Every month the on-going civil conservation movement in the Sierra Gorda strives the inform about the breadth of action, collaboration, and opportunities. Often we have to edit out a lot of valuable fieldwork and take only the most eye catching for a wider public, sharing a holistic vision of protecting nature and involving the local residents in carrying out conservation on their lands.
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What follows is a collection of the last six months of Newsletters from the Alliance of civil society organizations in the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, Queretaro, Mexico.
Announcements and offers from Querétaro’s Sierra Gorda
Sierra Gorda Ecotours – Get to know our eco-tourism destinations
Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda – Social Capital Markets
Bosque Sustentable A.C. – Skill-building and activities in the field
Sierra Gorda’s Earth Centre – Monthly review and 2011 Calendar
Photo of the month – Brocket deer
Announcements and offers from Querétaro’s Sierra Gorda
1) Friends, this week you will receive a press release with international news. Please be sure to take note of it and share it with others.
2) Read the following blogs: Pati Ruiz Corzo, Roberto Pedraza and Viva Sierra Gorda
3) Buy healthy and seasonal food products in the Sierra Gorda by clicking here.
Sierra Gorda’s Earth Center, July’s Calendar :
04/07/2011 – 08/07/2011 Workshop on Holistic Management II (Transferral of knowledge on Holistic Management)
Given by: Dr. Iván Aurelio Aguirre, Savory Institute Teacher
Sierra Gorda Ecotours takes you closer to nature, mountain culture and ecological rural living.
Spend a weekend or take a week to explore Sierra Gorda’s Biosphere Reserve in the north of Querétaro State.
Ecotourist give their TESTIMONIES
“The unique geology and ecology that you find in the Sierra Gorda, along with the historical and cultural richness makes it a destination like no other on the planet”, said a tourist from California, USA.
“I found Sierra Gorda Ecotour’s address on the internet when I was looking for a way to visit the Sierra Gorda’s missions. We thought it would be enjoyable to stay in the eco-lodges and so we got in touch with you…we never imagined what this would really mean…The people from the communities looked after with refreshing amounts of attention, they we truly kind”, said a family from Jalisco.
Contact us at email@example.com or by telephone 441.29.61212 www.sierragordaecotours.com
Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda and Viva Sierra Gorda attended The Social Capital Markets Forum in Europe (SOCAP Europe) inaugurated by Princess Maxima of Holland.
Without a doubt, life has many paths; some are very formal and academic while others are financial. These paths are all detached from Nature. They are worlds in which capital is only counted in money and where other factors and pleasures have no place. Financial returns cannot buy tranquillity of conscience, peace or the pleasure of service, of giving or of receiving happiness.
We are looking for investors who love the Earth and who understand the urgency to protect conservation areas at risk to destruction. We need financial investment to safeguard the planet’s natural heritage. We need to creatively generate various innovative means and schemes to restore and conserve the planet’s irreplaceable bio-capacity. This is what I was looking for at the SOCAP forum in Amsterdam and, for the first time, I found topics on Biosphere Reserves and soil regeneration at a social investment forum. In conclusion, due to the fact that there are an unlimited number of paths in life, we are lucky enough to have found one that is closer to giving economic value to our natural infrastructure. Long live the Earth!
Photo: Princess Máxima of Holland, getting to know Sierra Gorda’s ecosystem, ecotourism, educational and craft products and services while talking to Pati Ruiz Corzo (Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda I.A.P.) and Laura Pérez-Arce (Viva Sierra Gorda, a project of Earth Island Institute).
Bosque Sustentable A.C
Internal training on community water monitoring, 20-22 June 2011
Last week, one of the Bosque Sustentable A.C. team, J.Jesús Castillo Rios, participated in a course on “The bacteriological and physical-chemical monitoring of water” in Zitacuaro, Michoacán. The course was organized by Global Water Watch (a global network of community groups to monitor water) and was sponsored by FMCNAC (Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature) and theGonzálo Rio Arronte I.A.P.Foundation. The Gonzálo Rio Arronte I.A.P.Foundation, a long-standing and excellent partner of our work, asked that one of our team attend the course in order to complete the commitment to monitor and check water sources in the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve. We hope to become certified once we have gained experience and put what we learnt on the course into action, which will, without a doubt, result in excellent tools for the future.
