Our project aims to restore and conserve the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve's (MBBR) forest ecosystem and improve the quality of life of its human population. We facilitate peer-led workshops where local farmers learn to use their natural resources sustainably and contribute to the conservation and restoration of the MBBR ecosystem.This unique forest provides critical winter habitat for millions of monarch butterflies that migrate to Mexico from Canada and the United States every fall.
Commercial logging, domestic wood harvesting, conversion to agriculture, and other human pressures threaten the ecological health of the MBBR. Poor and marginalized communities and overwintering monarchs share and depend on this unique forest ecosystem which helps conserve the watersheds that provide drinking water to the local population and Mexico City. Engaging communities in the restoration and conservation of the forest will improve their quality of life and preserve the monarch migration.
Using a participatory farmer-to-farmer (campesino-to-campesino) methodology we recruit individuals who voluntarily sign up to learn sustainable production models and train their peers. Workshops are centered on forest conservation (sustainable use and management, collective tree nurseries,reforestation) and alternative construction practices (adobe instead of wood to build homes, construction of fuel-efficient stoves,cisterns to capture rain-water).
Our methodology fosters the continuation of our model as campesinos form work groups and replicate the training process. Work groups elect individuals from the group to be trained as "local-rural instructors" who in turn train incoming work-groups, thus multiplying the process. Future estimates are variable but so far we have carried out more than 1,000 workshops, established 100 working groups in 30 distinct communities, directly benefiting over 800 families- more than 6,000 individuals.