Guatemalan Wildlife

In February 2023, humanitarian charity buildOn sent a team including 7 mothers and 9 youth volunteers from California, accompanied by buildOn staff to rural Guatemala to help build a school.

As part of Drawing for the Planet's partnership with buildOn, the volunteer team took our drawing kits, including natural grass ballpoint pens kindly donated by agood Company, to Guatemala for children to draw Guatemalan wildlife. The team included Drawing for the Planet (DftP) Treasurer, Kirsten Rogers and youth volunteers Rosie, Mia and Yasmeen 


Image courtesy of buildOn: children in Sector Los Cimientos old school

buildOn believes that the best way to eradicate poverty is to ensure that all people have access to a quality education. The charity partners with rural communities in developing countries, empowering local residents to build schools, enroll out-of-school children, and educate adult learners.

Volunteers apply from across the world and offer their skills, time and dedication to help build schools in buildOn's partner countries. The Guatemalan mission visited a rural village, Sector Los Cimientos, to help the local community lay the foundations of a school.

Image courtesty of buildOn: buildOn volunteers, Guatemala mission.

Residents from the village welcomed the buildOn team into their homes during the mission. Kirsten Rogers, a dentist from the UK, delivered a dental hygiene workshop—and the villagers taught the buildOn team weaving and other skills. As well as donating eco-friendly natural grass ballpoint pens for our drawing kits, agood Company donated eco-friendly toothbrushes for the local community.

Images courtesty of buildOn: DftP volunteers Kirsten and Rosie; dental hygene and weaving workshops

During the buildOn mission, the villagers and the buildOn team worked tirelessly to lay the foundations of the school. Women from the community continued to play an integral role in the project, learning about construction and making the framework. 

Images courtesty of buildOn: Sector Los Cimientos community and buildOn team digging the school foundations; children and adults painting the new school

The school was completed by the local community and now supports sixty-five children. buildOn said:

"The students in Sector Los Cimientos love their new classrooms and improved learning conditions! Community leaders and buildOn staff will be looking to identify any out-of-school children in Sector Los Cimientos so that they can be enrolled in classes. These children will be among over 159,000 out-of-school-children that buildOn and the Education Above All Foundation will be partnering to enroll over the next six years." 

Image courtesty of buildOn: children attending the new school

buildOn continued:

"A Project Leadership Committee consisting of six men and six women from Sector Los Cimientos was selected to oversee the school build. These incredible leaders not only helped to collect supplies; they also organized crews to volunteer on the worksite each day. By the end of the project, the men and women of Sector Los Cimientos had proudly contributed 649 volunteer work days to the building of their new school!"

Image courtesty of buildOn: Sector Los Cimientos community at the new school

Clemente Reyes Garcia, President of Sector Los Cimientos’ Community Councils of Urban and Rural Development said:

"Not only did [buildOn] donate funds, but they also came to help and saw where it was invested. I have no words to thank them, they do not know how much they helped."



DftP flyer page one

The aim of the Guatemalan Wildlife project was to provide the Sector Los Cimientos community with the opportunity to celebrate the beauty of Guatemalan wildlife, and transport their minds, through drawing. The project raises global awareness of vulnerable Guatemalan species and fulfils DftP’s mission to reach communities across the globe with the gift of art, education and nature.

Jane designed a double-sided flyer featuring images of Guatemalan wildlife including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. This could be easily transported to Guatemala and distributed to the community by the buildOn team and, since the team was so busy, had the advantage of needing minimal explanation. Jane said:

"By giving the children the flyer and a pen to keep, I hoped to inspire them to draw—not only during the workshop but also afterwards." 

DftP flyer page two

The aim of all DftP projects is to highlight the unique beauty of local wildlife while raising awareness of vulnerable species. We encourage participants, through drawing and education, to make emotional connections with the species they study: if we care we want to conserve. Jane said:

"I spent a few days researching Guatemalan species, particularly those sadly threatened with extinction, and selected animals that would be exciting for the children to draw but also raise awareness vulnerable species including the critically endangered yellow-naped Amazon." 

Image courtesy of buildOn

DftP volunteers and the buildOn team delivered a drawing workshop in the old school which was attended by children and adults from the community. The buildOn team also created drawings for the project.

