Forestry Culture Workshop

Tiempo de lectura | Reading time: 2 minutos

By Jorge Andrade and Antonieta Valenzuela

With the intention of providing new tools and strategies, the National Network of Forestry Culture Promoters Workshop was held in Ensenada from April 12 to 14, 2016 to promote forestry culture.

The Network of Forestry Culture Promoters is an initiative of the Forestry Culture Department of the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR for its acronym in Spanish) that aims to “systematize the promotional processes at a national level” through planned actions, as well as joining efforts to improve conservation and sustainable use practices.

Terra Peninsular was one of the participants in the workshop, as well as other civil societies, government and educational institutions of Ensenada. This workshop was given by the biologist José Luis Castañeda.

During the workshop, the participants acquired the tools to develop forestry culture outreach activities, to conduct workshops and to use environmental education methodologies.

It’s worth to mention that a forest ecosystem includes not only forests but also jungles, mangroves and arid areas, as well as animals, microorganisms, soil, water, climate and the interactions that exist between each other.

What is forestry culture? “Forestry culture seeks to build a new way of thinking about nature and interacting with the environment through awareness raising. This aims to have a significant change in the attitudes, behaviors and values of the population that results in the sustainable use of forest resources. “

Participating at the National Network of Forestry Culture Promoters Workshop will serve as an important tool for the Awareness and Social Participation program at Terra Peninsular to promote forestry culture in Baja California (that includes arid areas, forests and the Maritime Succulent Scrub Region) and also to inform about the use of forest resources through courses, workshops and events.

Red Knot and Gulf Grunion Festival 2016

Tiempo de lectura | Reading time: 5 minutos

By Antonieta Valenzuela

Red Knot and Gulf Grunion Festival 2016

The Red Knot and Gulf Grunion Festival was held in San Luis Río Colorado, Sonora; for the second year in a row, the event was organized by the Upper Gulf of California and Colorado River Delta Biosphere Reserve.

Through games and activities, the aim of the festival was to inform children, parents and the general public about the importance of the red knot and Gulf grunion, species that can be found during the spring in the Gulf of Santa Clara, Sonora, an area that is part of the biosphere reserve.

The red knot (Calidris canutus) is an endangered migratory bird that spends the winter in Mexico and South America, and every spring flies back to its breeding sites in Alaska, Canada and northeastern United States; before arriving, the red knots stop at the Gulf of Santa Clara, Sonora, where they feed almost exclusively on Gulf grunion eggs (Leuresthes sardina), a small fish related to sardines that spawns right on the beach between March and June.

One of the actions of the Biosphere Reserve of the Upper Gulf of California and Colorado River Delta is to provide environmental education regarding the protection of the beaches of the Gulf of Santa Clara.

Red Knot and Gulf Grunion Festival 2016

Since both species spend the spring in the Gulf of Santa Clara, and because it’s a period with high tourist activity, the festival focused on teaching the community to respect the Gulf grunions to ensure their reproduction, and thus also protect the red knots on their journey to their breeding sites.

With the support of Terra Peninsular and other associations, the Upper Gulf of California and Colorado River Delta Biosphere Reserve held the festival that was divided into two parts: first in San Luis Río Colorado with the festival of educational activities; and then, during the weekend, in the Gulf of Santa Clara, with activities like bird watching, monitoring and protection actions, as well as talks and games for children.

In order to offer the various activities, the staff and volunteers of the biosphere reserve received prior training. Some of the interactive games focused on explaining the migration of the red knot, identifying birds of the region, linking photographs with information on each species, among others; there was also a coloring area and exhibition of children’s drawings from the Gulf of Santa Clara.

Red Knot and Gulf Grunion Festival 2016

María Jesús Martínez, project manager of the Upper Gulf of California and Colorado River Delta
Biosphere Reserve, said that given the lack of support from authorities to protect the beaches in the spawning season, the campaign “Taking care of the Gulf grunion” was launched within the festival.

She said that the campaign is an effort to provide visitors with information about the Gulf grunion to protect it during the spawning season and guarantee its reproduction. After the festival in the Gulf of Santa Clara, surveys will be conducted among tourists to measure the results of the campaign.

