Hug-A-Tree on our island of “Corte Magore” and Keep Nicaraguan Kids in School


HugATree on Corte Magore and have your tax deductible donation work to keep Nicaraguan children in school through the Finding Corte Magore project.
HugATree on Corte Magore and have your tax deductible donation work to keep Nicaraguan children in school through the Finding Corte Magore project.

Join us on our first money-raising initiative for the Finding Corte Magore​ project. With your tax deductible $250+ donation – you, or someone you love – can be memorialized forever by “Hugging a Tree” on Corte Magore, at Hog Cay, Bluefields, Nicaragua​. I promise you, with every ounce of my being, your money will be put to very “GOOD” use.

On Google Maps the Coordinates for Corte Magore at Hog Cay are the following:

11°59’25.2″N 83°45’09.7″W

Here´s an aerial view of the island.

Tree Huggers® are created using high-grade stainless steel and are noted for being the only tree plaque that gently wraps around the tree (by means of plastic-encased springs) and expands without harming it as it grows! It will not rust or corrode or release any harmful toxins or chemicals that could harm the tree.  There are hundreds and hundreds of trees on Corte Magore at Hog Cay, Nicaragua – and we anticipate that eventually, every one of them will be memorialized by our donors.   Click here to make your tax deductible donation.

The Finding Corte Magore Project Problem: 42% of all children along the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua drop out of school by sixth grade, if they ever enroll at all. Poverty in Nicaragua drives kids out of school and into the workplace. (The Guardian).  They drop out because they don’t have shoes to walk to school, because they have to watch their siblings while their parents work, or because they have to work to support their families. They drop out because they see school as pointless. Guess what? They’re right. There are no jobs waiting for students if and when they graduate. Which means poverty will live on in Nicaragua forever. Unless…

Solution: Our project, led by Author, and Entrepreneur, Tonia Allen Gould, along with her team, aims to start to reverse this cycle of poverty in one large region of Nicaragua by driving sustainable, best practices, social good tourism to Bluefields via the island of Corte Magore at Hog Cay, Nicaragua. Our social enterprise works like this: Eco-Tourists and Flashpackers visit our island in Bluefields, driving revenue to fund programs such as: Jobs and job training on the island for locals seeking to better provide for their families, such as eco-building, island maintenance, security, hospitality, transportation, and cooking, training they can take back to their communities to earn money. By showing kids along the Atlantic Coast that their parents can be trained and then gainfully employed, we can offer children hope for a better life for themselves. Hope that may start to reverse the cycle of poverty.  By providing job opportunities for parents and making school meaningful for students, the island will free students to stay in school, go after their dreams, and spread prosperity as they become business-owners, entrepreneurs, tourism professionals, artists, scientists, coders, teachers…

We also intend to fund educational programs for students in Nicaragua – programs like a floating educational barge that delivers teachers and and school supplies to remote indigenous regions, after school sports and crafts programs that only students who stay in school can partake in, or on-island biodiversity and environmental learning research camps for older students.

The Finding Corte Magore project will establish ecotourism operations in under-developed and ecologically vulnerable areas, and set the precedent for sustainable development in a way that prevents the destruction of pristine natural habitats by irresponsible tourism. The FCM business model will be validated in the Hog Cay pilot site in Nicaragua given the biodiversity attributes and relative lack of development in the area, as well as the recent influx of visitors to the country. The FCM platform will subsequently be exported to similarly vulnerable areas with a viable and repeatable business model that creates investable and scalable opportunities to promote sustainable development.

