SONATI: Promoting Environmental Responsibility
With non-profit environmentally-friendly hostels in both León and Estelí, SONATI offers visitors the opportunity enjoy a clean and tranquil setting in the heart of these popular Nicaraguan destinations, knowing that all profits from the hostels are used to finance SONATI’s free environmental programs. SONATI is a non-profit organization that believes that everyone can make a difference, and they promote this philosophy through education projects, volunteer programs, eco-tours and the León and Estelí hostels where like-minded eco-tourists gather to enjoy the natural beauty of Nicaragua.
The primary objective of SONATI environmental education is to raise awareness regarding the role that each person can play in the preservation of the environment. This is achieved through a range of activities tailor-made to suit various age groups, with children as young as three-years-old in kindergarten getting the message that the environment is precious. Guided outdoor activities for school children include visits to the León zoo where endangered and rare animals can be viewed while discussing the negative impact illegal wildlife trade has on the environment, and the long-term implications this has for Nicaragua’s biodiversity. A walk along the river on the city’s outskirts opens up opportunities for students to learn about birds found in urban-rural habitats, and a separate excursion focuses on plants found in the ecosystems in and around León. Discovering the fascinating world of insects is the objective of one of the environmental education excursions, with students visiting the entomology museum in León, while an adventure through the mangrove swamp allows students to learn about a range of mangrove species. Nine and ten-year-old children can join the environmental leadership course, which lasts for seven years, during which time children will learn all about the environment, being motivated to become the environmental leaders of the future – all at no cost to the student.
Activities to raise awareness of personal responsibility for the environment in rural communities include the topics of natural resources, composting and organic gardening, renewable energy, local flora and fauna, and volcanism.
Established in León by Israeli Arnon “Nony” Dattner in 2009, SONATI is making great strides in achieving its mission to “encourage environmental stewardship and preservation, and to promote responsible environmental projects through education programs, community outreach and self-sustaining resources.”