Limited Tickets Still Available for One Ocean Film Festival,
March 23 and 24

Four films – two magical nights under the stars! Join us in our enchanting outdoor courtyard for Eco-Alianza’s first annual “One Ocean Film Festival” – a two-evening event that explores the miracles of the ocean that we all share. Come for one evening or come for both!

This year’s festival offers four captivating feature films shot almost entirely in the Gulf of California and the Baja Peninsula and are perfect for both English and Spanish speakers. The stunning images in these films communicate the message: we share these waters with some of the most amazing creatures on the planet. They are creatures and habitats worth conserving.

Presenting the films will be award-winning cinematographers, directors, and conservationists who will discuss their work briefly and be available for questions afterwards. Eco-Alianza staff will be available before and after the films to answer questions about conservation projects in which they are involved.

Free popcorn is included with your admission. Wine, soft drinks, and appetizers will be available for purchase. Seating is limited (cushioned chairs), so buy your tickets now online or in the Eco-Alianza lobby. Descriptions of each film, and information about our presenters, is available on the ticket site.

Doors open at 6:45 pm, so plan to arrive early to get your favorite seats. Lights go out and our program begins promptly at 7:35. Please plan to be seated by 7:30.

The “One Ocean Film Festival” is a partnership event between Eco-Alianza, Parque Nacional Bahía de Loreto (PNBL) and the state university, UABCS. Visit the Ticket Site for more information on the films and presenters. Your online ticket guarantees you a seat.

Friday, March 23

Ocean Oasis, in Spanish, with English subtitles (40 minutes)
Intermission (15 minutes)
Shadows in a Desert Sea, in English (52 minutes)
Special Guest Presenter: Johnny Friday, Emmy-award Winning Cinematographer
Special Guest Presenter: Israel Popoca, Subdirector and Acting Director, Bay of Loreto National Park
Special Guest: Mariana Salgado, Conservation Biologist, Bay of Loreto National Park

Saturday, March 24

Azul Intangible, in Spanish, with English subtitles (67 minutes)
Intermission (15 minutes)
Mar Vivo/A Reef Reborn, in Spanish (24 minutes)
Special Guest Presenter: Eréndira Valle, Director of Azul Intangible
Special Guest Presenter: Judith Castro, Cabo Pulmo conservationist

Johnny Friday began his career as underwater cameraman and scuba diver in 1991. He has over a decade of experience in digital imaging and has worked with a variety of underwater film legends. His skill set includes a wide array of digital filmmaking tools, a fierce work ethic, and a demand to capture the extraordinary images utilizing research, technology, and experience.

Johnny Friday has an Emmy Award for his camera work in the National Geographic “Great Migrations”, and is Cine Golden Eagle Award recipient for the National Geographic Special “Icy Killers”.

Israel Popoca has worked in the Bay of Loreto National Park since 2008, currently serving as Subdirector and acting Director. In his roles with the Park he has worked to generate conservation and productive projects with the fishing communities, plan projects with the Park staff and NGOs, and pursue various strategies to conserve the biodiversity of the Park.

Israel earned his degree in Oceanography in Ensenada and his Master’s degree in Ecosystem Management in the Coastal Zone, at the Autonomous University of Baja, California. His Master’s thesis explored beach quality issues in Loreto and Nopoló durring 2005. He has completed several professional level trainings for the planning of Marine Protected Areas — from NOAA, The Nature Conservancy, the German agency Biomar, and the Mexican Fund for Nature Conservation, among others.

Mariana Salgado serves as a biologist and environmental educator in the Bay of Loreto National Park. She was born in Mexico City and studied Biology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Mariana arrived in Loreto in 2009, and has worked for the last three years in PNBL, where she is in charge of biological monitoring (whales, sea birds, sea turtles, etc.) and environmental education. She will not be a presenter at the film festival, but will be on hand afterwards to answer questions about her conservation work.

