Fondo Mexicano para la Conservacion de la Naturale

FMCN's mission is to financially support and strengthen efforts for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in Mexico The MAR Leadership Program builds the capacity of local leaders, across four nations, to implement innovative projects that contribute to the ecological health and sustainability of the Mesoamerican Reef (MAR).
Oct 31, 2013

Update Golden Eagle October 2013

Uniting Efforts


Established in 1994 to conserve Mexico’s biodiversity and natural resources through grant-making programs and strategic conservation leadership, Fondo Mexicano para la Conservación de la Naturaleza, A.C. (FMCN) is Latin America’s largest independent national environmental fund and México´s largest conservation organization. FMCN is a non-profit that achieves this mission by channeling financial resources to on-the-ground conservation projects executed by local organizations who have detailed understanding of local conservation challenges. FMCN works closely with its partners to build capacities and consolidate effective civil society organizations. Through its collaboration with civil society, national and international government agencies, and the private sector, FMCN is a national and international environmental leader, leveraging opportunities, fostering exchange, and helping to define conservation priorities. During its 18 years of operation, FMCN has funded more than 1000 conservation projects throughout Mexico, investing more than 65 million dollars in the field. 

 The Golden Eagle Population and Habitat Recovery Project 

Since the origins of Mexican civilization the Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos canadensis) has been considered a celestial symbol and the incarnation of sun and fire. For pre-Hispanic cultures it was a bird of the highest esteem and today it stands as a symbol of our nation at the center on our flag on the coat of arms. In its natural habitat, this raptor plays a fundamental role as a predator that helps maintain balanced populations of other species in arid and semiarid ecosystems found in the mountains and plains of Mexico and North America. Currently, it is estimated that there are fewer than 80 pairs of Golden Eagles left in Mexican territory. 

 This innovative project aims at contributing to the recovery and conservation of wild Golden Eagle populations and their habitat within their historical distribution in Mexico, and to mitigate human impact on the populations of the species.

 In 2009 the National Commission for Protected Areas (Conanp), together with Gaia Editores and FMCN, began and co-financed an educational and public exposure project on the Golden Eagle with additional funds from the business sector (Casa Cuervo).  The results of this first effort are the web page, the book Golden Eagle, Living Symbol of Mexico (Águila real, símbolo vivo de México) and the traveling exhibit bearing the same name.

A window of opportunity: NGOs, government and the private sector working together

FMCN is striving to unite actors from both public and private agencies to ensure long-term actions and to guarantee continuity of the initiative despite changes in the presidential administration. The project includes the participation of Espacios Naturales y Desarrollo Sustentable A.C., FMCN, Conanp, and the National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (Conabio) and also integrates Mexican experts on the topic, players from the public sector, private sector, other civil society organizations, and international organizations such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

 This project is comprised of three strategic components:

1.   Monitoring of the Species

2.    Conservation Actions

3.    Communications and Raising Awareness


Today, the project is being successfully executed and will be able to share with you stellite images of the nest monitoring by January 2014.

Thanks to your effort and support we are viewing a better future for this emblematic bird of prey. In our next report we will show you our first results of implementation of the project regarding conservation and monitoring.

Save the Golden Eagle Team

Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature
Calle Damas 49, Colonia San Jose Insurgentes, 03900 Mexico, D.F., Mexico
+52 (55) 5611 9779








Oct 31, 2013

Accomplishments of Sustainable Rural Life Oct 2013

Dear Sustainable Rural Life friends,

We are more than happy to inform you that the funds from our social enterprise partner Servicio Continental de Mensajeria (SCM) have already been received by us, and work has already begun. Our Yucatan partners are about to begin the first activities required to certify their fuel efficient stoves as carbon bonds in the voluntary carbon markets. Before the year ends, we will have begun the first phase of the certification process, which includes capacity building activities to increase and strengthen the knowledge of our stove users regarding climate change, voluntary carbon markets and the critical route required to sell each bond. Also, we will monitor 1500 fuel efficient stoves, gathering information about their usage, their fuel reduction numbers, and giving maintenance to the equipment when required.

In regards to our other allies, for the following months we have continued our efforts to monitor the usage of the 115 solar pots and 115 fuel efficient stoves within rural communities located in four Mexican states: Baja California Sur, Querétaro, Tabasco and Quintana Roo. The Global Giving donations have made possible to increase current efforts and deliver these ecotechnologies to remote rural places, as well as help supply meals and materials for capacity building workshops in the field.

This amazing project is able to transform communities in three aspects: economical, environmental, and health wise, increasing the quality of life of many rural families exposed to open fires to cook and warm their houses. To date, we are proud to say that more than 1000 families have been directly benefitted from the program. We are excited that the program is now moving to self-sustainability, through the use of carbon bonds and innovative financial schemes.

We thank all our donors who believe in this cause and support us; we hope you continue being part of it.

All the best,

Sustainable Rural Life Team

Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature
Calle Damas 49, Colonia San Jose Insurgentes, 03900 Mexico, D.F., Mexico
+52 (55) 5611 9779



Sep 25, 2013

Mariela's mangroves

Hi everyone!

We're gearing up for the launch of our new call for applications, and soon we'll be interviewing candidates for the 2014 cohort of MAR Leadership! It's a very exciting time.

