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Train Nature Guides in Central America, Change Lives

Two years ago, with no international experience and a college diploma still wet with ink, Noreen Cornoni traveled to Honduras to become a nature guide trainer in an innovative alliance between WorldTeach, a Harvard-based volunteer teaching organization, and RARE Center, a nonprofit conservation organization based in Arlington, Virginia, which specializes in promoting ecotourism as a tool for conservation and community development.

The guide training course is an intensive 3-month experience where teachers and students (local guides from select protected areas) eat, live, and study together in remote natural areas. The volunteers teach a variety of subjects, including English, ntaural and cultural history, conservation, and tour planning. Volunteers sepnd a total of six months in-country.

To date, RARE Center has trained nearly 200 local guides in Costa Rica, the Baja and Yucatan Peninsulas in Mexico, the Mexican state of Chiapas, and Honduras through 13 different guide training programs. This year, RARE and WorldTeach will hold guide training programs in South Africa, Honduras, and Guatemala.

The course is famous for changing the lives of students and teachers alike. Noreen Cornoni returned to New York City to teach in Spanish Harlem and study for a master’s in environmental education. Three of the four participants in her group are now working in environmental areas.

Contact: WorldTeach, One Brattle Square, Suite 550, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA. Tel./Fax: 857.259.6646 ext. 201/857.259.6638; Learn more about the RARE Center by visiting

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