Summary of activities
This past month, some members of Bosque Sustentable have been giving skill-building workshops in a wide range of communities in the region. They are principally teaching them how to produce and use biofertilizer and nutritional blocks for cows. Other workers have designed cultivation land according to Keylines so that their lands capture rain water instead of the rain taking off with their land. In addition, we have continued to look for lands to reforest and we have decided to use a combination of pines, nut trees, maguey and nopal cactus, depending on the climate and inclination of each location. Within some of these reforestation plots, our promoters have assisted in the construction of small water pools to collect rain water and fire breaks in woodland.
Friends from the communities of Agua Amarga and el Ranchito, Pinal de Amoles are participating in a pilot that involves planting corn in paper cones. This is an innovative technique that provides the corn plant with a high level of nutrients in the form of mineralized compost and protects it from drying out. They are looking after the plants in small spaces within their home, where they can help them by watering them regularly. When the rainy season begins, they will be planted by making a vertical hole using a sowing stick “coa”, that significantly reduces the working of the land, which in turn reduces losses and damages to the invaluable soil.
SIERRA GORDA’S EARTH CENTRE
Regional Meeting for Conservation Educators
On 15th June, we held a regional meeting during which different educational networks linked up, including members from municipal and state health sectors. Roberto Pedraza, Marina Rendón, Mario Pedraza and Olivia Pérez acted as facilitators of the event, speaking on subjects such as global warming, educational networks, environmental education, healthy eating and the culture of healthy soils. The 30 active participants were enthusiastic about the knowledge they gained during the event and we focused on activities that will be carried out in their surrounding areas. Each participant’s active commitment will expand the horizons of Environmental Education. We finished by covering each person’s future plans and decided that we will follow them up in the next meeting.
National Meeting of Conservation Educators
During 21st-22nd June, we were fortunate enough to host 53 environmental educators from different Mexican states at the Sierra Gorda’s Earth Center. We welcomed participants from INEA, Educación Inicial, USEBEQ Querétaro, San Luis, UTSJR’s Jalpan campus, Jalpan de Serra’s council, Geovida Sustentable de Michoacán, Ecoeduca del D.F., Organismo del Agua Sinapas y Río Verde, CONAFE región Querétaro, COBACH regionales, and el Instituto Superior de las Huastecas San Luis Potosí. These educators are already committed to helping the planet; they have clear objectives and have already achieved results. They attended the meeting in order to share their experiences as educators and promoters of new alternatives to save the planet. We ended by making commitments and plans for each participant while agreeing to return next year to share the experiences; hoping to have achieved all objectives. We enjoyed delicious food and exchanged contact details so that we could maintain contact and repeat the experience next year. Congratulations to all our educators!
Photo of the month
Dogs put the Sierra Gorda’s wildlife more at risk than humans hunting activities. Groups of dogs that are not controlled by their owners go into the woods, hunt and kill any animal they come across. This beautiful male brocket deer (Mazama anericana) was pursued by dogs; however, it was fortunately rescued by humans, given to us and later released into one of our private nature reserves in order to give it a second chance. Unfortunately these are conflicts that are difficult to avoid.
A special thanks to our partners (local, regional, state, national, international) for your support this year, we are committed to success. The youth celebrated World Environment Day in the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, strengthening the civil movement with work plans for 23 Eco Clubs collaborating with Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda, I.A.P., see more here.
Sierra Gorda Ecotours – A week of exciting experiences
Centro Tierra Sierra Gorda – June & July Calendar
Sierra Gorda Products: La Vendimia in July
Facebook: A page for each organization
Photograph of the month: Rattlesnake
With Sierra Gorda Ecotours enjoy live experiences, choose yours!