Eréndira Valle studied filmmaking at the University Center for Film Studies (CUEC) in the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Since her time at the University, her films have specialized on biodiversity and marine conservation themes.She has won various national and international awards and her documentaries have been shown all around the world. She most recently directed the first and second seasons of the series Islands of Mexico, a production of Channel 11 National Polytechnic IPN.

Today Eréndira runs a nonprofit association named “Cabet Culture and Environment”, which directs the project of untangling Sea Lions (Lobos Marinos) in BCS under a remote sedation technique, making this organization a leader in Mexico and Latin America about this topic. Her effort has earned a Recognition for Nature Conservation in the field of mass media, made by the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas in 2017.

Granddaughter of Jesus Castro, the Cabo Pulmo pearl diver, Judith Castro was born in La Paz. She spent her first twenty years traveling back and forth to Cabo Pulmo where Enrique, her father, and her brothers were fishermen. After leaving school Judith went to study and work in different parts of Mexico returning finally to Cabo Pulmo in 2008. Since then her primary focus has been the preservation and defense of the National Park. She has become a leader and spokesperson for Cabo Pulmo’s vision all over the world. Joining with the efforts and dedication of many others, now a mother of a 9-year-old boy, Judith has contributed in many ways to make Cabo Pulmo what it is today.

Marine Park, Loreto Bay/Nopoló, and Eco-Alianza Volunteers Collect Truckloads of Litter in Cooperative Cleanup Day; Encore Scheduled

Acting Park Director Israel Popoca gives volunteers their marching orders.
Photo courtesy of Alexia de Santiago Herrera

At the request of managers from the Bay of Loreto National Park, Eco-Alianza volunteers teamed up with friends and volunteers from Loreto Bay and Nopoló, and Park volunteers, as part of a nationwide cleanup day on February 25.

Volunteers receive supplies for litter cleanup.
Photo courtesy of Alexia de Santiago Herrera

According to Park managers, more than 75 people took part for several hours, scouring Arroyo San Telmo, Playa Negrita, Playa Oasis, Estero Las Garzas, and several litter-strewn stretches along the transpeninsular carretera and areas near the airport. Most of the litter was bagged and weighed on a hand-held scale, amounting to 671 kg, not including tires and larger items that were difficult to weigh. Plastics and other recyclables were separated out and taken for recycling, and the balance was hauled to the landfill in a convoy of loaded pickups.

Full trash bags behind this group of volunteers are just a small fraction of what was cleaned up.
Photo courtesy of Hayde Natalia Ambriz

Nearly all of the litter was picked up from beaches, arroyos, or areas near arroyos. As one volunteer commented, “that’s close to a ton of trash that will not be washing into the Marine Park during the next rainy season.” Volunteer organizers Al Suter and Dan Baldini each said they have been contacted since the event by volunteers who had such a good time that they want to do it again. And so it’s already scheduled!


Groups of student volunteers scoured beaches and arroyos.
Photo courtesy of Mariana Salgado

Please join Nopoló and Loreto Bay homeowner/volunteer groups, along with Eco-Alianza volunteers, on Monday, March 19 at 8:00 a.m. We will meet at the Fonatur Flower sculpture (north entrance to Nopoló), break up into teams and head out from there, working until around 10:30 a.m. Fonatur will send trucks to our various locations to pick up what we have collected and transport it to recycling and the landfill.

Please bring your work gloves, sturdy shoes, water/drinks for yourself, sun protection, trash bags, and a great attitude. You will be surprised at how much fun this can be!

Third Annual Blue Whale Festival Provides Diversity of Activities


Dancing, music, painting, sports, food, and much more accompanied the core activity of whale watching at the third annual Loreto Blue Whale Festival on March 8, 9, and 10.

Young artists on the Malecon got an idea of the size of a blue whale.
Eco-Alianza staff photo

Eco-Alianza’s involvement, of course, centered around environmental education and nature appreciation. Eco-Alianza educators and staff took part in at least a half dozen activities in partnership with the Bay of Loreto National Park, the R.E.A.L. environmental educators’ network, OOMSAPAL, and alumni of CETMAR.