While we are working on that behind-the-scenes, we'd like to share with you the story of Mariela, 2012 MAR Fellow, and her mangrove restoration project on the island of Guanaja, Honduras. 

Also, remember the video series we shared with you last time? Parts 3 and 4 have been launched, so click here for lionfish or here for lobsters.

And now, without further ado, here's the first half of Mariela's story as related by the staff of Leadership Learning Community, who carried out our external evaluation. We'll share the rest next month.


Heroes of the Swamp

Chapter 1: The Story of Place

“Guanaja” means the island of the Caribbean pine trees. Guanaja is one of the Honduran Bay Islands of striking and diverse geographical beauty, covered in the deep green Caribbean pine trees endemic to the region. When viewed against the turquoise blue water of the Caribbean Sea, it becomes clear why many call this island paradise.

The three main towns on the island are Bonacca, Mangrove Bight, and Savannah Bight. The majority of the population of Guanaja, approximately 10,000 people, lives in Bonacca, which is actually on a cay off the main island. Bonacca has been called the Venice of the Caribbean because of the bridges and canals that connect the community. Passing the island, we can see young kids laughing and jumping into the water from the boat dock.

Guanaja was devastated in 1998 by Hurricane Mitch, a Category 5 hurricane that pounded the island’s coast for three days. Strong winds destroyed one-third of the islands, including homes and hotels, and many were without power for months. Most of the residents of Guanaja have rebuilt their homes; however, many still talk about life pre- and post-Hurricane Mitch, given how much it changed the island. The mangrove population, which used to be thriving, was wiped out entirely. It is estimated today that 95% of the mangroves have not recovered. The skeletons of the mangroves, now black and white, still remain rising high above the water. Among the devastation, small green leaves can be seen poking out of the water; the mangroves are growing back thanks to the heroic efforts of a growing group of dedicated volunteers who have become stewards of the swamp.

Chapter 2: The Story of Mariela

MAR Fellow Mariela Ochoa, a 32-year-old intelligent, tenacious, and jovial woman, is a central character in this story. Mariela’s ability to impeccably plan our site visit demonstrates how proud she is of her work and of the volunteers. She organized boats for travel around the island, presentations, and interviews with community stakeholders and fishermen, as well as traditional meals such as the delicious tapado, or fish coconut soup, and lobster and lionfish ceviche, scheduled for us over the two days that we were visiting Guanaja.

Mariela moved to Guanaja two years ago for a job with the National Marine Park of the Bay Islands, leaving most of her family and support network back in La Ceiba. Though Mariela has many family members who migrated to New York, including her mother, she has found her second family in Guanaja and among the MAR Fellows. Since moving to Guanaja she has been working to replenish the mangrove population of the island.

When asked what sparked her passion for the mangrove plants of Honduras, Mariela shares her story about growing up in a small town in La Cieba in the Garifuna culture. She knew little about the environment or conservation. It was not until she began her university studies in Tourism and Ecology that she was randomly assigned to explore the mangrove ecosystem. As she learned more about the mangroves, she was taken with their beauty and impressed by what she learned about their growing conditions and environmental importance. Eager to share what she learned, Mariela organized a field trip for her classmates to see the mangroves. Needless to say, Mariela aced her class.

Mangroves are essential because they provide nurseries for juvenile lobsters and crabs, and they are an important renewable resource for community building because mangrove wood, being durable and water-resistant, is good for building homes. In Guanaja the mangroves are a particularly important part of the ecosystem because they help prevent the island’s erosion from ocean waves. Mariela’s MAR-L project focusing on mangrove restoration was a perfect coupling of her passion for mangroves and working with the community, including fishermen.

Mariela’s project focuses on repopulating the mangrove forest in the southern part of Guanaja, which was hardest hit during Hurricane Mitch. Her principal project donor is Scott Peterson of Fly Fish Guanaja, and over a dinner at his hotel on our first night in Guanaja, the mangrove volunteers discussed how this project has been a labor of love. As Mariela explains, “There weren’t even enough seeds to collect to be able to replant the trees along the coast. When we started our project we had to go to other Bay Islands to get seeds to plant here on Guanaja.” Then began the process of trial and error. They moved their garden away from the beach where seeds were being devoured by blue crabs. As they moved their mangrove gardens inland, they were faced daily with the labor-intensive challenge of transporting the salt water required by the plants to their inland home.

Through ingenuity and hard work, Mariela, together with schoolchildren and community volunteers, perfected her approach and now has the most successful nursery to date, producing 100,000 mangroves last year: 50,000 red and 50,000 black and white. MAR-L hopes of project replication have taken seed with Mariela. She has received funding to create a manual of mangrove restoration, with Guanaja as a case study. Mariela sees this as an opportunity to help others learn from and adopt the process used in Guanaja. She hopes that her work with the mangroves will be replicated not only elsewhere in Honduras but also in the rest of the MAR region.


Thanks for reading and for your support of MAR Leadership! Keep an eye out next month to hear the story of Mariela's project and how MAR-L has impacted her life. 

Mariela in the mangrove nursery
Mariela in the mangrove nursery
Happy volunteers (and seeds) at the nursery
Happy volunteers (and seeds) at the nursery


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