Every Day is EarthDay for Secas’ Conservation Manager
“It’s really important to explain the “why” and the “how” to our 100-strong workforce, to show them why we are preserving the archipelago and how their daily life decisions affect the island’s biodiversity.“
To celebrate this year’s EarthDay, we caught up with Beny Wilson, Conservation and Sustainability Manager at Islas Secas
Hi Beny! Tell us what you do here at Islas Secas.
I’m the Sustainability and Conservation Manager as well as Activities Manager. I oversee all conservation, restoration and sustainability efforts at the resort.
Have you always worked in conservation?
I worked as a tour guide in Panama for 26 years before coming to Islas Secas, guiding for Lindblad/National Geographic, Smithsonian Journeys, Classic Journeys and Holbrook Travel.
What are you responsible for?
My job is mainly about communication – that means telling our guests and team about all our sustainability efforts on the islands. It’s really important to explain the “why” and the “how” to our 100-strong workforce, to show them why we are preserving the archipelago and how their daily life decisions affect the island’s biodiversity. And then I also keep track of all the metrics related to sustainability: energy, waste, water usage, and conservation efforts.
Talk us through a typical day…
Coffee first! Then I double-check the boat departures, and that Terraza, our restaurant, has taken all the requests for snacks and beverages for that day’s outings. Sometimes I’ll get a call to capture and relocate a Robinson’s mouse opossum or a boa. At 11am we have a managers’ briefing, and depending on the tours for the day, I may go to Coiba Island National Park, take a hike on Cavada Island, or visit Pargo Island Beach. After 3pm, activities will resume so I’ll go snorkeling, birdwatching or on a sunset cruise. If the weather conditions are good, there’s stargazing at 7pm.
How can guests get involved in conservation?
This time of year, we offer a fantastic trip to visit the nearby Magnificent frigatebird colony. During whale-watching season, we head out to capture photos of the whale flukes to help the Panacetacea non-profit to identify different individuals and understand the population’s dynamics.
Why is conservation here so important?
Marine conservation at Islas Secas is vital since the Gulf of Chiriquí is home to the most diverse and largest coral reef communities in the eastern Pacific Ocean. And being in a remote and unique archipelago, preserving the ecosystems is crucial to preserving the experiences we provide.
What can we all do more to help at home on this Earth Day?
My main tip: check where the things you buy come from. Not just the distance, but also the environmental cost and social impact of your purchase. Our purchasing choices are powerful and can influence specific practices that help – or damage – the environment.