Tec de Monterrey students travel to Magdalena Bay

Tec de Monterrey students and RED Staff

In March, RED partnered with the Monterrey Institute of Higher Education and Technology (Tec de Monterrey) to deliver a field seminar on sustainable development and natural resource management. RED invited colleagues from various sectors of the conservation community to participate in this 5 day course at our camp in Magdalena Bay. We all learned a great deal from the course and are left with new experiences, knowledge, and expanded perspectives. One student, Alejandro Garcia, captures this experience in a letter which we have included below in Spanish and English. We hope to build on this 1st effort, and create more life changing experiences for the generation that soon will be leading Mexico into the future.

 

Monterrey, Nuevo León. Mayo, 2013

Amigos de la Conservación

Amigos de la Conservación

Por mucho tiempo he querido involucrarme en proyectos ambientales. El hecho de dejar todo atrás e ir a apoyar a personas dedicadas a la conservación y protección ambiental, particularmente de lugares críticos como Bahía Magdalena, ha transformado mi persona de manera trascendental. El contacto directo con tortugas, ballenas y demás megafauna carismática, es algo que a mí  me apasiona. Observar a estos animales en libertad es maravilloso, en especial para uno que pasa mucho tiempo en las selvas de concreto.

 

Aprendí  que para comprender las situaciones de conservación y manejo sustentable no sólo se puede tomar en consideración el enfoque ecológico, en donde se trata de proteger a una especie carismática o un hábitat, sino que debemos de involucrar a esas personas que viven, dependen e interactúan directamente con las especies y hábitats que se establecen como objetivos. Gracias a las pláticas de los colaboradores y trabajadores de RED adquirí una nueva perspectiva en donde atacar un problema ecológico no tiene receta o fórmula secreta, no existen parámetros que garanticen 100% de eficiencia, proyectos como estos se vuelven un juego de estrategias y creatividad. No podemos llegar a imponer una idea que para “uno” es sustentable y viable sin antes conocer bien a los actores involucrados. Por ultimo quisiera mencionar la suma importancia de los alumnos en estas actividades. Me dio mucho gusto que compañeros que no necesariamente estudiaban algo relacionado con la ecología o conservación se involucraran y participaran de manera activa; aparte de crear un (fuerte) vínculo amistoso con el grupo, ver como todos a pesar de nuestras diferencias vocacionales y laborales, todos estábamos ahí, trabajando para una misma causa. Lo más importante que aprendí en este viaje no fue sobre la biología de las tortugas marinas, o de los servicios ecosistémicos que la bahía presta o de los problemas que los pescadores enfrentan. Fue que todos, no solamente los biólogos, ecólogos y conservacionistas, sino que pescadores, estudiantes, profesores y todos las demás personas que viven en este planeta debemos de participar y colaborar para asegurar un futuro para la naturaleza.

Alejandro Garza García

 

English version

TEC students bringing a sea turtle back to the camp

TEC students bringing a sea turtle back to the camp

For a long time I’ve wanted to participate in conservation projects. The chance to leave everything behind and support devoted conservationists, in important places such as Magdalena Bay, has transformed my life in a transcendental way.  Interacting  in such a direct way with sea turtles, gray whales, and all the incredible megafauna, fills me with passion. Seeing these species in their natural habitat is something wonderful, in particular for all of us that live in concrete jungles.

I learned that to better understand conservation projects and promote the sustainable use of natural resources you must take into account much more than the ecological approach. In order to protect a charismatic species such as sea turtles or a fragile ecosystem, the people that inhabit those places and rely on these resources need to be involved. Thanks to the talks I had with the staff of RED Sustainable Travel and their collaborators, I have a new perspective and learned that in order to face an ecological problem there is no secret formula, recipe, or  parameters that guarantee 100% efficiency. These types of projects turn out to be a game of strategy and creativity. There is no way to impose ideas of being “sustainable” without getting to know of all the actors that are involved in the process.

At last, I would like to highlight the importance of all the students that participated in these activities. I was amazed while not all the students involved necessarily study topics related to ecology or conservation, we were nonetheless all very involved in an active way, creating a strong bonds and friendship. Independent of our professional interest, on the island we were all working for the same cause. The most important thing I learned was not about sea turtles, the value of the ecosystem services or the problems facing fisheries., I learned that not only biologists, ecologists and conservationists, but fishermen, students, professors and everyone living on this planet must participate and collaborate to create a sustainable future.

 

Alejandro Garza García

 


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