If you would like to participate in the project, please click on the animal images above to download our flyer, then:

  1. Choose one of the animals to draw
  2. Make a drawing of the animal as large as possible on one sheet of paper
  3. TELL your friends and family about the amazing animal you drew
N.B. We print on recycled paper and use natural grass pens donated by agood company.


    Image: Jaguar Photo 22392270 | Jaguar © Palko72 |

    Guatemala's diverse landscapes of rainforests, mountains and beaches provide habitats for many iconic species including the red-eyed tree frog and the jaguar. Many species, such as the critically endangered yellow-naped Amazon, are threatened with extinction. Explore Guatemalan wildlife through drawings created by Guatemalan children and adults:



    Tapirus bairdii
    Conservation Status: ENDANGERED (IUCN Red List)
    Population: population trend DECREASING
    Drawing: Juan Carlos

    Animal Diversity/Baird's Tapir:

    "Historically, Baird’s tapirs ranged from southeastern Mexico through northern Colombia to the Gulf of Guayaquil in Ecuador. Today they are found in isolated populations in the same range. They are considered extinct in El Salvador. Baird’s tapirs are the largest native terrestrial mammals in the Neotropics and the largest of the four living tapir species. About the size of small donkeys, Baird’s tapirs typically weigh between 150 to 300 kilograms. They are dark brown to reddish brown above and paler below with white fringes around their large ears, white lips, and sometimes a white patch on the throat and chest. Their fur is bristly and “piglike..." Read the complete description: 


    Myrmecophaga tridactyla
    Conservation Status: VULNERABLE (IUCN Red List)
    Population: population trend DECREASING
    Drawing: UNKNOWN

    World Land Trust/Giant Anteater:

    "The Giant Anteater, as its name suggests, is the largest of the 4 species of anteaters and can weigh up to 23 kg (50 lb) and can measure up to 240 cm in overall length. All anteaters are insectivorous and Giant Anteaters have a long tube-shaped nose, with a tiny mouth and a long, sticky tongue. They use their strong front claws to open termite hills and also for defence; when walking their claws are tucked under and they walk on their knuckles." Read the complete description here:


    Dasypus novemcinctus
    Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
    Population: population trend STABLE
    Drawing: David Ramos

    Rainforest Alliance/Nine-banded Armadillo:

    "Dressed in a suit of armor, the head, body, legs and tail of the nine-banded armadillo are protected by a large number of bony plates. Armadillos spend most of their time in burrows under the ground. Accordingly, their sense of smell far out-powers their vision and hearing. About the size of a domestic cat, these creatures have elongated, pointed noses and long, sticky tongues used for catching insects. Their short, strong legs have sharp claws that come in handy when digging burrows." Read the complete description:


    Dasyprocta punctata
    Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
    Population: population trend STABLE
    Drawing: Maria

    Animal Diversity/Central American Agouti:

    "Central American agoutis are found in forests, thick brush, savannas, and cultivated areas. In Peru, they are confined to the Amazonian region where they are found in all parts of the low selva rainforest zone and many parts of the high selva zone (altitudes of up to 2,000 meters) (Nowak 1999). Agoutis are closely associated with water and often found along the banks of streams, rivers and lakes. They often build dens and numerous sleeping spots in hollow logs, among limestone boulders, under roots of trees or other vegetation." Read the complete description:


    Didelphis virginiana
    Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
    Population:  population trend INCREASING
    Drawing: Ixquic

    Animal Diversity/Virginia Opossum:

    "Virginia opossums have a wide range throughout Central and North American, which continues to expand. Currently, Virginia opossums can be found from Costa Rica to southern Ontario, Canada. This species is not ubiquitous throughout the United States, Virginia opossums are typically found east of the Rocky Mountains and along the west coast; they are restricted by temperature and snow depth... Prior to European settlement, their range was limited in the north to Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. Given their tropical beginnings, it is not surprising that Virginia opossums are ill-equipped for extreme cold, with inadequate thermoregulatory abilities and poorly insulated fur. Instead, the survival of Virginia opossums is likely facilitated by their behavioral modification during extreme temperatures and the shelter offered by human structures, although reports of frost bite are common for northern populations." Read the complete description:



    Amazona auropalliata
    Conservation Status: CRITICALLY ENDANGERED (IUCN Red List)
    Population: 1000-2499 population trend DECREASING
    Drawings: Maria, Maria Elizabeth and Maricrúz