Meanwhile, we intend to build a global, K-12 environmental learning curriculum from eco-projects happening on the island -which is an identified bio-diverse hotspot, projects that have research attraction from many of our potential partners and universities, as well as will put locals to work with proper training:

  • Building our Eco-Beach complete with a volleyball pit
  • Mangrove protection and devising ways to eliminate natural, island erosion
  • Building the bar and commissary
  • Renovating the basketball court with recyclable products like used tires
  • Building floating casitas
  • Training of locals to do construction, learn hospitality, cooking, bartending and how to captain a panga, etc.
  • Creating a Zipline from one part of the island to the other or connecting the island to a neighboring island via zipline that won’t infringe on passing boats
  • Eco-Spa – Building natural, spas from collected rainwater
  • Lighting the island for evenings
  • Building eco-sensitive tree houses on the island
  • Rebuilding the island’s suspension bridge
  • Artisanal Fishing Demonstrations with natives
  • Creating Cultural Excursions like to the Garifuna annual anniversary celebration
  • Coral Reef Restoration Projects
  • Turtle Protection and Migration Projects
  • Building Photovoltaic thermal hybrid solar collectors to convert solar radiation into thermal and electrical energy to power the island and how people may be use similar technology to power their lives after a hurricane
  • Farming Mussels in the lagoon to clean up the brown water
  • Various Eco-Farming projects – (we have access to an eco-farm across the lagoon) – training on planting and growing foods in tropical climates despite global warming
  • Figuring out how to divert town rain water and brown water from flowing into the lagoon
  • Creating and traveling with our floating educational barge to indigenous regions, bringing education to children who otherwise can’t access education
  • Inventing hurricane resistant “kit” housing for poor coastal communities led by a team of engineers in a think tank
  • Building a bird sanctuary
  • Creating Vertical Gardening Systems despite the clay soil which is conducive to growing certain types of food only
  • Implementing fishing best practices
  • Introducing diving to the area and along the many shipwrecked boats
  • Finding the tradewinds and introducing surfing to areas which are untapped or undiscovered

No other tourism venture strategically connects the dots between social good, environmentalism and education – making our project the first of its kind and further promoting sustainability by making the number of visitors, to the island, virtually limitless. Planned educational opportunities at FCM are extensive and do not just include educational experiences consumed by the eco-tourists we attract. Rather, we see an opportunity to build a K-12 environmental educational platform that makes FCM virtually accessible from anywhere in the world. A FCM student/teacher/professor/university inspired curriculum will be at the core of our offerings.

We have been in talks with many notable agencies and insitutions such as NOAA, Conservation International, CREST and UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science. Sustainable, best practices and conscientious travel is imperative to this region or it may be devastated by tourists. That said, the tourism is still coming to the region regardless, here’s why:  Eco-Tourism is already happening in Nicaragua  A dirt road from Managua that normally takes twelve hours to drive, is currently being paved. This connects the Atlantic Coast to the rest of Nicaragua without having to fly.  Lonely Planet calls Nicaragua the Top 4 place in the world to visit  The Canal de Nicaragua is a shipping route under construction through Nicaragua to connect the Caribbean Sea (and therefore the Atlantic Ocean) with the Pacific Ocean.

Our business partner is: Ambassador Francisco Campbell, Nicaraguan Ambassador to the U.S. and owner of 29-acre, Hog Cay. FCM has negotiated a 15-year leasehold already on the island. We are halfway there to make our vision at Corte Magore a reality.

Hog Cay Google Coordinates: 11°59’25.2″N 83°45’09.7″W.

We believe the dreams of children are the most precious resource in Nicaragua – but also the most squandered. So many dreams go unfulfilled due to extreme poverty. Something needs to be done about this.  Every child deserves a shot to go after their dreams, and the Finding Corte Magore Project intends to give it to them. We believe that achieving dreams can not only elevate children above their birth circumstances, but also their communities and, over time, their nation.

We have acquired the island through a lot of hard work and dedication, and now we need to build it out, develop programs and put the island to work to keep a nation of children in school.

Finding Corte Magore is a California Benefit Company. The purpose of a benefit corporation includes creating general public benefit, which is defined as a material positive impact on society and the environment. A benefit corporation’s directors and officers operate the business with the same authority as in a traditional corporation but are required to consider the impact of their decisions not only on shareholders but also on society and the environment. Finding Corte Magore at Hog Cay, Nicaragua is a Nicaraguan joint partnership formed under Nicaraguan law.

