Tag Archives: Land Conservation

March News and Events

Sierra Gorda Completes “Early Adopter” Assessment Applying Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria

Fonda Los Encinos, La Colgada

“The Sierra Gorda region has solidified their commitment to help their local communities preserve two major conservation areas in the Sierra Gorda region: one in Querétaro and one in the state of San Luis Potosí, through sustainable tourism development and their work in the GSTC Destination Partnership Program. Through this collaboration and network, ecotourism is an impetus for conservation efforts and addressing poverty alleviation full scale. We highly commend Sierra Gorda’s leadership in working towards sustainable development and addressing the current challenges within the region” expressed Dr Kelly Bricker, GSTC Chair, Board of Directors.

Assisted by Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda – destination Liason – Sustainable Travel International conducted an on-site evaluation of Sierra Gorda as part of the GSTC Destination Criteria Early Adopter Program. “The community-driven approach in Sierra Gorda is extraordinary, and at the very heart of Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda’s mission. The destination’s excellent stewardship practices include carbon emission and waste management, the involvement of local community groups in conservation initiatives, and effective capacity building programs for local micro-enterprises. We are confident Sierra Gorda will build on these strengths while adopting recommendations for improvement in the coming period,” concluded Kathleen Pessolano, the “Assesor” and Senior Director of Destinations at Sustainable Travel International.

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Sierra Gorda in Mexico, Iran and Cambodia win International Contest in Socially Responsible Tourism

To Do award ceremony 2

For the first time, Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda represented the network of community ecotourism and nature operators in the Sierra Gorda at ITB Berlin, the International Tourism Bourse, known throughout the world as both the top trade show for the global tourism industry and the largest travel show for private visitors.

Studienkreis für Tourismus und Entwicklung e.V. foundation focuses on socially responsible tourism and on the 5th March they presentedthe awarded tourism projects with theTO DO! 2013 prize since they share the same objective: to improve people’s living conditions by carefully developing tourism products and services in a planned manner – in ecologically valuable areas. The most important criterion for the award is the participation of the local population in the planning and implementation of all the tourism related projects. This establishes a special connection between participation, social responsibility and sustainability.

The regional development project of Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda in the Biosphere Reserve in Querétaro, Mexico, the Chambok Community Based Ecotourism Project in Cambodia at the Kirirom National Park, and the Boomkolbeh – Turkmen Ecolodge at the rim of the Golestan National Park in Iran are the winners of the TO DO! 2013.

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Promoting Women’s Development, UN Women


This past month, long-time conservationist and gender activist Martha “Pati” Isabel Ruiz Corzo participated in the fifty-eighth session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), at United Nations Headquarters, New York. Ms Ruiz Corzo was invited as a panelist to discuss the issue of gender and access to resources, an issue of growing concern and import as cities around the world grapple with achieving both sustainability and a higher degree of resilience, while rural progress and development continues to rapidly advance.

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Attended Ecofest

Ecofest con voluntaria de HSBC

During the last weekend of March, members of the GESG team attended Ecofest in Mexico City, a fair of sustainable products organized by Páginas Verdes (a directory of sustainable businesses in Mexico). It was a great success and we hope that lots of people who visited our stall will visit the Sierra Gorda as responsible tourists.

British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums raise funds for the Sierra Gorda

World Land Trust

Employees of BIAZA – the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums – are taking on a Chilli Challenge to raise funds for land purchase in Mexico’s Sierra Gorda as part of BIAZA Buy an Acre. The aim of BIAZA Buy an Acre is to raise £10,000 to safeguard 100 acres of land in Sierra Gorda, Mexico, in partnership with WLT and WLT’s Mexican partner Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda (GESG). The BIAZA camera-trap will be presented to Roberto Pedraza, GESG’s Technical Director, when he visits London in May.

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Ecoclubs learn about Soil Regeneration

On Saturday 29th March the first of a series of Saturday workshops for members of Ecoclubes Mexico was held by Grupo Ecologico Sierra Gorda in Jalpan de Serra. Members of the Ecoclubes act as environmental ambassadors within their communities and work to encourage others to help look after the planet. This week’s workshop included a presentation by Mario Pedraza the coordinator of the soil regeneration and management program at Grupo Ecologico Sierra Gorda. The members of the Ecoclubes learnt about the negative effect intensive agriculture is having on our soils and wildlife and how alternative methods can help support biodiversity whilst producing excellent harvests.

