Loreto Hosts 20th Anniversary and Annual
Meeting of Grupo Tortuguero

Francisco “Pancho” Mayoral helps teach local children about nesting sea turtles.
Photo courtesy of Richard Jackson

Later this month, the talk around Loreto will be all about sea turtles! One of Eco-Alianza’s regional partners, Grupo Tortuguero, will hold its 20th anniversary, and its annual meeting and workshops, right here in Loreto, and you are welcome to take part (see instructions below).

We asked them to introduce themselves:

By Hoyt Peckham

Grupo Tortuguero de las Californias A.C., (GTC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of sea turtles in Northwest Mexico and the Mexican Pacific. We work as a network of civil society organizations, fishers and communities with work in a little more than 50 sites along the coasts of Northwest Mexico. We involve researchers and students in the region, as well as representatives of the government bodies dedicated to the protection and conservation of sea turtles.

Each year, representatives of all our sea turtle monitoring sites, both nesting areas and feeding areas, gather in the month of January for the Annual Meeting of the Grupo Tortuguero. This year we celebrate 20 years of success, when we gather from 26 to 28 January 2018 in Loreto, BCS.

Eco-Alianza Education Coordinator Edna Peralta explains the sea turtle nesting process to Loreto children.
Photo courtesy of Richard Jackson

The main objective of the Annual Meeting is to provide a forum for the exchange of information, experiences and best practices among the members of conservation groups, of communities, research institutes, government entities, students, fishermen, scientists and volunteers in the Northwest and Pacific Coast of Mexico. In addition, the meeting allows an update by groups on the events of the year, present and past, results, achievements, threats, challenges, and future projects in the short term.

The Annual Meeting of GTC is an ideal space for the exchange of opinions, concerns, and to make suggestions among groups; as well as to find points in common and to seek continuous improvement in order to achieve a more unified and homogeneous organization. The annual meeting and celebration complies with the principles of our mission: “to empower individuals and communities to conserve sea turtles and their environment”.

(If you are interested in attending any or all of the three-day annual meeting sessions, a donation of $500 pesos payable at registration will cover all materials, lunch, and coffee break supplies. However, to enable GTC to plan accordingly, you must reserve your place by sending an email to: info@grupotortuguero.org .)


Eco-Alianza Teams up with RED to Assist Fishing Cooperatives

This month, as part of Eco-Alianza’s marine and coastal conservation program, and also in preparation for its Eco-Ventures entrepreneurial business incubator projects, four members of Eco-Alianza’s staff will receive training from a partner organization, RED Turismo Sustentable, AC, out of La Paz. The nonprofit organization has been working for more than five years with fishermen involved with ecotourism.

Photo courtesy of Octavio Aburto-Oropeza

Specifically, they will be training Eco-Alianza staff on how to use a proven methodology called ERE to conduct entrepreneur diagnostics for fishing cooperatives. Eco-Alianza already has been working closely with several fishing cooperatives in improving their business and marketing skills. The four days of training from RED will take place from January 22 to January 25.

Watch this space next month for an announcement of five new start-up businesses ready to begin a 6-month “incubation” process with Eco-Alianza.

Guest Column – “Ventura Strong”

You may remember Caryl Cantrell as our “guest announcer” from the 10th Anniversary gala in November. We asked her to share her thoughts as a member of Ventura’s Sister City Committee and a lifelong resident of our Sister City, which was ravaged by wildfires last month.


Photos courtesy of Caryl Cantrell

By Caryl Cantrell

It’s been over one month since the devastating Thomas Fire swept through Ventura County. I had my own terrifying experience but I am so grateful I have my home and my family has theirs and they are safe. Being a fourth generation Venturan, it’s heartbreaking to see popular landmarks in town barricaded, closed, and surrounded by ashes. If the wind blows just right or the damp morning air stirs up the smell of ashes, all of us are reminded of our recent tragedy.

Each day since, we learn about another person who has lost their home and everything they owned. We hear about someone who had to leave town due to their allergies or lung conditions. Many lost their jobs and livelihood and must look for other work and perhaps leave the city they love.

Fundraisers of every kind are going on to fund repairs or replace a passion near and dear to their hearts. This will go on for some time. Ventura will come back stronger and as beautiful as ever. This tragedy affected everyone whether they were evacuated, lost power or just traumatized by the sound of a helicopter flying overhead.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the turn of events this week. The rains came this past week and we were all warned about impending mudslides in the hillsides after such wildfires. We gathered our sandbags to protect our homes and property but it didn’t happen in our County, but to our beautiful neighbors 20 minutes to the north in Montecito, Santa Barbara County. Large boulders and mud plunged through neighborhoods carrying everything in its path toward the ocean. At this writing, 17 people are dead and several still missing. These are our friends and neighbors reportedly ages 3 to 89 have perished. Please, friends in our beloved Sister City of Loreto, keep everyone affected in your thoughts and prayers as they get through this and their loved ones are found.