Project hyperlinks:

Finding Corte Magore – findingcortemagore.com

Tonia Allen Gould – toniaallengould.com, author and founder

FCM YouTube Channel

Tonia YouTube Channel

FCM Twitter – @cortemagore

FCM Facebook

Donate to FCM via PayPal (Donations are charitable and tax deductible)

Oh, and one day, we hope to see you visit us on Corte Magore!

Aerial Photo of Hog Cay - Left The Bluff and Caribbean Sea - Right Bluefields - Top Rama Cay - Bottom Escondido River

Title Waves: Big Thoughts Behind the Story of a Little Crab and His Home


This article includes toddler BabbleMusing on the title of my children’s picture book, Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore…

  On a summer’s drive to the beach, almost eighteen years ago,  my daughter, Whitney Ann- a toddler at the time – was playing with her little bare toes and babbling the nonsensical words from her car seat, “Corte Magore…Corte Magore…”  Over and over again, she’d prattle, burble and blather the words, giggling as if she had a secret, while my husband and I scratched our heads, and racked our brains to figure out what she was trying to say. 

Since I fancy myself a bit of a poet (I hope you do too), I started making-up a rhyming poem on that fateful drive along the California Coast to Santa Barbara. I toyed around with the sound of those two words, out loud and in my head, crafted by my toddler’s own two-year-old imagination. Whitney’s made-up words formed the beginnings of an epic poem, one that I just couldn’t shake free from my brain long enough to ever let it go. And, for years I honed various drafts and versions of Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore, but never got serious about publishing it in the form of a children’s picture book until much later in my daughter’s life. 

But, how do you spell words conjured-up in the boundless creative mind of a child?  Originally, I was spelling Corte as “Corta” because I like phonetically correct spellings. But, one day, I noticed one of my employee’s checks was addressed to Corte Madera, California. So I looked up what “Corte Madera” means. In Spanish, Corte Madera means the imperative command “Chop wood”, as in “To chop the wood”.  A crab uses a chopping motion with his pincers. So Corte – to chop – seemed befitting for my land and sea fiddler crab, awashed ashore of the island that would one day be Corte Magore (fictionally, and in real life.)  

California is also a land wrought with Spanish derived spellings and places, so “Corte” stuck, even if not phonetically correct. (I didn’t know then that my book’s unintentional Spanish influence would later be connected, serendipitously,  to Latin America through the Finding Corte Magore project).  “Magore”, or the second part of the name of the island in my book, rhymes perfectly with Moore, lore, before and a slew of other words used throughout my prose in Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore. Every poet feels blessed when she uses a word and finds it amassed with other phonetic or rhythmic  words.

And thus, a book’s title was born. And my life has forever been altered. 

from a recent book signing in Culver, Indiana

School Author Visit: SRTMS Career Day 2015 on Writing, Islanding, and Social Good


Getting Off My One-Acre Island

How one author’s children’s picture book unfolded out for her in real life eventually making a fictional place real for social good.


On Corte magoreFifteen months ago, I had an “AHA” moment that, at first, involved marketing my book, Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore, an epic children’s tale about a land and sea fiddler crab who wandered onto a beautiful island called Corte Magore. Sam wanted to stay and live there forever, but had to first overcome obstacles like building himself a home before the tides came in to sweep him back out to sea. He also had to work around naysayers and the big, bad beast, the Great Tidal Wave.  Sam was a dreamer and a hard worker. He made mistakes but each time he failed, learned to pull himself up again and again by his bootstraps.

If you know me well, you’ll know there are some parallels between Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore and my own life. Like Sam, I’m tenacious and a hard worker. Also like Sam, I too was once searching for a home. At the age of fifteen, I was placed in foster care. Mine was a dysfunctional family living well below the poverty line and things were often difficult for me growing up. The naysayer in my life was the system – the statistics that said I wasn’t supposed to break the cycle. Many children don’t, but I fortunately did. I’m resourceful, entrepreneurial, and when I’ve failed, I learned early on to pick myself up gracefully and work to get myself right back on track – just like Sam. I broke the mold and I know, in my heart of hearts, that it’s my duty to share with others that they can do it too. Despite their circumstances.