Park ranger/biologist Mariana Salgado joined Eco-Alianza educators at a Ligui school.
Eco-Alianza staff photo

Activities included marine mammal workshops, presentations by children at Eco-Alianza’s CenCoMA headquarters, school visits to Ligui, and painting with children on the Malecon. Several activities incorporated display of the 30-meter-long lifesize blue whale that was painted at last year’s festival by more than 100 children.

The blue whale took up the entire courtyard of the school in Ligui.
Eco-Alianza staff photo

Eco-Ventures Begins 6-month “Incubation” Process with Local Businesses

Martin Manuel Castro Romero is pictured with Eco-Alianza program coordinator Nidia Ramírez. He is the owner of Sociedad Cooperativa de Producción Pesquera, Acuícola y Servicios Turísticos “Pescadores de Ensenada Blanca,” a family fishing cooperative that in 2012 began offering tourist services. Currently they offer whale watching and sport fishing trips within the marine park. Eco-Alianza staff photo


By Jimena Gallegos

Before the end of February, the Eco-Ventures program began its process of business incubation for several local companies, a process focused on promoting, strengthening and scaling ideas of local entrepreneurs using a “triple bottom line” approach that considers ecology, economy and society.

The Eco-Ventures program seeks to obtain a responsible and effective impact with a business model geared to the opportunities present in the region in which Eco-Alianza is influential. Eco-Alianza’s incubation process embraces proven worldwide methodologies for entrepreneurship, such as Business Model Canvas, Design Thinking, Triple Bottom Line, Customer Development, and Lean Startup. The process uses field experience about validation services and products day to day in order to open the way to new business models focused on social and environmental benefit, financial sustainability and social impact.

Businesses included in the incubation process include ecotourism services and biodegradable disposable products, which will be using these methodologies over a period of six months, to help consolidate their internal and external organization capacities as well as encourage their business to raise awareness and value for regional biodiversity, generating economic options and testing alternative economic models with social and conservation aspects.

“Aromarte” Coffee Festival Saturday March 17, to Benefit Sister City Intercultural Exchange

“Nostalgia.” Watercolor painted with coffee and highlighted with touches other watercolors.

The Loreto-Ventura Sister Cities Committee, Eco-Alianza, and the Loreto Ayuntamiento invite the community to an art and coffee festival, “Aromarte”, to benefit intercultural exchange trips for Loreto and Ventura students.

The festival will take place in the Plaza Juarez on Saturday, March 17 from 5 to 7 p.m., featuring donated coffee and cookies from five local restaurants, in addition to an exhibition and sale of donated watercolor paintings created mostly with coffee. Paintings are created by watercolorist Lizette Inzunza Solorzano (president of the Sister Cities Committee) and her students.

Tickets for coffee and refreshments can be purchased in the Plaza Juarez near the Rick Jackson gallery, and can then be exchanged for cookies, coffee and other refreshments at five local restaurants.

Lizette Inzunza is currently responsible for the Komuntu exhibition hall, a space that she created and positioned as an important cultural venue. It is located in the city hall of Loreto, where she constantly offers the opportunity to both local and foreign artists to exhibit their work. She has been a great promoter in the cultural area to help Loreto achieve the designation of Loreto as a Magic Town. Lizette Inzunza is internationally recognized for her talent and the Committee of Sister Cities thanks her for the donation of her art, expressed with the coffee technique, which will support the Loreto youth.

Paralelo 28 “Looking for Heroes”

Loreto restaurants and businesses are supporting Park conservation and enforcement through Paralelo 28.
Eco-Alianza staff photo

By Brenda García

Eco-Alianza of Loreto is part of the Parallel 28 initiative, which includes three other non-profit organizations: PRONATURA Noroeste A.C, Red de Observadores Ciudadanos de la Paz A.C. y Sociedad de Historia Natural Niparajá A.C.

