During the months of April, May, June and July, the educational program held 22 virtual meetings with 681 elementary, middle and high school teachers and 44 students. Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda took the attendees through an agenda that touched on the following themes: current state of the planet (climate disruption), biodiversity in the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, forest environmental services, the Zero Waste campaign and environmental awareness.
Teachers participated from the municipalities of Jalpan de Serra, Landa de Matamoros, Arroyo Seco, Pinal de Amoles and the Huasteca of San Luis Potosí State. The student group participated from Caborca, Sonora. Everyone showed a lot of interest in the presentation and some shared their experience.
With respect for the health measures created in response to the health contingency, we held a workshop at the Tonatico Ranch School. 24 high-school aged young people participated in the program called, “Nature- based solutions.” The agenda had many practices for healthy living. It included a forest walk to discuss the carbon capture and water storage in the Sierra Gorda, regenerative management of soils, organic agriculture, healthy eating, how to make preserves, gardening using bio-intensive methods, biofertilizers, and composting. The training includes talks about the biodiversity within the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve and environmental threats to the region and the consequences of climate disruption. We also shared our campaign to minimize waste with the final goal of Zero Waste.
In April we visited 82 businesses to continue spreading the word about the campaign to reduce waste. The businesses have made the commitment to avoid the use of single-use products in their sales. All together we have hung up 80 signs with messages about zero waste.
We had 12 community meetings with the 154 participants, all taking the necessary precautions, wearing masks and maintaining a safe distance. In those meetings we talked about the campaign to reduce waste and the prevention of forest fires within the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve communities.
Another very relevant activity during this time, has been the distribution of 5,161 didactic materials to teachers, who through parental committees have distributed them to students. In this way we have informed students about climate change and the actions that we should take to counteract the warming of the planet.
Two murals in public spaces were painted in this period emphasizing the need to care for ecosystems, with the words, “Starting forest fires is a Federal Crime.”
344 people participated in 14 clean up campaigns along the main roads in the municipalities of Landa de Matamoros, Japlan de Serra, Arroyo Seco and Pinal de Amoles.
Taking advantage of the rain, we have up until now delivered 9,085 trees for community reforestation. The species list includes: trivets, ash, a variety of palm trees, jacarandas, white cedars, red cedars, etc.
During the months of January, February and March we held 12 virtual meetings with 626 teachers from early education, elementary, middle, high school and higher education as well as with some young students. The team at Grupo Ecológico gave a presentation called, “Building awareness about the climate emergency: A local call to action.” It encompasses the following themes: State of the Planet, Biodiversity, Forest Ecosystem Services, “Zero Waste” Campaign and Environmental Awareness.
The participating teachers were from Jalpan de Serra, Landa de Matarmoros, Arroyo Seco, Pinal de Amoles and the Huasteca Potosí. The students participated from Rioverde, S.L.P, Bahía de Kino, Sonora, and we had a session with the Human Rights Ombudsman in Querétaro. The talks covered the richness of the biodiversity of the Sierra Gorda, ecosystem services and a local call to action.
In March, we invited the vendors in the Municipal Mercado of Jalpan de Serra to become green businesses and to stop the practice of selling their products in plastic bags, plastic wrap, and other single use materials like aluminum foil. We gave the participants a sign that says “This Business is Green” inviting their clients to join the Zero Waste Campaign, and bring their reusable bags to market.
We also held 52 community meetings, with another 629 participants. We respected the sanitary measures of maintaining a safe distance and wearing face masks. We presented on the campaigns to reduce solid waste and forest fires. We passed through the different municipalities of the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, providing information over a loudspeaker, we gave out brochures promoting the forest fire prevention campaign, we hung signs with messages about preventing forest fires in Carrizal de los Sánchez in Jalpan de Serra, in Neblinas, el Lobo, Otates in Landa de Matamoros and Sauz de Guadalupe in Pinal de Amoles.
In order to emphasize and spread awareness about the caring for our ecosystems, we painted two murals in public areas with the themes- take care of the planet and separating solid waste.
We painted two murals with the words, “Starting a forest fire is a Federal crime.”
We visited 243 businesses to continue spreading the word about the minimization of solid waste campaign.
We gave vendors, 100 flyers with the message “Be part of the solution” and 288 climate action magazines.
The environmental educational program carried out 26 Earth Festivals during the month of February and in the first days of March and held community meetings to engage the community in conserving our green patrimony. We had planned to hold reforestation activities in school yards and with communities this year, but because of the COVD-19 with schools closed, we only performed reforestation activities with communities.
Thanks to our partners Earth Day Network, we were able to deliver 30,000 trees to 58 communities. The trees delivered included; White Cedar, Red Cedar, Ash, Jacaranda, White leadtree, Pink poui, Chinaberry Tree, Privet, Mexican fan palm, Miniature date palm, Bottle palm.