Explore the wide-range of options we have to offer you. Contact us for personalized itineraries for your group, family or school, including activities you can choose from the following menu.
Sierra Gorda Earth Center – Centro Tierra
National Meeting for Educators in Nature Conservation.
Objective: To bridge the different educational institutions on a national level for collective awareness and to establish new work relationships for environmental education in the country.
Sponsors: US Fish & Wildlife Service and Cummins
Get a scholarship while they last. June 21 & 22 in Jalpan de Serra, QRO
Contact us for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Courses that took place in May:
“Holisitic Management” The Savory Institute in the Sierra Gorda
In the first week of May one of the most important skill-building sessions of the year took place at the Earth Center: the visit and teachings of Iván Aguirre. He is one of the Savory Institute’s experts in Holistic Management, with vast experience after decades of holistic management on his La Inmaculada Ranch, located in Sonora State.
The Institute was founded and is directed by Mr. Allan Savory, a world expert who is revolutionizing land management methods and returning life to the soil with much knowledge and common sense. With time in the classroom and in the field, the skill-building sessions were intense and instructive. We were left with the clear idea that planning and decision-making with a holistic focus is necessary to finish and accomplish projects on all levels, not only those of land management.
“Fruit Tree Management” by Centro Tierra and INIFAP
We were lucky enough to receive Rafael Hernández from INIFAP (National Institute of Forestry, Agricultural and Livestock Investigation) to give us a presentation on fruit tree management, on apple and apricot trees in particular. We were 42 participants of whom a third of us were employees of the Sierra Gorda Alliance (Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda y Bosque Sustentable) while the rest were fruit producers from Agua Amarga and Arroyo Seco.
Rafael Hernández explained that the requirements for successful fruit tree management are the following: adequate selection of location and of the producer; you must manage the major risks well; you must have the sufficient resources; it is important to consider which varieties and rootstocks you will use; you must think about the production technologies that one will use; and commercialization and administration are some of the most important factors.
At the end of the presentation, he proposed that we should continue with workshops in the field and then demonstrations of successful products. We all agreed.
Sierra Gorda’s Touristic Products and Services
We attended the Art and Music Fair in La Redonda Vineyards, Ezequiel Montes, with a mobile stand offering regional products created by the different sustainable workshops in the Sierra Gorda, where the employees are primarily rural women.
We had the perfect weather for the visitors from various parts of the Mexican Republic. We will announce through our Facebook page (be sure to click “Like”) the next time we set up shop so you buy our products. For the good of the productive projects, we hope to have even better results at the next fair in Vendimia on 16-17th July.
Photograph of May 2011 by Roberto Pedraza Ruiz, http://www.sierragordasilvestre.net
This rattlesnake (Crotalus totonacus), which is endemic to the North East of our country, is enjoying the sunlight in one of our private nature reserves. It put up extremely well with being photographed without any form of attack and from there we continued our walk. I am sure that many Sierra Gorda inhabitants would have unjustifiably sacrificed this snake without thinking about it, leaving a gap in the forest. This would have showed once again that the most aggressive and inconsiderate species is our own, and not the myriad of species that form the biodiversity of our mountains.
Sierra Gorda Ecotours – Tours for everyone
Bosque Sustentable A.C. – Training
Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda – Donation by WLT UK
Centro Tierra Sierra Gorda – 2011 Calendar
Photograph of the month
News Bulletin: Dubai Global Energy Forum
A Gift for Mom.- On this very special occasion, give Mom a trip to the Sierra Gorda where she can become acquainted with Franciscan Missions, the most amazing natural destinations, and artisan projects of the region while spending a weekend of rest and discovery within this beautiful Biosphere Reserve.
