Academic travel – combating desertification

Reforestation in Sierra la Laguna Biosphere Reserve

Back in 2015, we published a blog entry after launching a pilot academic program in the Sierra de la Laguna Biosphere Reserve. Working with  the National Parks Commission, regional biologists, and local ranchero families in the reserve we designed a program  focused on reforestation, climate change, desertification, and soil restoration. We ran this first program with  students from the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey (Tec). It was an incredible experience and a learning opportunity for all, from field research techniques to cultural exchange. Don’t take our word for it – take a look at the short video featuring those same students.

Since 2015, we have taken numerous groups up to the Sierra de la Laguna Biosphere Reserve to work on the restoration module. Students plant trees, restore soil and learn how to make transects. The local families that manage the project provide guidance and act as hosts. Partnering with Cal State University Fullerton, we’ve expanded the program. This year we received a second group of biology students from Cal State Fullerton, continuing the restoration work and expanding the research. Joined by a professor from the local university, we were able to 3D map the area by drone. Each year offers a new opportunity for students to learn field techniques and to experience the ranchero culture in the sierra. Don’t worry, it’s not all hard work! Students get the chance to snorkel off Espíritu Santo island, whale watch in Magdalena Bay, and participate in sea turtle monitoring. On the rancho, students also learn how to milk cows and make artisanal cheese.

academic travel - Espíritu Santo sland

Academic travel with an impact

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