano Sterchi, director of social impact at La Paz Chattanooga. “Not only can we connect with other cultures through food, music and language, but through birds that migrate thousands of miles between our two countries.”

Source: La Paz