The beaches of the Gulf of Santa Clara are part of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network, a system of natural reserves that protects key habitats of the American continent with the objective of maintaining healthy populations of shorebirds.

The Red Knot and Gulf Grunion Festival is part of the Calidris project “Protecting and conserving the migration route of shorebirds” which seeks to promote the protection of birds, in this case, the red knot and, consequently, the Gulf grunion, as both share an ecological relationship.

Red Knot and Gulf Grunion Festival 2016
Red Knot and Gulf Grunion Festival 2016
Red Knot and Gulf Grunion Festival 2016
Red Knot and Gulf Grunion Festival 2016

Participatory Strategic Planning Workshop at La Chorera

Tiempo de lectura | Reading time: 4 minutos

By Jorge Andrade and Antonieta Valenzuela

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With the purpose of ​​approaching the community to get to know their needs, create a working alliance and encourage reflection, analysis and application of solutions to socio-environmental issues, a Participatory Strategic Planning Workshop was held in La Chorera, San Quintín.

As part of the objectives of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) in environmental education training in the San Quintín lagoon complex, Terra Peninsular and Pro Esteros A.C. teamed up to offer the workshop, which is also part of the strategies for environmental conservation of both associations.

Strategic Planning Workshop at La Chorera2016 Terra Peninsular

Aimed at the residents of La Chorera, who were asked to participate through an open invitation, the Participatory Strategic Planning Workshop was divided into two parts, two sessions each, and was held at the “Jaime Torres Bodet” elementary school.

It’s important to mention that the basis of the workshops was the dialogue of knowledge, which is a position of recognition of local knowledge; this allowed the exchange of knowledge among all the participants involved.

Strategic Planning Workshop at La Chorera2016 Terra Peninsular

Through participatory exercises, participants acquired the tools to face their current problems using strategic planning, especially their waste issue and other environmental problems. Besides identifying the problems, they also learned to find the means and resources to solve them.

Other objectives included encouraging the development of thinking skills to make logical frameworks; exposing local problems and establishing hierarchies; analyzing the core issues, their consequences and visualizing the ideal setting; and finally, creating awareness regarding the waste problem and taking care of the environment.

Strategic Planning Workshop at La Chorera2016 Terra Peninsular

Given the good response, enthusiasm and interest of the participants to address the environmental issues in their surroundings, there is the possibility of replicating this workshop in the Chapala community, also in San Quintín Bay.

It’s also worth highlighting that the results accomplished in the Strategic Planning Workshop will be continued, since efforts will be made at La Chorera with different projects yet to be defined related to the waste problem, waste management and recycling.

Gabriel Camacho, coordinator of Community Strengthening at Pro Esteros A.C. along with Cecilia Jiménez and Jorge Andrade of Terra Peninsular, both from the Social Awareness and Participation program, were in charge of conducting the workshop.

Strategic Planning Workshop at La Chorera2016 Terra Peninsular

The only herbarium in Baja California celebrates its 35th anniversary

Tiempo de lectura | Reading time: 5 minutos

By Antonieta Valenzuela

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What is a herbarium? It’s a scientific plant collection for preservation that is used to identify and catalog plants; in a few words, it’s a plant library.

“Herbaria are important collections because they work as evidence of plant species in different places, in this case in Baja California,” said José Delgadillo, PhD in an interview for this section of Terra Peninsular.

Delgadillo is a Botanic professor at the University of Baja California (UABC); he’s also in charge of the BCMEX Herbarium, located within the Faculty of Sciences of the same university. This past March the herbarium celebrated its 35th anniversary.

He studied Biology at the University of Guadalajara (UAG), and he obtained a PhD in Vegetal Sciences; besides being the curator at the herbarium, he also founded it. A little more than thirty five years ago he decided to begin a scientific plant collection, starting from the basic notion that every territory must have evidence of the presence of plants and, therefore, have exact information of each species.

