Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef

by Fondo Mexicano para la Conservacion de la Naturaleza, A.C.
Play Video
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Jun 26, 2012

Fifth MAR Leadership Report

Fifth MAR Leadership Report 

March 2012 workshop: Induction and fundraising

All three cohorts of the MAR Leadership Program (33 fellows) attended the March workshop.During the workshop, Paquita Bath (Aligning Visions) and Luis Bourillón, Ph.D. (COBI) assisted 2012 fellows in developing their project ideas and integrating them with work proposed by their peers. Norissa Giangola (Spitfire Strategies) taught the cohort skills like how to plan an elevator speech and how to make a good presentation. Eda Roth (Eda Roth & Associates) showed leaders how to ensure that the audience pays attention. Brigitte Seumenicht (Merkatua) engaged all three cohorts in a fun, interactive LEGO activity: creating a model that connected the program’s mission and vision with the fellows’ projects. The 2010 and 2011 cohorts received a very practical and needs-focused fundraising training by Anne McEnany (International Community Foundation).

During the workshop, we took a field trip to visit four fishermen’s cooperatives in Amatique Bay that address topics like no-take zones and hatcheries. We also interacted with a Quechí women’s cooperative that promotes community tourism. Another great experience was our community service activity, where the fellows interacted with students at the Ak’ Tenamit School.  Fellows shared their leadership experiences and explained the importance of MAR conservation.        

Two important documents arose from this workshop: a letter to the Honduran ICF Forestry Development Subdirection in which the MAR Leadership Program supports and encourages Banco Cordelia’s declaration as an Important Wildlife Site, and a letter in which MAR Fellows and the institutions they belong to declare their support for establishing the first-ever marine protected areas in the Guatemalan Caribbean.

June 2012 workshop: Tulum and Punta Allen, Mexico

From June 3-9, 2012 the Mesoamerican Reef Leadership Program (MAR Leadership) held the second workshop for the 2012 cohort of MAR Leaders in the towns of Tulum and Punta Allen, Mexico.

During the workshop, Paquita Bath trained leaders in project design. Tundy Agardi, of Forest Trends, gave a training about payment for marine ecosystem services. Joaquín de la Torre, MAR Leader from the 2011 cohort, did surprise “TV interviews” as part of teaching leaders how to talk to the media. Octavio Aburto, photographer and Co-Principal Investigator at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, gave a talk about the value of mangroves.

Furthermore, Céline Cousteau, explorer and environmentalist, participated as a special guest and gave an inspiring keynote speech. Céline is the granddaughter of the famous underwater explorer Jaques Cousteau.

The MAR Leadership Program sends a special thanks to The Travel Corporation Foundation, donor to and supporter of the program. We enjoyed the participation of two Contiki Holidays staff members in Tulum.

In Punta Allen, a lobster-fishing town in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, leaders learned about the community’s successful efforts to fish sustainably and visited Cuban casitas (lobster shelters) to see how snorklers catch the lobsters. The fishing cooperative has done incredible work over the last 4o years to strengthen and protect their resources.

In addition, the group had several sessions with Carlos Terzano from the consulting firm Personal Development Analysis. He helped leaders identify their strengths and areas of opportunity in interpersonal communication; these skills will be strengthened in future workshops offered by the MAR Leadership Program.

Individual Trainings First semester of 2012

The MAR Leadership program gives all leaders access to a small fund that they can use for personalized training directly related to their projects.

Giacomo Palavicini travels to Belize to learn with shark expert Rachel Graham

In April, Giacomo Palavicini, of the 2012 MAR Leadership cohort, traveled to Belize to participate in a new shark tagging technique with Rachel Graham. The method is called Baited Remote Underwater Videos (BRUV),  and it is a non-invasive technique used with sharks and other key reef predators that are difficult to observe via traditional scuba diving. These new skills will help Giaco with his project in Roatán.

Rachel Graham, who the New York Times recently called “the acquatic Jane Goodall,”1 has more than 10 years of experience in development and protection projects for sharks and rays in Belizean fishing communities. She helps communities create economic alternatives to fishing  via protection of their resources. Her work is internationally recognized; Giaco was thrilled to have the chance to learn from her.

Ana Giro takes Bathymetry course in Mexico with Dr. Will Heyman

In May, Ana Giro participated in a course on bathymetric mapping and reproductive aggregations of fish. The training was given by Dr. William Heyman (ABS, Texas A&M University), Dr. Liam Carr (NOAA Sea Grant, Texas A&M University), and doctoral student Jackie Ziegler (ABS, Texas A&M University, NSF IGERT).

During the training, which took place in Banco Chinchorro and Arrecifes de Xcalak National Parks, they did surveys to obtain bathymetry data and dived to find reproductive aggregations of fish. They then analyzed the data to make bathymetric maps. The skills Ana learned will help her with her project in Guatemala.

Kim Ley travels to Australia

In March, Kim Ley went to Australia to analyze data for his research and continue his training in methods of fish population modeling with Dr. Simon de Lestang. He also visited with his thesis advisor, Dr. Bruce Phillips. Kim is learning innovative methods including the design and management of microsatellites for population monitoring, which will help him study and analyze populations in the Mesoamerican Reef for his project.

2012 Leaders Take PDA

The Personal Development Analysis (PDA) is a behavioral assessment that helps describe an individual’s communication and work styles.  In the MAR Leadership program, we use this tool to identify behavioral strengths and areas of opportunity, both individually and as a group. In January, the 2012 cohort took the PDA. The MAR Leadership team also takes the PDA to learn how to work more efficiently as a team.