This non-profit initiative is committed to conserving the marine biodiversity of the northwest of Mexico in the protected natural areas, involving companies, tourist service providers, fishermen, tourists and community. The collaboration uses several forms of fundraising, such as selling souvenirs (sandals, bags, bracelets and stuffed animals) and direct donations. This initiative guides and leads your donations for conservation and surveillance activities through our collaborator PRONATURA Noroeste A.C, which causes a great difference within the protected natural areas in which we are working.

Some of the activities we carry out are:
• We hire marine observers to provide vigilance regarding marine regulations.
• We contribute with a part of the necessary resources for government surveillance and enforcement activities (e.g., gasoline, travel expenses, boat maintenance, etc.).
• We document the surveillance actions and evaluate their impact.
• We invest in infrastructure and equipment for the correct protection of the areas.
• We develop educational materials to promote awareness in the preservation of the natural resources at national, regional and local levels.

Support marine biodiversity and become a conservation hero. For more information, visit

Fifth Annual Recyclathon Off and Running

Last year’s Recyclathon efforts were a huge success!
Eco-Alianza staff photo

As this issue of Soundings goes to “press,” 31 teams of recyclers have entered this year’s Recyclathon. From now until June 2, teams of four people each will collect plastic, paper, cardboard, and glass, and deliver it to the recycling operation at kilometer 3 on the Carretera on Friday or Saturday mornings. It’s not too late to enter, as the contest has just begun!

Loreto Coastal Expeditions and Wild Loreto are sponsors of the event, and prizes will be awarded to the teams turning in the highest cumulative point value of recyclables before June 2. A kilogram of plastic earns 10 points; paper, cardboard, and glass earn one point per kilogram.

Trips on the glass bottom boat, catamaran trips, and more prizes will be awarded to the winning teams at a gathering June 5 at 5:00 p.m..

To register your team, contact Edna Peralta and .

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

Click on image to see larger. Photos clockwise from top left: 1.Blue whale roll feeding on krill. Visible pleats are the expansion system on the throat. Less than half the animal’s length is showing here. 2. Humpbacked Whale tail splashing. For joy? Why not? 3. Mother Gray Whale checking out some humans. She is twice the length of the boat, but less than half the length of the Blue Whale. 4. Young Gray Whale is very curious about the humans. The white spot on its chin is mom’s milk.
Photos courtesy of Tom Haglund/BCS Birds

By Tom Haglund

We’ve been duped! Modern human existence has fooled us into thinking that we are somehow separate from nature. This is not true, we are nature, we just forget to take time in the frenzied world we’ve created to reaffirm our naturalness. There are ways to remedy this illusion, and the resulting serenity may last an hour or two or a lifetime. Our reawakening might arise from animal watching, surfing, snorkeling, hiking, or just simply getting outdoors. Of the many ways to experience nature connectedness there may be nothing to surpass being near a whale.

We speak here of creatures that can live long enough to remember the industrial whaling that humans perpetrated upon them and just officially ended in 1986. Some whales may have seen the great slaughter at its worst, and now they are perfectly content to cruise placidly amid boatloads of these same humans. When we look into the eyes of whales, we know they know who we are, yet they scratch their backs on our boats and offer us their babies to pet. If this experience doesn’t strengthen our bond with nature, we really should do it again.

Being eye to eye with a Blue Whale, the largest animal to have ever lived on Planet Earth, is a profound natural experience. A Blue Whale may be 5 meters longer than a two-story passenger train car and weigh twice as much, and its peacefulness is equally enormous. Gray Whales are but half that size and still dwarf the boats and humans that visit them and their babies in the very lagoons where their relations were harpooned and hauled away by this same tiny animal. The Humpbacked Whale is a charming acrobat that often seems only to wish to entertain us. Which it very often does manage to do with its sixty-ton frolicking. The whales’ message is clear; we all are nature.