We have continued to do outreach to children and young people even though schools are closed, by providing materials to teachers, who send weekly homework packets home with parents. These have included posters featuring pollinators and biodiversity coloring books with the flora and fauna of the Sierra Gorda.
We have also painted eight murals related to preventing forest fires, saving water, caring for birds and biodiversity, run weekly radio programs, and published to social media in order to raise awareness of how privileged the 100,000 of us are to live here, in the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve. And the need to respect this natural protected area, and our personal responsibility to prevent forest fires.
Our objective is to make communities aware of our shared natural wealth and all of the services green areas provide; counteracting global warming, producing food, providing bird habitat, improving water capture and creating microclimates.
We are grateful to Earth Day Network for their support and to you all for helping us reach communities during this unprecedented year.
First of all we´d like to thank our supporters for voting for our project during the 2020 Photo Contest campaign by GlobalGiving.
A special thanks to those who signed up to recieve these reports, tripling the impact of your vote.
Since March 18th schools in our state of Querétaro have been closed. As a result we have been preparing an online curriculum for teachers to teach their students about environment in an online format.
We have also been sharing some didactic materials online, through our social media channels, fr parents to use with their students at home.
In order to continue our work on the campaign to minimze solid waste in the Sierra Gorda, we have been in contact with officials and vendors from the five municipalities (Jalpan de Sierra, Landa de Matamors, Pinal de Amoles, Peñamiller, and Arroyo Seco). We have recommended that vendors use reusable materials for packaging rather than one time use disposable ones where possible.
In the different markets and commercial centers we have hung signs about not using single use plastic bags, proper trash disposal, separating trash from recycling and organic materials, and how to start your own compost.
We distributed reusable bags to merchants so they can spread awareness of the campaign to their customers.
GRUPO ECOLÓGICO SIERRA GORDA
COMMUNITY ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION PROGRAM
The Earth Festivals
Every year during the months of February, March, April and May with the help of docents and educational networks, The National Council for Educational Development (CONAFE) and Initial Education, a program of the Secretary of Public Education, we complete 50 Earth Festivals.
The Earth Festivals are cultural events that have a goal of rescuing and promoting the roots and traditions of the Sierra Region, and also fomenting the culture of environmental protection. In the 2020 festivals the central theme is “Minimizing Solid Waste,” but more than anything they are a hommage of respect and love for our Mother Earth. Educational insitutions, parents, and the general public, organize the events in their community to that end. Elementary Schools participated in this ocassion and developed cultural programming that included participation in theatrical productions, choral performances, poetry recitals, expositions of work done in schools relevent to conservation. The mothers also participate each year by creating demonstrations of gastronomy from the local community that they share with all the festival participants. They showcase typical dishes from the region, highlighting natural ingredients like cactus, oak flowers and different plants and edible tubers.
Promoters of the program, in order to build awareness in the population in the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, presented the play, “The Evil of Basuroso on Earth.” They did so with the objective of teaching the audiences the appropriate management of solid wastes, inorganic trash, organic waste, and sanitary waste and above all reducing the amount of trash that we produce daily. They also gave the students and adults posters that show graphically how to separate solid waste, and booklets with practical advice for reducing your ecological footprint. By the same thread, students were recognized and given a chance to share their point of view about what they understood from the play and sharing the necessity for everyone to participate in the conservation of nature.
In this period we completed 26 events in different municipalities and zones of influence in and around the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve. We had 2,348 students, 40 Elementary Schools, 88 teachers, 643 plates demonstrating gatronomical heritage, 741 homemakers and community leaders and community members participate.
Thes events have an environmental impact because they encourage people to replicate activities in their communities and schools through building awareness in themes like: reducing solid waste, separating solid waste, preventing forest fires, saving water, and avoiding purchasing of throwaway products.
Due to the spread of COVID-19 we did need to suspend activities in March and cancelled 24 Earth Festivals.
Mónica from the community of Adjuntas de Ahuacatlan.
The Earth Festivals teach us a lot and in this instance I learned that we need to think about nature, we´re destroying it and we should take care of that little bit that is left. Separating our trash at home, teaching our kids to participate, making sure that everyone in our houses are involved in taking care of that which is around us, and that our neighbors learn to do the same. That way we can have clean water, clean air, healthy forests. We hope Grupo Ecológico will keep teaching us different ways to take care of our communities.
It´s good that you all visit us because we all learn, our children and all the families. And I hope you keep bringing these festivals to thank nature for all of the blessings it gives us and also to share as a community. Thank you Grupo Ecológico for visiting us.
Graciela from the community of Zoyapilca.
I only want to say that we need to put into practice all that Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda, has taught us, so that we don´t continue contaminating our communities. And that our children teach us and are an example of that which they are learning. Together, as a community we can take care of and maintain the wellbeing of all of the nature in our community.
Thanks Grupo Ecológico for visiting us and bringing us these messages which are so helpful to us for taking care of and respecting that which surrounds us.
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