Read more here

Photo of the month


Counterparts of the surface ecosystems, in the gut of the Sierra Gorda’s limestone rock, water and patient processes over millions of years have created subterranean gardens. Delicate and vulnerable, these subterranean gardens are home to unique and beautiful spots. In this photo, the light and reflection, thanks to a natural skylight, highlighted the rocks’ varied tones, even though they are of the same composition. These spaces deserve all our effort to be protected.

For more information, please contact camillabarnes@sierragorda.net

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Happy New Year from Sierra Gorda



The Sierra Gorda Alliance is working to protect the natural habitat of some of Mexico’s most threatened species, including the stunning Margay. The country’s cloud forests, home to thousands of animal species, have dwindled to just 2% of their original coverage. By working with local communities to protect – not plunder – these natural resources we can continue to protect vital habitats. Help here 

Mexican government agencies join efforts to mitigate climate change


Sierra Gorda is a Savory Hub, replicating holistic land management in Central Mexico

At a meeting on January 21st 2014, with representatives from associations, government authorities and organizations, such as Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda, the general coordinator of Livestock, Francisco Gurría Treviño, announced that a Mexican methodology governed by SAGARPA and SEMARNAT, will be created to measure soil carbon and quantify the value of carbon offsets per ton.

Gurría said that the Livestock Environment Programme will include lines of action to maintain and regenerate soil and rangelands through the holistic management of cattle. It will also emphasise capacity building, replication programs and support farmers in using these new technologies. We hope that with these efforts Mexico will be able to reverse the effects of desertification.

A new season of Earth Festivals

This new year, we have organized 45 Earth festivals, throughout all the municipalities of the Sierra Gorda and also in the nearby states of Hidalgo and San Luis Potosí. The Earth Festivals play an important role in promoting and strengthening the local  traditions and customs, and pay tribute to Mother Earth and the cultural roots of the region. Each year, our Environmental Education team performs a  play about nature. This year’s play will focus on the need to reverse the effects of desertification and to protect birds.

Regional schools, parents and the general public are all involved in the celebrations. The audience also participates by preparing songs, dances, plays, poems and typical regional dishes in order to highlight local traditions. These Earth Festivals act as agents of learning and integration, and strengthen the exchange of knowledge. For our educators, it’s both a pleasure and responsibility to help raise environmental awareness in the local schools and communities, and a way of building generational change to ensure greater protection of our natural resources.



You can help us establish 25 family vegetable gardens for women who are concerned about their family’s diet. They have already been trained in organic production, they now need equipment to increase production so that they can also sell their produce and improve their quality of life. Support here

Don’t waste our reserve!

A living biosphere home to more than 600 communities, the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve relies on community and local government participation in keeping the reserve healthy. Poor waste and water management can have detrimental impacts on the biodiversity and beauty of the region. As such, we recently held a meeting with SEMARNAT (the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources) SEDESU (the Ministry of Sustainable Development) and other local bodies, to deal with these and other environmental issues facing the region. As a result, we have commitment to developing a regional plan for solid waste management, which – among other things – will determine how home and business waste is separated and disposed of, ensure waste is collected separately address the issue of landfills.

We also discussed the need to regulate tourism activities, so that they have less impact on the environment and better respect communities in the region. We aim to develop a scheme that really has economic impact in the region, which will require developing better tourism infrastructure and suitable conditions for visitors.

15% discount on Ecotourism packages to the Sierra Gorda!

Now’s the time to visit our beautiful biosphere! “Like” our Sierra Gorda Ecotours page on Facebook to receive 15% discount on Ecotours packages to the Sierra Gorda. Reserve now

Photo of the month


The low temperatures that the cold fronts are bringing are vital for the health of temperate forests because they help to control forest pests and insect infestations. The presence of frost and ice in this conifer forest in Pinal de Amoles on 9th January was fleeting and as a result, it took perseverance and luck to hunt down images like this one. 


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