I tried to ingrain many pearls of wisdom throughout Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore. If only I had a book, growing up, that told me it was okay to be searching for something, that acknowledged that my dreams had validity, that being punctual and minding the time and deadlines were important, and that though there would be bullies and naysayers in my life trying to squelch my dreams, it was up to me to tackle them anyway. Somehow, early on, I learned I’d have to do most everything for myself and on my own and that being independent can be incredibly empowering, even for a child faced with life’s difficulties.

My story was one I HAD to tell. But just telling it wasn’t enough. I had to figure out a way to market my book in a big way to children so they could make my story and Sam’s story, about overcoming obstacles and persevering, their own.

One morning, right before I woke up – a time when being “almost” lucid often brings clarity to my problems – the way to market my book in a big way came to me in an “AHA” moment. “AHA, I’ve got it,” I thought as I sat straight-up in bed. “If you can name a star in the sky, then why can’t I find some postage-stamped-sized island, somewhere in the world, and name it Corte Magore?”

That crazy, absurd, half-cocked idea put me on a personal journey that has changed the course of my life – rallied even my own family, one that’s forced me to get off my own personal, one-acre suburban “island” in Southern California, a life I eventually built for myself, step out of my cush comfort zone – and onto a real life, 29-acre, living/breathing, bio-diverse island along the devastatingly poor, Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua. That “AHA” moment, caused my passion (writing books for children) to be met with its purpose – having an island work to somehow keep an impoverished nation of child drop-outs in school. One adventure lead me to the next, just like in my story. And that “AHA” moment has snowballed into a new tale that now involves an ambassador, universities, conservation, eco-tourism, environmental learning, ocean science, crowdfunding, grant-writing, television/film, real estate development, and much, much more. In the course of a year, I’ve traveled to Nicaragua three times and have fallen in love with its people and possibilities, but most importantly, I’ve fallen in love with the journey to “Finding Corte Magore”.

Over the next few days and weeks, my team on the Finding Corte Magore project and I will attempt to break down this amazing adventure for you. Look for videos, pictures, and blog posts as we unfold the story from varying perspectives.

I promise that when it’s all over, you will be inspired to get up, dust off some of those old dreams of your own, dare to get off your own islands and realize that nothing at all is impossible.

See you on Corte Magore!

Tonia Allen Gould

http://www.findingcortemagore.com

The Kim Pagano Show Radio Interview


The Kim Pagano Show Radio Interview

What a great pleasure it was to be on The Kim Pagano Show where I was interviewed about my book, Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore.  If you are interested in hearing the interview, scroll down to the PM Show and listen to the whole show, or if you are pressed for time, move up to the 36 minute mark where my interview begins.  Thanks Kim! It was fun being on again!

Tonia Allen Gould

Coming Soon To a Technology Device Near You


Jacob, age 6, with his Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore App on the iPad
Jacob, age 6, with his Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore App on the iPad

Bi-line article written for Today’s Parent USA by Tonia Allen Gould

This fast-paced media environment we are experiencing today is continuously changing and has everyone confused. Parents too, are having a hard time catching-up on evolving trends. Like everyone else, they are trying to figure it all out, while their children seem to adapt and grasp onto technology without even a glimmer of thought. Look around you—in airport terminals, at outdoor cafes, and at the nearest Starbucks, it’s not uncommon to see a child, sometimes as young as two years old, sitting quietly and comfortably, glaring through the glossy screen of an iPad. One thing is for certain; these children are engaged and consumed by the technology they are accessing from the palm of their hands.

Today, there are an abundance of apps that can be accessed through general purpose tablets like the iPad. With only a touch of a finger, and a few moments of time, you can browse through books, games and educational apps for children from the iTunes App Store, for example, on your device. With so many options in front of you, it’s important to understand the landscape of where book media is today and where it is going, especially in the education and entertainment arenas. Picture books, for instance, on technology devices have turned into interactive, engaging “experiences,” complete with digital animation, narration and music. While we all hope that conventional books in the library will never really be replaced, it’s true that in just a few short years, book apps and eBooks have already changed the publishing world and redefined how books come to market. In fact, some book apps are starting to look something more like a Disney/Pixar movie than an actual picture book, and the book market will only get better from here.

