Eco-Alianza's 2020 and early 2021 programs and events posed unique challenges for all of us on how to connect with family and friends. We sincerely miss seeing many of you in person.
On April 24, Eco-Alianza hosted the Third Annual “One Ocean Film Festival” on the elegant grounds of Rancho El Jaral overlooking the beautiful Gulf of California and Parque Nacional Bahía de Lore, our very special place on Earth we all work to conserve and protect. More than 125 supporters enjoyed an outdoor program of nature-related films and presentations after an enjoyable social time and delicious meal served by culinary sponsor, Hotel La Misión Loreto. While following all COVID safety protocols, participants at the fundraising event enjoyed mingling in an outdoor setting. As a result of the generosity of Eco-Alianza’s supporters, attending or absent, sufficient funds were raised to support Environmental Education programs for 2021.
One Ocean Film Festival Earmarked to Support Environmental Education - April 24, 2021 After a year that felt like “everything on hold,” we are happy to announce a resumption of our annual One Ocean Film Festival. Due to ongoing challenges with COVID restrictions, we are changing the venue this year and shortening the duration. Originially scheduled for March of last year, Eco-Alianza's third One Ocean Film Festival is now slated as a one-evening event honoring Earth Day, to take place Saturday, April 24. Proceeds from the event will be earmarked specifically to support Eco-Alianza's expanding environmental education programs (more details below). This year's event will be held outdoors, under the stars, on the lovely private grounds of Rancho El Jaral. [...]
Although Eco-Alianza's traditional anniversary GALA wasn't possible this year due to Covid-19 precautions, an outdoor awards ceremony last month honored Trudi Angell, this year's recipient of Eco-Alianza's Environmental Stewardship Award (commonly referred to as “Conservationist of the Year”).
As reported in our September Soundings, because of Covid-19 precautions, Eco-Alianza's 13th Anniversary will be celebrated along with next year's 14th Anniversary GALA in November of 2021 at the Hotel La Mision. Proceeds from the GALA normally provide the majority of funding for all Eco-Alianza conservation and education programs, so to raise the necessary program funding for the coming year, we are currently holding an Online Fund Drive that officially wraps up on October 31.
For the last six months, Eco-Alianza's employees, donors, and volunteers have played a critical role in seeing Loreto through an extraordinary time – the sudden exodus of most part-year Loreto residents, rampant unexpected unemployment, and the uneasy arrival of the Covid pandemic. At its peak, Eco-Alianza's Temporary Food Security Program for Unemployed Workers was providing twice-monthly food “despensas” to 2,300 local families. With an average of 4.0 people per family served, that's 9,200 people, or roughly half of Loreto's population.
If we are going to protect Loreto and this One Ocean, we see now more than ever that we cannot just treat the symptoms. The center of it all is sustainable economic development and food security. Caring for people and building community through the shared ethic of conservation has been Eco-Alianza's core mission from the beginning.
As we reported to you on May 15, Eco-Alianza's Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program for Unemployed Workers received a huge boost from a 2:1 donation challenge match generously made by an anonymous donor of the International Community Foundation. Responding to our April 7 request for donations, nearly 300 donors kindly opened their hearts and their wallets to help tour guides, waiters, housekeepers, groundskeepers, entrepreneurs, fishermen, stylists, and a huge array of professionals and laborers who were suddenly unemployed when nearly all part-time residents and tourists left Loreto at the height of this year's tourist season because of the pandemic.
At the height of the tourist season, global emergency measures to counter attack the COVID-19 pandemic have placed Loreto in a vulnerable situation -- during the peak months that our ecotour guides, our hotel workers, restaurant workers, and other service workers rely on to put cash in their savings to survive the quiet summer months that typically have few visitors.
In celebration of this year's Loreto Blue Whale Festival, we spoke with Mariana Salgado, Park Ranger and Biologist for the Parque Nacional Bahía de Loreto (PNBL) and also to Bryan Olachea, a Blue Whale researcher who will present “Gigantes del Mar,” a free, bilingual Visiting Scientist talk at the Chili Willy large open-air palapa on the Loreto Malecon, just north of the lighthouse at 5:00 p.m. on March 20.