Oct 5, 2020

All the best to the 2019 Cohort!

Dear GlobalGiving Friends,

We hope you and your family are well and healthy.

We are happy to inform you that the 2019 cohort concluded its training cycle. Over one year (Aug 2019-Jul 2020), the MAR leaders learned about fisheries management and the tools available. They learned about the MAR's main fisheries, conservation tools including marine reserves, natural protected areas, conservation schemes, socio-ecological systems, the relationship between humans and the environment, and conservation projects' design.

They also received training in resource mobilization, negotiation and conflict resolution, public policy advocacy, strategic communication, personal development, and leadership styles from international trainers in a 15-day workshop that took place in Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, in September 2019. Between September 2019 and July 2020, Fellows continued learning through online seminars and received mentoring from experts to design their projects. The webinars included topics such as Eco-Certifications in Fisheries, What are the Schemes and How do they Work, Voluntary Guidelines for Achieving Sustainability in Small Scale Fisheries, Citizen Science in Marine Conservation - How to Generate Information with Coastal Communities, Fisheries Landscape in the MAR and the World and Managing Emotions in Times of COVID-19.

With the spread of Covid-19 and MAR Leadership's commitment to our community's health and safety, we canceled the in-person graduation of the 2019 cohort. It was sad that this cohort did not have graduation like past generations, but we worked hard to provide them with an unforgettable experience. In a video conference, the Director of the MAR Leadership Program thanked Leaders for their confidence in the program and reiterated that their participation does not end now. On the contrary, there will be many opportunities to continue growing personally and professionally, continue connecting with other leaders and experts, and collaborate and co-create to contribute to the Mesoamerican Reef System's sustainability. Afterward, each fellow received a diploma, and they shared their experience remembering anecdotes from the September 2019 workshop. A video was shown with moving speeches from each leader, as well as another video with photos that reminded them of memorable moments. Finally, the event concluded with a toast and a very entertaining conversation.

All the best to the MAR Leadership 2019 Cohort

2019 cohort projects

1. Turneffe case study to create an adaptive lobster Fishery management model in Belize. The Belizean team intends to implement improvements in the lobster fishery in Turneffe Atoll, Belize. The project considers working with the atoll fishing community as part of the transition to Managed Access. It will characterize the fishery in the protected area, including trap distribution, fishing gear, and fishery data collection. A tagging study and outreach campaigns will be conducted with the fishing community.

2. Biological and socioeconomic characterization of manjúa fishing (family: Engraulidae) in the Caribbean of Guatemala. The Guatemalan team intends to work with the manjúa fishery in the Caribbean of Guatemala participatory science, characterization of the fishery, and design of best practice processes.

3. Sport Fishing without leaving traces in the Bay Islands National Marine Park. This team aims to promote sustainable sport fisheries by establishing fishing management tools on the Island of Roatan. They will implement community monitoring, rules for resource use, minimum sizes, and promote eco-certification through a co-management scheme. The project's main objective is to get sport fishers to implement better fishing practices through an eco-certification, which involves their participation in community biological monitoring and training to release certain species correctly. Before COVID-19, our schedule of activities proposed to start socializing the project and the eco-certification with the corresponding government institutions by mid-2020. However, due to the pandemic situation, we restructured the project to begin in 2021. Nevertheless, we have made progress with the coordinators of the sportfishing tournaments in Utila and Roatán. They are willing to participate in the project and understand the importance of establishing regulations for this activity in the PNMIB and at the national level.

4. Tools for the transition to territorial use rights in the MAR fishery. The second team from Honduras seeks to develop strategies to implement property rights in coastal fisheries. The fisheries will be characterized through a fisheries monitoring process implemented in collaboration with 13 lagoon communities. A socioeconomic diagnosis will be carried out, and the process of implementing a land rights program for fishing in the lagoon will be designed. Currently, communities and fishers monitor landings monthly and are in the process of analysis to learn the status of the fishing resource. Likewise, socioeconomic information is being collected from the fishing communities through the implementation of telephone surveys due to the situation of COVID-19; these data will be ready by the end of this year.