Also, it’s important to understand that there are significant costs that go into the production of a single book app and this is why the good ones can’t be purchased for the price of a song. Still at $1.99-$7.99 or higher, the cost of a book app may be a much better value when compared to printed and bound books stocked at brick and mortar retailers like Barnes and Noble, where you can expect to pay at least twice the price of a book app or eBook. It’s these very same electronic books that can be found at other retailers, like Amazon, that are partially responsible for those big retailer’s declining sales.

It’s true that just a few short years ago; kids were snuggling up next to their parents to have a book read to them when their parents could take the time to sit down with them. Today’s kids are getting their books on demand and being read to by professional narrators, when mom’s lap isn’t available, and they are doing this right from the comfort of their own electronic devices. For parents, the reality is you don’t need to draw a line in the sand, and purchase your child’s books one way or the other. What’s most important is that your child is reading. Books of any kind are a good way for kids to start thinking and speaking early, but I for one, am looking forward to the positive influence technology can bring to those young minds.

Tonia Allen Gould is the producer and author of Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore, an electronically published book app, available in the App Store on iTunes, and is also available by audio on CD Baby and through other media outlets. Published by Skies America, Gould creatively directed and hand-picked the celebrity talent to make this eBook/app an engaging experience for children ages four to eight-years-old. The app was illustrated by Marc Ceccarelli, a SpongeBob SquarePants storyboard director. It was narrated by two-time Marconi Award nominee, and radio personality, Mr. Steve McCoy. The original musical score was produced by country artist, Robby Armstrong.

Conventional Print Publishing or Electronic Device Book App?


Why App Developers Need to Be Looking Long and Hard at the Children’s Book Market

Wikipedia reports according “to an IDC study from March 2011, sales for all e-book readers worldwide rose to 12.8 million in 2010; 48% of them were Kindle models, followed by Barnes & Noble Nook devices, Pandigital, Hanvon and Sony Readers (about 800,000 units for 2010).” In 2012, the study shows that e-book sales slumped with a “26% decline worldwide from a maximum of 23.2 million in 2011. The reason given for this alarmingly precipitous decline is the rise of more general purpose tablets that provide e-books along with other apps in a similar form factor.”

Enter 2013: General purpose tablets, like the iPad, continue to offer more engaging and interactive experiences for the reader. As parents continue to streamline their own book purchases onto these types of devices—it’s no surprise that their children will expect to access their books similarly. App developers need to stop and take notice that there is an existing and increasingly popular book app market for parents looking to educate and entertain their children in much more visually engaging ways.

Before a developer can begin to tap into this market, they should understand four important things first:

• Understand that the market already exists: Legions of unpublished children’s book authors are looking to get their literary works published conventionally or digitally. It’s a crowded marketplace, coupled with significant barriers breaking into conventional print. If developers can figure out how to publish, distribute and market books so these unique “voices” can be heard, they’ll be onto something big. You can find these unpublished authors on Twitter in droves searching through hashtags like #picturebooks #kidlit #childrensbooks #author, etc.

• Understand the need for creative people to help successfully deploy a book app: Developers will need quality authors, illustrators, copyrighters, animators, stock music houses and voiceovers, not to mention a creative director with graphic designers at her fingertips who can pull all of those contributions together seamlessly. If you bypass any one of these things, your app may come up short. Remember, parents expect a professionally published book, just as they expect the same when they pick up a book for their children at Barnes & Noble. The only difference is that they expect an “experience” with a book app.

• Understand that the market is evolving and changing: Be prepared to keep on your toes. Already some book apps have cropped up that look something more like a Disney/Pixar movie production. Constantly improve and nurture your network of contributors and stay nimble with the changing publishing market. Make sure you understand that a few years ago, kids were snuggling up next to their parents to have a book read to them when their parents were ready to take the time to sit down with them. Today’s kids are getting their books on demand and being read to by professional narrators, when mom’s lap isn’t available, and they are reading right from the comfort of their own electronic devices.