Training for productivity.– Why continue poisoning the soil, food, and ourselves with expensive chemical fertilizers when we have the correct option in our hands? For this reason, during the month of April members of the Bosque Sustentable A.C. team (Sustainable Forest) carried out 10 workshops on the production of biofertilizers for 150 farmers and livestock producers in different Sierra Gorda locations. The ingredients of whey, molasses, manure, and rock flour, combined appropriately and “matured” anaerobically become the best formula for a very economic way of restoring the soil´s fertility without poisoning ourselves with fertilizers derived from petroleum. Once producers learn, they have no reason to return to dependency on agrochemicals with their high costs.
Fresno Canyon, a new sanctuary for life.– With the continuing support of our UK partner World Land Trust, the Fresno Canyon has been incorporated into the network of private nature reserves. In the past, the canyon had been in the hands of a cattle rancher; now it will be able to recover from years of depredation and the clear-cutting suffered in some areas. Within its 150 hectares, the canyon contains temperate oak forests and exceptionally rich areas of cloud forests; there are more than 30 species of trees from Sweetgum to Mexican Rosewood, ancient oaks 40 meters high, and authentic labyrinths of limestone, since karst is very well developed there. Among the canyon´s inhabitants there are pumas, ocelots, Margays, kinkajous, porcupines, crested guans, green and white-fronted parrots, and the threatened and endemic singing quails.
The canyon is, without doubt, an extremely valuable addition to the areas secured for strict conservation, and its establishment will contribute to maintaining the connectivity in an important biological corridor that forms the Sierra Madre to the east of the Reserve.
Photo of the Month by Roberto Pedraza Ruiz www.sierragordasilvestre.net
An inhabitant of temperate, cloud, and tropical forests in the SGBR, this exemplar of tropical porcupine (Coendu mexicanus) constitutes the first photographic record for the State of Querétaro. Porcupines are rodents that spend most of their lives in trees, feeding on fruits, buds, and leaves; they take refuge in the cavities of old trees.
Porcupines are splendid creatures that live within the forest, and they are in danger of extinction largely because of habitat destruction from our activities and unconsciousness.
The Voice for Civil Participation at the Dubai Global Energy Forum 2011, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
April 19th was the last day of the first global event of its kind in the Emirate of Dubai on energy related issues, and discussed the UAE’s and the world’s CO2 emissions and carbon reductions with inputs and news by some of the world’s most acknowledged energy experts. The Forum was held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and organized by the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy under the theme ‘Energy Challenges and Opportunities for a Sustainable Future’.
Martha Ruiz Corzo, Director of the Sierra Gorda Ecological Group (GESG in Spanish), was invited to speak in the central theme of “The Role of NGOs in Promoting Sustainable Development”. Sierra Gorda´s experience in Mexico inspired the audience with its promising trajectory, attracting special interest for its world-class ecotourism and carbon offsets. Ruiz Corzo received congratulations from Sheikh Ahmed al Maktoum, the Chairman of the Supreme Council on Energy, expressing his intentions to visit the region in the near future.
The Forum witnessed a large interest from local and global media, and the news of the opening ceremony was front page news in Arab and foreign newspapers. The Forum discussed over three days, nine main tracks and 48 papers and researches. Experts, decision makers, representatives of leading energy companies and NGO’s and leading scientists in the field of energy from 25 countries discussed various energy-related topics and ways to ensure sustainability and deal with challenges facing this vital sector.
The civil society organizations in the Arabian Peninsula are marginalized in general and this was an extraordinary opportunity for Mexico to demonstrate the peaceful and collaborative partnership between the federal government and local civil society that has proven successful for the last 24 years in the Sierra Gorda mountains. Martha Ruiz Corzo was the first speaker, followed by her counterparts from the Emirates, Sheikh Dr. Abdulaziz AlNuaimiEnvironmental Advisor to the Ajman Government, UAEto comment on the role of youth in sustainability leadership, and Ms. Habiba AlMarashi Chairperson, Emirates Environmental Group, UAE; and the last speaker from Bahrain spoke to the great need for civil participation to protect he natural resources of the region.