MILTON HUMBERTO CANTINCUZ PASCAL
ECUADOR, FUNDACIÓN ECOMINGA
On February 3, 1979, in an indigenous community of the Awá Nation called Tarabita, located in the rural parish of Tobar Donoso, Carchi province, Ecuador, a child was born who was named Milton Humberto Cantincuz Pascal. At that time, Milton's family was engaged in subsistence hunting for food, an activity widely practiced as part of the Awá worldview that continues to this day. Thus, from a very young age, Milton saw the forest as his home, his source of food and learning. Years passed and the outlook in the community was not very encouraging, with no job opportunities and a great desire to discover what was outside the community. At the age of 17 and without an education, Milton decided to leave the rhythms of the forest behind to look for work in a neighboring community. The La Esperanza community in the rural parish of El Chical, Carchi province, was the destination that welcomed him and brought Milton closer to the world of agriculture. Hired as a day laborer, he dedicated his days to working on naranjilla crops, where he oversaw sowing, harvesting, and transportation of the products.
His incredible physical prowess and the quality of his work were well known in La Esperanza. This was how his fame reached the ears of the ranger manager of the Dracula Reserve, Héctor Yela. Milton then began a new experience, this time in conservation. He began by collaborating on an occasional basis in some activities of the Dracula Reserve.
Those activities were enough to completely change Milton's course. His determination led the EcoMinga Foundation to invite him to be part of the team as a Dracula Reserve ranger. He accepted, and he did not just become part of the team that patrols the reserve, but in the last expeditions, Milton has also shown a special interest in participating and collaborating with the experts; he has had the opportunity to prepare collected rodent skins and monitor amphibians and birds.
Though with some anxiety at the beginning when using equipment, due to his lack of education, Milton constantly receives support and training from the entire EcoMinga team, but there is no doubt, that his desire to learn, his dedication and improvement are contagious and motivating, making his lack of school training irrelevant. Milton has become a nature guardian and is a great example for the community. Today, his work is focused on conserving, monitoring, protecting, and maintaining