Greetings from Loreto!

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.

We learned, like the rest of the world, to do business as usual given the circumstances, but in a different way. Some of Eco-Alianza’s major conservation programs were temporarily suspended due to health restrictions.

In this issue of SOUNDINGS, we are including some projects and programs “behind the scenes” carried out by our staff, with the support of the Board of Directors, under the leadership of Hugo Quintero, Executive President and CEO.

In this September issue, we are also introducing some of our collaborators, sharing reports of their primary program responsibilities, and will follow up with more in our November issue.

ECO-ALIANZA AND GRUPO TORTUGUERO DE LAS CALIFORNIAS PARTNERS FOR SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION IN THE LORETO BAY NATIONAL PARK, by Brenda Garcia.

One of Eco-Alianza’s long term goals is the restoration of priority species within the Bay of Loreto National Park. Sea turtles are one of the priority species. A five-year collaboration agreement was signed with Grupo Tortuguero de las Californias A.C. to work on the conservation of sea turtles through coordinated actions.

Working with Grupo Tortuguero de las Californias, we have established a monitoring program of sea turtles in feeding areas in the park. During three field trips, eight turtle species were captured, tagged, and registered: four hawksbill and four green turtles. Monitoring of feeding areas will continue monthly. Recently, Park staff reported fourteen sea turtle nesting sites on our shore beaches and islands.

To support volunteers and fundraising for the program, we hope to identify areas of opportunity for an alternative tourism model, in this sense, Eco-Alianza will partner with potential community providers of tourism services as an alternative livelihood to their fishing activities. One of our goals in 2022 is to obtain our own sea turtle monitoring permits and become full-fledged member of Grupo Tortuguero’s network of collaborators.

Within this same project, Eco-Alianza also plans workshops for primary and secondary students from the communities of Ligüí and Ensenada Blanca. In collaboration with local teachers, students will learn about sea turtles and their contribution to the balance of ecosystems, with the goal of increasing their knowledge and appreciation for these species and transforming students into sea turtle protectors within their families and the community. However, due to the Covid-19 situation these activities with students have been delayed during the current year.

NATURE SQUAD, by Alma Rico

The Nature Squad was born as a project where the different groups that were facilitated by Eco Alianza de Loreto, join forces, and make a more efficient use of the resources they have. What does that mean? That it is a group that is not only made up of young people but includes people of all ages. We distinguish ourselves because, although we all work for the same goals, each subgroup or badge, as we call it, does it in a different way. There are those who participate as volunteers in different projects and activities, they help the different coordinators in the logistics of the events.

Sixteen students who are part of the badge called Tech and Data worked every week for more than two months to acquire knowledge about Computer Science, through different platforms such as, AWS Educate (Amazon Web Services), the Hour of Code, and Minecraft Educative. Three Eco-Alianza trainers, Helden, Jennifer and Alma, explain the concepts and sequences to allow them to understand cloud services, artificial intelligence and machine learning, developing in them their Mindware. In the next phase of training in September, and with the necessary prior knowledge, we will begin with the development of projects based on these technologies.

Originally, teachers who were part of the Network of Environmental Educators of Loreto (REAL) are now integrated into the Nature Squad, along with new participants, within the Mentor badge. This means that in addition to the activities they have already been doing within their workspaces, they now also collaborate to strengthen the capacities of other ambassadors.

We all have knowledge to share, and now members of the REAL as part of the Squad are looking for ways to go beyond curricula and classrooms. Wishing that our actions can be reflected around us.

Initially, the eight kids of the Leaders badge signed up for an activity that was the first Environmental Film Workshop. Not only did they learn about video production, but also, they began to understand and know about the importance of being leaders in our community and communicating their ideas and projects. Every week for two months, virtual sessions were held where they discussed topics, such as emotion management, critical thinking, the importance of not letting ourselves be carried away by what we feel, or by what we think, but to always have an open mind to innovative things and evolving our thoughts. To know ourselves, to learn to communicate and to know others. Currently, more than 12 members are already participating.

The Nature Squad, Ambassadors of Hope, is a group of people who want to work together on behalf of the community. At Eco-Alianza, our main objective is for the community to move forward, to grow, for people to be strengthened, to offer them knowledge that helps them to obtain new economic and development opportunities. In this way, we prevent the illegal and unsustainable use of natural resources, contribute to improve quality life of the coastal communities and to protect and conserve our natural and cultural environment. Through people, that’s how it can be achieved.

Change is already happening in Loreto.

Mujeres del Golfo SCPP – Women-led fishing cooperative, by Nidia Ramirez

The “Cooperativa Pesquera del Golfo, SCPP” is a cooperative of nine women dedicated to fishing activities from the community of Ligüí, 35 kilometers south of Loreto. This group of women decided in 2000 to organize themselves and start fishing activities, as a way of earning an income and financially supporting their families. Even though in the community the idea of women working, let alone in an activity that seems exclusive to men, was not well received.

The main activity of the cooperative is the capture and sale of aquarium marine species. This activity is carried out in accordance with government regulations and is intended to promote responsible fishing.

