Mapfre honors PR Conservation Trust
The award was presented by Spain’s Queen Sofia to Conservation Trust chief Fernado Lloveras during the Mapfre Foundation’s Social Awards ceremony in Madrid on Thursday.
Operating as a private, nonprofit organization, the Conservation Trust manages a number of the island’s environmentally sensitive areas, while promoting the concepts of conservation to schools and the general public through volunteer programs, reforestation projects and various community workshops and events. In this way, the Conservation Trust works towards its goal of protecting and enhancing the precious natural resources of Puerto Rico.
Since 2006, the Conservation Trust Light Pollution Task Force and the U.S. forest Service have been working together to implement a light pollution management strategic plan for the bioluminescent lagoon at Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve in Fajardo. The task force and management plan aim to protect local economic revenues derived from tourists visiting these globally unique locations.
The importance of preserving dark skies and the nighttime environment has recently become a focal point of researchers studying the impacts of light pollution in Puerto Rico. It is estimated that Puerto Rico spends over $3.7 billion annually on electricity for its roughly 3.7 million residents.
The excessive sky glow resulting from artificial illumination is the main cause of light pollution for the island. Not only does light pollution makes it more difficult to see the stars, it also adversely impacts sensitive nocturnal species and increases energy costs and carbon emissions. Expansion of the San Juan metro area and other urban corridors is encroaching on upland and protected areas, causing a marked decrease in night sky quality.
Queen Sophia also presented Mapfre awards to projects in Guatemala and Brazil and to a Spanish physician.
The awards, each of which comes with a $39,000 prize, are presented annually to recognize people or institutions pursuing outstanding activities to benefit society.
The judging panel awarded another of the prizes to Guatemala’s FUDI foundation for comprehensive development. FUDI director Gloria Buc said the recognition will allow it to help more women in extreme poverty.
Another prize was presented to the Brazilian entity Criança Segura Kids Brasil for its training campaign to prevent children in the South American country from becoming involved in traffic accidents.
The José Manuel Martínez Prize for lifetime achievement was bestowed upon Spanish physician Pedro Guillen García, who was responsible for introducing arthroscopy in Spain.
The Mapfre Foundation is an institution sponsored by the Spanish insurance group Mapfre. The foundation’s aim is to contribute to achieving objectives of general interest to society. It was established in 1975.