How candles protect the Resplendent Quetzal
The Resplendent Quetzal is considered to be one of the most beautiful birds in the Western Hemisphere. It’s bristly green crest, iridescent emerald feathers, red-plumed breast and dazzling two-foot long tail feathers of the males charm more than just the females of the species. Once prevalent to the whole of Central America, the highest concentrations of quetzals (the national bird of Guatemala) today live in the cloud forests of Alta Verapaz.
The quetzals have a symbiotic relationship with the Aquacatillo trees of the cloud forests. After eating these wild avocados, the quetzals regurgitate the seed, in turn seeing more Aquacatillo tress, the largest of its kind in the cloud forest.
So how can candles protect the Resplendent Quetzal?
Historically, areas of the cloud forest have been cleared to make way for farmland and firewood, threatening the natural habitat of the Quetzal. In 1994 a project known as EcoQuetzal was started, looking at ways to conserve and protect primary forests in the area known as Alta Verapaz (cloud forests and rain forests). One project that has since been developed has been to work with the Q’eqchi people to harvest the arrayan seeds from the cloud forest and produce a wax that can be used to make candles. The candles are 100% organic, use no paraffin and give off no chemical aromas. Instead of cutting down trees, the Q’eqchi people can make more money by conserving or replanting them to harvest the arrayan seeds for wax.
These candles are known as Luz del Bosque and are made by the indigenous Mayan people to benefit their community, helping them to progress from agricutural subsistence-living to value-added activities. Profits go to develop other programs and intiatives (such as community-lead ecotourism and alternative agriculture) to preserve the culture and improve the quality of life for indigenous communities.
We took delivery of our first batch of candles last week direct from EcoQuetzal in Guatamala, and they are beautiful. We have them on display in Global Fayre already, and plan to retail them online as well, starting in a few weeks. Come in the store or check with the website for more details.