In June, in Punta Allen, leaders looked at PDA results and examined the profile of the cohort as a group. Leaders also had one-on-one time to discuss perceptions and give one another feedback.

PDA Work to Continue in Sept.

At the September workshop, which will take place in Tela, Honduras, leaders will receive a training on negotiation and conflict resolution. This training will be  tailored to the needs of the group based on the results of their PDAs.

More information

For more information about the Personal Development Analysis, visit or contact Carlos Terzano,

Project Progress

MAR Leaders from all three cohorts are working hard to implement their projects. Some of the developments we’ve seen in recent months include:

Angeline Valentine (Belize) organized a two-day communications workshop in November 2011 for the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage's Executive Committee, with facilitator Norissa Giangola, who works with MAR Leadership as a communications expert. During the session, Norissa provided attendees with valuable tools for “campaigning to win.” Norissa helped the Coalition produce a communications and campaign strategy that they employed as they moved to referendum on offshore drilling in Belize. The Belize Coalition, in conjunction with Oceana, held a “People’s Referendum” on February 29, 2012, and of the 29,235 voters who participated, an impressive 96 percent voted “no” to offshore drilling, taking a stand to protect Belize’s natural heritage. Oceana continues to push the issue in Belizean courts.1

Nicanor Requena (Belize) has implemented a model for managed access for fishers at Glovers Reef and Port Honduras Marine Reserves, engaging the local community in a managed access committee at each site.

Kim Ley (Mexico) is building on the community work already begun in the Banco Chinchorro and Sian Ka’an biosphere reserves  to promote the natural recovery of lobster and fish populations and their ecosystems. Lobster commercialization is guaranteed through regulated exploitation based on genetic studies of lobster populations; lobsters are caught under the regulations of the CHAKAY brand and the Marine Stewardship Council. Among the impacts of this project are reduced fishing on the reefs, changes in technology and gear for live lobster, reducing fishing efforts with use of Cuban “casitas” and GIS mapping, and better market possibilities via selling  collectively: communities have seen a 30% increase in lobster prices. This project is a model for profitable, sustainable fishing in the region and elsewhere. In June 2012, Kim and Eduardo Pérez Catzin, President of the Cozumel Cooperative, were invited to present the project in Montreal at the International Economic Forum of the Americas. The project was recognized by Andre Laperriere, Deputy CEO of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), as “one of the best projects supported by  the GEF in the recent years.” Congratulations, Kim!

The MAR network at work

In addition to their individual projects, the MAR Leadership Program encourages fellows to network and think about cross-border activities.

In December of 2011, Ana Giro (Guatemala) invited Luis Bourillon (COBI expert) to Guatemala to share Mexico’s experience in implementing marine protected areas. He clarified doubts about the functionality of fish recovery zones (no-take zones) and fisheries co-management mechanisms. Luis’ presence helped government officials understand the importance of recovery zones, and helped advance Ana’s project to establish marine protected areas and no-take zones in Punta de Manabique Wildlife Refuge, Guatemala.

Through workshops and field visits, fellows are also exposed to international experts and job opportunities. For example, Ana Giro met Melanie McField (Executive Director of the Healthy Reefs for Healthy People Initiative (HRI) during one of the program’s workshops. As a result of their contact, Ana now holds the position of Country Representative in Guatemala for HRI.

Staff Transitions

In the first semester of 2012, Romain Doleux and Lourdes Gil left the MAR Leadership Program and two new staff members were hired. Claudia Taylor, who joined the program in April, holds the position of Creative Development Assistant for the program. Carmen Castilla, who joined the team in May, is the program’s Administrative Assistant. 

Claudia has a B.S. in Economics and a B.A. in Hispanic Languages and Literatures from the University of Pittsburgh. Claudia has experience working in a variety of fields, including research, translation, transcription, fundraising, grantwriting, teaching, NGO administration, and communication.

Claudia grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, USA. She has also lived in Brazil and Chile. She speaks English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Carmen was born in Mexico City, and when she was 6 years old her family moved to Monterrey, where she lived for 15 years. She studied International Relations at the ITESM. After graduating, she worked in the Secretariat of the Environment of the State of Puebla organizing events. She has also worked in private events-planning companies, including BCD Meetings & Incentives. She has experience organizing events for companies like Avon, Dupont, Deloitte, Herbalife, and Kodak.

Carmen likes to meet new people and seek experiences that help her grow as a person. She also likes to watch TV series, meditate, spend time with her friends, and travel. In 2011, she traveled for three months throughout Asia.

Thank you!

The MAR Leadership Program sincerely thanks our donors, including individual donors from GlobalGiving, for their exceptional support and generosity.


Mesoamerican Reef Leadership Program

Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature

Calle Damas 49, Colonia San Jose Insurgentes, 03900 Mexico, D.F., Mexico

+52 (55) 5611 9779!/MARLeadership


Attachments: Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Fondo Mexicano para la Conservacion de la Naturaleza, A.C.

Location: Mexico D.F., Distrito Federal - Mexico
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @fondomexicano
Project Leader:
Maria Eugenia Arreola
Cancun, Quintana Roo Mexico
$13,943 raised of $25,000 goal
190 donations
$11,057 to go
Donate Now
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

Fondo Mexicano para la Conservacion de la Naturaleza, A.C. has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.