Being presented with spectacles of nature seems almost to be expected in Loreto. In late September, millions and millions of yellow butterflies graced us with their presence, seemingly a reward for residents who endured the summer heat. Now, familiar birds are beginning to flock back, along with the influx of part-year residents from the north. And everyone is smiling! Is it the anticipation of the wonders that await us all this season? We hope you’ll drop by Eco-Alianza and join us for an ever-increasing parade of participatory activities. New friends and new experiences are what continue to make Loreto special, and we’re glad to have you as part of the Eco-Alianza family!
BCS Paleontologist Continues Visiting Scientist Series Nov. 18
Dr. Gerardo González Barba will present a free program in Spanish at 6:00 p.m., November 18, at Eco-Alianza’s CenCoMA headquarters. He has been a researcher and Professor at UABCS for more than 18 years, specializing in the palaeontology of Baja California Sur, and will speak on the palaeontology of the Sierra Gigantas and Loreto.
Dr. González Barba will present the program in Spanish, but is bilingual and will take questions at the end and possibly at other points throughout. With extensive experience in both geology and paleontology, he has a unique perspective in exploring the different climates and environments in which different species of animals have evolved in Baja California Sur.
He also serves as Director of the Museum of Natural Sciences at UABCS. He earned a degree in Marine Sciences at UABC in Ensenada, and his Master’s degree and Ph.D. from Centro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias Marinas (CICIMAR) in La Paz.
The program is free and open to the public.
Eco-Alianza Staff Helps Lead Start-Up Weekend La Paz
For local entrepreneurs, evolving a business quickly from the spark of an idea into a working concept can mean the difference between business success or failure. Distilling the initial development phase from weeks or months into three days is what the “Start-up Weekend” process is all about, and it’s part of the training that Eco-Alianza staff members are utilizing to prepare for the organization’s Community Center for Economic Development, now under development.
In cooperation with government, academic and other organizations, and networks of existing businesses, the concept of the Center is to support economically and environmentally-sustainable business start-ups in Loreto. The “business incubator” will support qualifying “Eco-Ventures” from conceptual development to accessing capital to business management training to support services, and everything in between. (Watch this space for MUCH more on this program in the months ahead!)
In late September, five Eco-Alianza staffers helped organize and lead, and also participated in, Start-up Weekend La Paz, along with leaders from MooveHub La Paz, UABCS, and other organizations. More than 40 people attended the event, including seven from Loreto, of which three were a Loreto fisherman’s children and two were Loreto university students.
Over 54 hours, participants form teams and pitch, refine, and intensively test business ideas, ultimately voting on several that will receive more focus, as well as mentor assistance and detailed development help after the event. More than 20 business ideas were “pitched” during the weekend in La Paz, including four from the Loreto team.
Ideas including Loreto entrepreneurs included: selling organic products to link local producers with local consumers; making and selling organic beauty products to promote the use of natural ingredients; selling biodegradable cups to minimize pollution caused by Styrofoam products; designing and selling an app for maritime rescues; and designing and developing a website for diabetics that promotes healthy local food establishments.
One of the weekend’s winning pitches was from a Loreto fisherman’s two sons and a daughter. Their idea involves marketing and selling specialized tours to foreign students to promote scientific tourism. For this family, the business would provide an alternative to fishing and would promote the local economy.
For more on the weekend and the groups involved, visit:
Happenings at Our Sister Park
Channel Islands Fox ~ A Conservation Success Story
As reported in last month’s SOUNDINGS, the official Sister Parks relationship between the Channel Islands National Park (CINP) in Ventura, CA and the Bay of Loreto National Park (PNBL), has been approved. This designation opens the door for biologists and wildlife managers at the two parks to officially share information and collaborate on conservation and management of threatened and endangered species.
The diminutive Channel Islands fox, about the size of a house cat, is an astounding conservation success story that’s unfolded over the last decade, largely within the boundaries of our new Sister Park.
Found on 6 of the 8 Channel Islands, the photogenic subspecies of gray fox was placed on the U.S. Endangered Species List in 2004. Their numbers were diminished to dangerous levels by golden eagle predation and also by canine distemper (spread by an infected raccoon who had apparently stowed away on a visiting boat).
Wildlife biologists at CINP are amazingly effective at managing endangered species, which may come in very handy when their advice helps address endangered marine and terrestrial species in Loreto. Captive breeding programs, and subsequent release and repopulation, resulted in three of the six subspecies of fox being removed from ESA protection in August 2016, the fastest recovery of any mammal under the U.S. Endangered Species program.
Environmental Education Update
Teaching the Teachers ~ Fish and the Marine Environment
Thirty-three Loreto teachers, from 13 different schools, attended a collaborative workshop at Eco-Alianza in late September, strengthening their skills and knowledge about fish, marine ecosystems, marine biodiversity, and marine conservation.
The free two-day workshop was taught primarily by staff from Pronatura Noroeste out of La Paz, but was a collaborative project also supported by Eco-Alianza, CONANP, Bay of Loreto National Marine Park, UABC, and UABCS.
A hands-on field trip to Isla Montserrat this month will round out the workshop, to be followed by participating teachers initiating in-class projects with their own students. Teachers completing the workshop and in-class project will receive a certificate of completion from Pronatura. Three additional teacher workshops are planned; teachers completing all four will receive an academic certificate from UABC in Ensenada.
Eco-Alianza Education Coordinator Edna Peralta will continue supporting the project with logistics, materials, and providing meeting space for the workshops.
Next up for the teachers: Seabirds!
Summer Internship Reignites Student’s Love for Teaching
For many of us, it’s easy to point to a single month in our past that changed the direction of our lives. That may be the case for Katie McBratney, a Californian who spent a month this summer as an intern at Eco-Alianza, and rekindled her love of teaching.
Click link: http://www.loreto.com/katies-volunteering-experience-loreto/ to read Katie’s brief article on Loreto.com, another project under development at Eco-Alianza. We want to publish your stories about Loreto ~ contact Ivette.Granados@ecoalianzaloreto.net.
Eco-Alianza Ninth Anniversary ~ An Evening to Remember!
Due to the smaller, more intimate venue, tickets for Eco-Alianza’s Ninth Anniversary dinner and auction are very likely to sell out, so here’s a reminder to nab yours if you haven’t already. The dinner is November 5.
As announced previously, this year’s event will be held under the stars in the newly-renovated CenCoMA courtyard, with passed appetizers and dinner catered by La Misión Hotel. The Electric Lady Band from Los Cabos will set the beat for after-dinner dancing and socializing.
As Eco-Alianza’s biggest event of the year, the Anniversary dinner’s silent and live auctions support environmental education and all Eco-Alianza programs. If you have an exceptional item or experience or service to donate for the auction, Oct. 23 is the deadline to donate; please contact email@example.com. This year, several days prior to the event, we’ll distribute an “auction catalog” to our email list. All donated items will be included, so donating an item or service is a great way to get your name out there.
Not in town for the dinner? Watch for the e-catalog, and the opportunity to submit a “proxy bid” for items in the live auction. Or, please consider supporting the event with an online donation to say “thank you” to our dedicated Eco-Alianza staff!
Reserve your seats for the dinner, or donate.
And if you can support Eco-Alianza by donating an amazing, auction-able item, service, or unique experience, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. All donations are U.S. tax-deductible.