They have also participated in ecological monitoring that contributes to the knowledge of the state of health of the ecosystems in the Bahia de Loreto National Park.

After being inactive in recent years, the cooperative has resumed its activities focusing on its internal reorganization, so that this allows them to resume their capture, marketing, and export activities. During the last two years, Eco-Alianza has worked to strengthen the cooperative with the support of the Mexican foundation Fondo Semilla, that has provided funding under a collaboration agreement with Eco-Alianza and the cooperative, with the goal of returning this organization, comprised entirely of women, to an economically viable and environmentally sustainable state that creates jobs in the community and raises the standard of living for current and future generations of Gulf of California women.

ECO-ALIANZA joins AWS-EDUCATE – Helping to reduce the digital divide in Loreto,
by Helden Velis.

Technology has become an integral part of our life, more people in Loreto are utilizing digital platforms every day with more online activities to engage with the majority connecting through a smartphone. However, not everyone has equal access to digital services, particularly in rural regions, where the digital divide deepens the gap exacerbated by socio-economic status. Health precautions established during the pandemic, as well as limits on workspaces, has expedited the use of digital platforms, remote work, and digital education. As a result, COVID-19 has increased community awareness of the current digital divide. This is a challenge for Eco-Alianza as well, and the task now is to assist our community adapt to the digital gap by making technology simpler to use and embrace during and after the pandemic, discovering strategies to bridge the digital divide, and encouraging the use of technology in the interest of a more resilient community.

Part of our Nature Squad program, the Technology Badge consists of educating and training activities to reduce the digital divide within our region, promoting the use of cloud technology, by providing open access to comprehensive resources for building skills and accelerate cloud learning, preparing communities to transitioning their livelihoods into the cloud-enabled era.

During the past three months, we have held six of these training sessions at CenCoMA with sixteen students from kindergarten to high school, with the guidance of three educators from Eco-Alianza.

The main platform used was AWS-Educate, Amazon’s global initiative to provide students and educators with the resources needed to greatly accelerate cloud-related learning to help prepare students for a cloud-enabled workplace. The kindergarten through high school student plan consists of three badges organized by difficulty level. So far, 100% of the students have completed the first level, 70% the second and 50% the last level. During the sessions the students learn about algorithms, bugs, debugging, machine learning, artificial intelligence, big data, and cyber security.

COMING SOON! A NEW PROJECT OF ECO-ALIANZA

Eco-Alianza staff photo
CEMA Committee at UC Davis, Bodega Bay Marine Laboratory, October, 2019
Left to right – Roy Shlemon, Rob Ortega, Catharine Cooper, Suzanne Olyarnik, Kathy Mitchell, Nicholas Pinter, Chuck Mitchell, Hugo Quintero, Linda Kinninger, Tony Kinninger

Eco-Alianza de Loreto, A.C. will develop CEMA, and international field station in partnership with the University of California Natural Reserve System (UCNRS)

The establishment of CEMA will provide educators, students, and researchers around the world with the opportunity to participate in scientific research and data collection. These studies are critical for conservation management and the development of best practices to protect our marine, island, coastal and inland environments.

The planned research field station and educational center will be based adjacent to Eco-Alianza’s headquarters – the Community Center for the Environment (CenCoMA), in the historical center of Loreto.

The University of California Natural Reserve System consists of 41 field stations and is considered a laboratory of varied ecosystems. Eco-Alianza is honored to have achieved the Loreto Sister Reserve status as the second international field station of the University of California.

 More exciting news coming soon, so stay tuned!

Save the Date
GENEROUS DONATION – On the market!

One of our lifelong supporters, Jim Gries, generously donated his home in Loreto to Eco-Alianza. The net proceeds from the sale of this house directly benefit the new Eco-Alianza project, CEMA, an international cooperation between the United States and Mexico. The proceeds will be used as “seed money” to establish the CEMA (Research Center for the Environment) adjacent to Eco-Alianza headquarters.

The two-bedroom, two-bathroom house is just two blocks from the beach and features mature fruit trees, a large garden and a view of the Sea of Cortez. Space to add a swimming pool and park a boat, or a motor home.
For more information, click here: https://misionloreto.com/two-bedroom-two-bath-home-only-2-blocks-from-the-beach-in-loreto-baja-sur/

Contact:
Jill Jackson – Misión Loreto Properties, Loreto
US Phone: 530.786.4395
MÉXICO # 613.118.2207
email:

Calendar 2022 – Available now!

Eco-Alianza’s beautiful 2022 Calendar is already in production and will be available for purchase after September 1st.

(Cover photo and back cover with image of Rick and the 12 months)

For more details or to place an order, please visit the Eco-Alianza web site: www.ecoalianzaloreto.org

These special calendars with amazing images by Rick Jackson make a beautiful holiday gift for family and friends. Please order early to give enough time for priority mail delivery by our volunteers.

Visit the Eco-Alianza website to find out where you can buy calendars in Loreto.