    Fauna & Flora/Yellow-naped Parrot:

    "The visually stunning and vocally versatile yellow-naped amazon is a prime example of the heavy price that parrots pay for their beauty, brain power and ability to talk. Although less well-known than other members of the parrot family such as the budgerigar, African grey, scarlet macaw or sulphur-crested cockatoo, the yellow-naped amazon is one of the most highly coveted species in the Central American pet trade. As a result, its wild population has been devastated by poaching and trafficking." Read the complete description:


    Ara macao
    Conservation Status:  LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
    Population:  50000-499999 population trend DECREASING
    Drawings: Raquel, Brittany and Juan

    Rainforest Alliance/Scarlet Macaw:

    "Macaws are the largest parrots in the world — the body of the scarlet macaw from beak to tail can be as long as 33 inches. This beautiful macaw has a creamy white, almost featherless face, with bright red plumage covering most of its body, wings and long tail. Brilliant blue and yellow feathers also adorn the lower wings. The bird’s strong beak is adapted to breaking hard nuts found in the rainforest." Read the complete description:


    Platalea ajaja 
    Conservation Status:   LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
    Population: population trend STABLE
    Drawings: Ingrid and Telma

    eBird/Roseate Spoonbill:

    "Unique pink wading bird with long, flat, spoon-shaped bill. Adults are mostly pink overall, with scarlet wing patches, orange tail, and bare pale-green head. Immatures are duller than adults but still washed with pale pink. Sometimes mistaken for a flamingo, but note spoonbill's distinctive bill, shorter legs, and shorter neck. Occurs in freshwater and saltwater wetlands from the Gulf Coast of the U.S. through much of South America. Feeds by sifting side-to-side through shallow water. Often in small loose groups, sometimes with other wading birds like storks and herons." Read the complete description:



    Caiman crocodilus
    Conservation Status:   LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
    Population: 1,000,000 population trend STABLE
    Drawing: Mia

    Animal Diversity Web/Spectacled Caiman:

    "Caiman crocodilus, the spectacled, common, or brown caiman, is a crocodilian native to northern South America, Central America, and certain parts of the Caribbean... Spectacled caimans are found in freshwater habitats as well as some salt water habitats. Rivers and wetlands, usually slow moving water, are preferred. They are found in both deep and shallow water, as they only need enough depth to submerge their bodies." Read the complete description:



    Gecarcinus quadratus
    Conservation Status: UNLISTED (IUCN Red List)
    Population: UNKNOWN
    Drawing: Yazmin 

    Also known as the Halloween crab, this colourful nocturnal crab inhabits the mangroves and rainforests from Mexico to Panama. 


    Image courtesy of buildOn

    DftP would like to thank the Sector Los Cimientos community for its significant contribution to our Guatemalan Wildlife project.

    DftP quisiera agradecer a la comunidad del Sector Los Cimientos por sus hermosos dibujos y su imporante contribución a nuestro prouecto de Guatemalan Wildlife.

    We would also like to thank the buildOn team for its assistance in delivering the community workshop and for permission to use its images for our project page.



    The buildOn movement is powered by passionate people from all walks of life who are committed to ending poverty through service and education. Together, we’re breaking the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and low expectations at home and abroad. Will you join us?.” Visit:


    " We are picking a fight with everyday stuff that’s harming our planet. Replacing plastic with plants. Localizing our supply chain. Re-using natural materials which would otherwise go to waste. We refuse to take shortcuts, and we obsess over every single step in the journey of our products, from how they are made to how they end up on your doorstep. We always walk the extra mile to improve our products and our processes, to ensure that we always areas responsible as we humanly can be. To production materials that have the least environmental impact, no matter the cost. In the choice between different courses of action, we will always take the route that makes our company and our products better and more responsible. We think the traditional way of running a company — with a big office that no one else can use, a fancy reception, stale conference rooms, and faceless art — is out of date. Circularity can only happen with design." Visit:


    We are a global art and environmental education charity with drawing, one of the oldest forms of communication, at its core. Founded by Artist, Jane Lee McCracken, to share her passions for drawing and wildlife, we partner with international wildlife charity Born Free, conservationists, artists, educators and cultural institutions. Through our art, education, exhibition and conservation fundraising projects we give children, communities and wildlife a voice. Watch our video and visit us at:

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