From Shoeshine Boy to Biologist

Rene Corado was born into a little Guatemelan village with only 13 houses.  “In that little village, I had the largest garden in the world,” he recalls. The Rio Motagua is the largest river in the state, an important corridor for migratory birds and home to such species as the magpie jay, the green parakeet, hummingbirds, orioles and the laughing falcon. “I was very interested in birds as a child. I thought they were amazing” so begins Rene's life journey as reported by Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer in her Ventana cover story.

It was through sheer curiosity and perserverance that Rene Corado grew from an impoverished shoeshine boy to immigrant, learned English, secured a high school diploma by attending adult education courses to becoming the collections manager of the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology, where his research on contaminated bird eggs of the Rio Motagua resulted in improved environmental health for the people back in his home region.

Listen to a 5-minute audio interview with Rene at

Read Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer's cover story at

An inspirational book for children about his life journey is available in Spanish.  A book reivew can be found at