• Understand the conventionally printed book isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Real books belong on shelves in libraries and in homes, and kids will always need them and should have access to them. It will be a sad day if electronics replace them altogether. Book apps are a vertical market to the conventionally printed book. Lines don’t need to be drawn in the sand about which is better.

Tonia Allen Gould is the producer and author of Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore, published by Skies America (July, 2013) an electronically published book app, available in the App Store on iTunes, and is also available by audio on CD Baby, Amazon, iTunes, and other outlets. Gould creatively directed and hand-picked the celebrity talent to make this eBook/app an engaging experience for children ages four to eight-years-old, leading up to the animation where Skies America Publishing Company picked up the project and launched it on iTunes. The app was art directed by “Mr. Lawrence,” the voice of Plankton and an original storyboard director of SpongeBob SquarePants, and illustrated by Marc Ceccareli, another SpongeBob storyboard director. It was narrated by two-time Marconi Award nominee, and a top radio personality and broadcaster in the country, Mr. Steve McCoy. The original musical score was produced by country artist, Robby Armstrong. Gould is available for consulting projects and can be reached via http://www.toniaallengould.com, or at toniaagould@icloud.com.

What Do a Nashville Star and a Children’s Picture Book Have in Common?


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact:
Christy Watkins – Aristo P.R. – 615-269-7071 – christy@aristomedia.com
Adelaide Yoder – Aristo P.R. – 615-269-7071 – adelaide@aristomedia.com

Robby Armstrong Produces First Musical Score For Children’s eBook, “Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore”

eBook/App now available on iTunes

(Nashville, Tenn. – July 17, 2013) Country artist Robby Armstrong has produced the musical score for the children’s eBook, Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore (Skies America Publishing, 2013), which is now available on iTunes.

A children’s book written by Tonia Allen Gould, the story is of a tenacious land and sea fiddler crab that will stop at nothing to build and save his home from his rival. Complete with a fiddle and his bow, Samuel T. Moore marches forward with his mission, even though he is met with adversary while onlookers and naysayers mock him in disbelief. The book teaches children about courage and tenacity, to stand up and fight for what they believe in.

Gould creatively directed and hand-picked the celebrity talent to make this eBook/app an engaging experience for children ages four to eight years old, leading up to the animation where Skies America Publishing Company picked up the project.

The eBook was partially illustrated by one of the original creators of SpongeBob Square Pants, “Mr. Lawrence” who, incidentally, is also the voice of Plankton from the hit, animated series by Nickelodeon. The narration is done by two-time Marconi Award nominee, and one of the top radio personalities, broadcasters, and voice-overs in the country, Mr. Steve McCoy. Steve is a major market voice and his work for animation has become famous. In addition to his many character-related projects, he did the voice work for a Rise of the Guardians app by DreamWorks Animation.

Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore is available through the iTunes store for $4.99.

The release of the eBook coincides with Armstrong’s current single release, “Rodeo,” which is currently at Country radio. Written by Armstrong and Darrell Brown, the toe-tapping track is Robby’s first single from his forthcoming 2013 full-length album, which is additionally produced by Brown (LeAnn Rimes, Ty Herndon, Radney Foster). Robby has three songs, including “Rodeo” in the major motion picture, Gambit (featuring Cameron Diaz, Colin Firth), wherein he and his band make a cameo appearance. The songs are also on the official soundtrack. Additionally, “Rodeo” is featured in The Sims video game and has been heard at Angels’ stadium as the Los Angeles Angels’ rally song. The dance remix for the song is circulating through line dance clubs across the country.

For more information, visit RobbyArmstrong.net.

Got $4.99 and a Penchant for Rhyme?


Unused ITunes gift card at the bottom of your drawer?
Why not buy my book with an original #musical score?
Your kids will love this amiable tale never told before
About a determined crab who arrived on Corte Magore

On iTunes for iPad now

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