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Ventura Environmental Group Wins Awards, Media Attention

Local nonprofit organization Paso Pacifico is making a name as a global leader in wildlife conservation.

Paso Pacifico works with communities, landowners and partner organizations to restore and protect the habitats that form building blocks for wildlife corridors.

Headquartered in Ventura, it also has a team in Nicaragua, where much of its conservation work takes place.

One of Paso Pacifico's most noteworthy projects in recent years was the creation of a device called the InvestEGGator, which could help restore populations of endangered sea turtles.

The InvestEGGator decoy egg — designed for tracking international trade routes of turtle egg poachers in Central America with the help of GPS — has been in the news, but Paso Pacifico’s impact extends beyond fighting turtle poachers.

Some of its other initiatives include helping Nicaraguan women learn the business, management and technical skills needed to farm sustainable wild oysters; working with communities in Central American to protect the recently-endangered population of Yellow-naped Amazon parrots; and studying and increasing the population of black-handed spider monkeys.

Since creating the InvestEGGator decoy sea turtle eggs, the team at Paso Pacifico has working to perfect this tool that could be a game-changer in the fight to protect sea turtles. Their efforts are not going unnoticed.

Paso Pacifico was a prize winner in USAID’s Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge in January 2016.

After showing signs of progress developing and implementing the InvestEGGator decoy eggs, USAID awarded the nonprofit an Acceleration Prize in September 2017 to continue improving the production and distribution process for their wildlife crime solution.

Funds from the Acceleration Prize are being used to efficiently mass produce the InvestEGGator eggs and distribute them across nesting sites on Central American beaches.

It was also announced in December that Paso Pacifico was one of 111 organizations across 34 countries receive a grant from the National Geographic Society. This funding is awarded to help address the most critical issues facing the planet.

In addition to recent accolades, Paso Pacifico has had media attention from some internationally recognized companies and personalities.

PBS NewsHour aired an in-depth feature on the decoy egg initiative in January.

Award-winning correspondent John Yang visited Paso Pacifico conservationist and InvestEGGator creator Kim Williams-Guillen in Michigan where the decoy eggs were originally created, before heading to the beaches of Costa Rica to see firsthand how the GPS-filled eggs are planted in nests.

Also in January, wildlife conservationist and biologist Jeff Corwin joined the Paso Pacifico team as they monitored the activity of hawksbill turtles in Nicaragua. Corwin’s crew filmed the excursion for a future episode of his nature show Ocean Treks, which airs Saturdays on ABC.

The InvestEGGator eggs have also been featured by Fast Company, The Guardian and CNN’s Great Big Story video series.

“It is critical that we spread the word about our mission and our conservation programs, both internationally and here on the Central Coast,” said Sarah Otterstrom, Paso Pacifico founder and executive director.

“Our goal is to build on this momentum to create a strong support network that will enable us to continue finding new and innovative ways to protect and restore our environment,” she said.

To learn more about Paso Pacifico, visit

— Andy Silverman for Paso Pacifico.

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