5. Design and implement long-term monitoring of elasmobranch populations in the Northern Mexican Caribbean to search for sustainable use and conservation. This project aims to understand the composition of shark and ray species in this region, identify the direct threats to their populations, know the areas they use, and evaluate the impact that fishing and tourism activities have on them, creating long-term monitoring that involves the community. This is done to generate management and conservation strategies that allow for the maintenance of healthy populations in the long-term and propose sustainable use alternatives that will enable local communities to continue to take advantage of their resources.

Do you want to know more?
Contact us!

Aug 24, 2020

Pushing forward into the next phase

Family in Coahuila with wood-saving stove
Family in Coahuila with wood-saving stove

(Español abajo)

Dear Friends,

We are happy to share that, thanks to your support this past year, we have pressed onward with Sustainable Rural Life by developing the next cycle of the project, to be implemented in the Tehuacán Puebla municipality of southeastern Mexico, benefitting the Santa Ana Teloxtoc community. This new cycle consists in the purchase and installation of 245 firewood-saving stoves, teaming up with the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Biosphere Reserve through the National Commission on Protected Areas (CONANP).

This community, like many others in the region, continues to use open fire stoves to cook, which consume an average of 100 kg of firewood weekly in order to prepare food for a family of six. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the generalized use of firewood in this form results in the premature death of 1.6 million people per year. This is due to respiratory-related disease derived from inhaling large amounts of smoke, and women and children seem to be at greater risk. 

The use of wood-saving stoves such as the Ecoestufa is an effective and reliable alternative, able to mitigate the harmful effects of firewood cooking and reduce the use of fuel by up to 75%, with all of the subsequent positive health impacts for the supported families.

We have already purchased the stoves; however, we have not been able to execute their delivery and the training for their correct use due to the global pandemic. We hope that contingency conditions improve soon so that we may carry out the necessary field visit to fulfill this leg of the project and benefit hundreds more rural homes in Mexico. 



Estimados amigos:

Tenemos el agrado de comunicarles que, gracias a sus apoyos recibidos en este semestre, hemos continuado con Vida Rural Sustentable desarrollando el siguiente ciclo del proyecto en el municipio de Tehuacán Puebla, en la comunidad de Santa Ana Teloxtoc. En esta ocasión consiste en la compra e instalación de 245 estufas ahorradoras de leña en coordinación con la Reserva de la Biosfera de Tehuacán-Cuicatlán de la Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas (Conanp).

Esta comunidad, como muchas en esta región del país, sigue utilizando fogones abiertos para cocinar, los cuales consumen un promedio de 100 kg semanales de leña para preparar los alimentos de una familia de 6 personas.

Según la Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS), el uso generalizado de estos combustibles provoca la muerte prematura de 1.6 millones de personas al año a causa de enfermedades relacionadas con las vías respiratorias y derivadas de la inhalación de grandes cantidades de humo, siendo las mujeres y los niños los más afectados. 

El uso de estufas ahorradoras de leña, como la Ecoestufa, es una alternativa de solución efectiva y confiable para mitigar los efectos nocivos de cocinar con leña, reduciendo hasta el 75% del uso de combustible con los subsecuentes impactos positivos en la salud de las familias beneficiadas.

La compra de las Ecoestufas ya se realizó, sin embargo, la entrega y la capacitación para usarse no se han podido efectuar debido a la pandemia que actualmente estamos viviendo. Estamos esperando que las condiciones de salubridad mejoren y nos permitan hacer la visita de campo necesaria para ejecutar este ciclo de VRS y beneficiar a cientos de hogares rurales.

Jul 7, 2020

We welcome 35 new members into the herd!

Happy bison!
Happy bison!

Dear friends,

Each spring, a new generation of bison is born. This year, we are happy to announce that we welcomed 35 new members into our conservation herd. The calves will stay close to their mothers and older siblings and form small family units within the herd. Males will stay in the group until age five, when they will venture away alone or with other males, only to return during mating season.

Bison are a fundamental component of the ecological integrity of native grasslands. We are working to increase the area were our bison currently roam to continue with the restoration of these lands.

Your support is paramount for the continuation of our work. Thank you for joining us on this journey, and please consider renewing your contribution to the project. 


Francisco Ehrenberg

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