By Mirna Borrego Lazalde / Education and Community Outreach Officer
This article was translated by Amairani Márquez and Manuel Eduardo Mendoza
If we go back to the history of natural history museums, we will find that everything started in a small box that later became an establishment of curiosities, a place where crystals, starfish, bird feathers, skulls of small mammals and pressed specimens of exotic flowers were protected: discoveries of explorers who traveled around the world with the impetus of curiosity and to show society their findings.
Nowadays, researchers and scientists struggle to conserve many of the species of flora and fauna that we see in museums and that still exist, but that are in a fragile state of conservation, and of not acting carefully, we will see them facing extinction.
On Wednesday, February 6, 2019, the State of Biodiversity Symposium was held at the San Diego Natural History Museum. About 250 people gathered with the objective to discuss and present the research, conservation and community outreach projects that are being developed in California and Baja California.
The symposium began at 8:00 am and people from different organizations and cities attended the event, as well as Rodrigo Medellín, PhD., a Mexican ecologist well known for his work in the field of conservation of bats, jaguars and bighorn sheep, among other great contributions to science.
I was invited to participate in the session “Public Awareness and Regional Biodiversity” with three admirable women, who carry out community work on the other side of the border. The idea of this space was to share strategies that involve the communities to know and approach nature, appropriate the natural spaces that surround them and contribute to the conservation of natural spaces, sharing challenges and telling stories.
We talked about the importance of promoting an environment of collaboration in communities, moving them away from imposition and bringing them closer to a participatory conservation work. I had the opportunity to share our experience in the creation of collective murals, bird festivals and in the work with young students in the Huellas Volcánicas Photography Club.
In the end, including the work with communities is a vital part for the design of strategies for ecosystem conservation; we need to promote more spaces like this to happen, where efforts and actions without borders are communicated.