Fotografía cortesía de VCStar.com

This series of heartbreaks is just a setback in making the City of Ventura and our neighbors whole again. We must all hold each other up and move forward together and that is what the people of Ventura are all about. #VenturaStrong

Photo courtesy visitventuraca.com

Eco-Alianza Staffers Receive Federal Certification

Last month, three Eco-Alianza staff members (Hugo Quintero Maldonado, Alex Estrada Mendoza, and Brenda García Ríos), received a federal certification that will help Eco-Alianza advance its marine and coastal conservation programs.

The riparian “ECO820” certification relates to monitoring fishing activity based on generating fisheries biology and socio-economic information. Required knowledge and ability includes differentiating the various types of fishing gear used in fishing for species of commercial importance, as well as measuring accurately the biological data on each species (e.g., length and weight).

Photos by Eco-Alianza Staff

“This will help us to be able to analyze the updated status of coastal fishing activity based on data generated in a reliable manner, and to generate tools for good management of fisheries resources such as the Management Plan of the Chocolate Clam, which was formulated with information generated by the fishermen of the localities in conjunction with the competent authorities,” says Brenda.

The certification was facilitated by the federal agency INCA Rural (Instituto Nacional para el Desarrollo de Capacidades del sector Rural). This certification has national recognition and is awarded by CONOCER (Consejo Nacional de Normalización y Certificación de Competencias Laborales).

“Nature Notes” is a monthly short feature detailing some of the wondrous, seasonal activities taking place around us.


Click on image to see larger. Clockwise from upper left:
Broad-billed Hummingbird (Cynanthus latirostris),
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus),
Chilean Lake Duck (Oxyura vittata),
Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus)
Photos courtesy of Tom Haglund/BCS Birds

By Tom Haglund

Wanderers far from home are not at all uncommon among the birds of the world — after all, they do have wings. We get our fair share of visitors from other environments here in Loreto.

This Broad-billed Hummingbird may be a mere 170 kilometers from home, but its route to Loreto was almost entirely over water (Gulf of California), and completely devoid of food along the way. It may have made the most arduous trip of this bunch. This is the fourth year in a row it has been seen in Nopoló, and that probably indicates that it is the same bird. It seems perfectly healthy, but we can’t help but suspect some degree of loneliness!

The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher is the state bird of Oklahoma, and its normal range isn’t really a lot closer than that, perhaps 500 kilometers average. For a bird that eats insects in agricultural areas, a trip across deserts, mountains, and expanses of salt water seems unthinkable. They have been seen at least twice here in Loreto; once it was a male and female together. Maybe a case of the old, “Let’s try a new neighborhood.”

The Chilean Lake Duck and the Monk Parakeet are both from at least 5,000 kilometers south and likely arrived so far north in captivity. The duck could have escaped a zoo or some other kind of collection, and it is widely accepted that the Monk Parakeets were originally introduced through the pet trade.

Of the group presented here, only the Monk Parakeet has hung on and made Baja California Sur its new home. There are perhaps 50 in Loreto’s breeding colony. They are also thriving as introduced species in other areas of both North and South America.

Calendars Still Available
If you suddenly realized it’s 2018 and you didn’t
get a beautiful calendar, it’s not too late!

The calendars are available for sale by check in the USA and Canada – mailed to:

Eco-Alianza de Loreto, A.C.
3419 Via Lido, Ste 402
Newport Beach, California 92663

$10.00USD + shipping – $3.14 USA
$10.00USD + shipping – $9.45 Canada
$180 MXN or $10.00 USD – Purchased in Loreto.

We accept debit, credit cards and cash.

Local purchases for calendars in Loreto can also be made by debit, credit card and cash.

Calendar sales help support Eco-Alianza’s Environmental Education programs for Loreto youth and are also available at Eco-Alianza’s downtown headquarters, Jackson Gallery in the Plaza, Hotel La Mision and several supporting retail locations in town, and at Corazón Café in Loreto Bay.

Centro Comunitario para el Medio Ambiente
#3 Miguel Hidalgo
Esq. Romanita
Col Centro
Loreto, B.C.S.