The herbarium began its operations in 1981 with the purpose of having a plant collection in Baja California, one that included native and exotic species. This has been achieved since it’s the only herbarium of vascular plants in the state to date. The Boojum tree, as a representative plant of Baja California, is part of the official logo of the BCMEX Herbarium since 2013.

Delgadillo mentioned that in the herbarium the plants are numbered and each plant that becomes part of the collection has a unique ascending registration code.

“Nowadays, we have over 15,000 registration codes. If we take into account that there are 2 species per code, then we’re talking about over 30,000 plants in the herbarium including native, exotic, exchanged and donated plants from other states.”

“Inside the herbarium there are currently about 2,000 species from Baja California and its islands, those species in the collection probably represent the 60 per cent of the peninsula’s flora,” he added.

The professor commented that the oldest specimen is from 1934; it’s a type of grass from Arizona, US that remains in perfect condition within the herbarium to date.

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Registered locally and internationally, including at the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat), the herbarium has a data base that serves the purpose of improving the knowledge of the flora of Baja California and Mexico. In the same way, the BCMEX Herbarium has an alliance with other herbaria in the region, and therefore, a joint data base.

Besides conserving specimens of flora species, Delgadillo emphasized that one of the main functions of the herbaria is to work as a reference tool, and in the case of BCMEX, mainly for academic purposes.

About the process of preserving a plant, he explained that before a specimen becomes part of the collection and it’s included in the data base, first it has to pass through a precise dehydration process, then a preventive fumigation and, at the end, remain inside a refrigerator at minus 15 degrees Celsius (5 °F) between 4 and 5 days to kill the majority of insects.

Some associated researchers from Terra Peninsular, like Sula Vanderplank, have contributed with species for the herbarium, including some plants collected from the Valle Tranquilo Nature Reserve. As he explains, all foreigners must duplicate by law all the collections obtained during field trips.

Delgadillo is passionate about the flora from Baja California. He has collected plants for the herbarium during his filed trips and whenever it’s possible. He told us that being a curator requires patience, work and passion. After 35 years of being in charge of the herbarium, he added that it’s a project of relevance for science and the state, and that there’s still a lot to do.

Even though the BCMEX Herbarium doesn’t have an official website, Delgadillo manages the website Baja Terra Ignota, where he publishes about flora species and related topics.

The people interested can visit the herbarium and consult the data base, only with academic purposes. For more information, please contact Dr. José Delgadillo via email: jdelga@uabc.edu.mx

Coming up soon, Dr. Delgadillo and Terra Peninsular will work together in a plant sampling and collection in relevant conservation places in Baja California.

Inauguration of Katsuo Museum

Tiempo de lectura | Reading time: 2 minutos

By Antonieta Valenzuela

Located in Ensenada, within the School of Marine Science of the University of Baja California (UABC), the Katsuo Museum opened to the public on March 10, 2016 to promote marine sciences through different exhibitions.

During the opening ceremony, Israel Carpio, the museum coordinator, expressed his gratitude to UABC and to the people involved in the process of establishing the museum. In addition, he thanked the support of Terra Peninsular, Wildcoast and Pro Esteros, non-profit organizations dedicated to the conservation of nature, that were included at the first exhibition of the museum.

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To strengthen the collaboration and work towards conserving natural resources of the peninsula, Terra Peninsular contributed with a modest photography exhibition and provided information about our conservation work.

The museum was named after Katsuo Nishikawa Kinomura, a former student of the School of Marine Science at UABC and a renowned oceanologist for its outstanding work and research in different areas of marine sciences.

Katsuo Museum was created to have a museum within the university that promotes marine sciences as “the main strategy and social development instrument, focused on conserving the cultural and natural heritage in Baja California”.

The Mayor of Ensenada, Gilberto Hirata Chico, officiated the opening ceremony at Katsuo Museum. The honored guests expressed their congratulations and good wishes, trusting the museum fulfills its purpose.

In addition to awaken the interest of visitors in marine sciences, the museum also promotes the work and effort of non-profit organizations dedicated to conservation, like Terra Peninsular. We are very glad to have participated at the opening and to be part of the first exhibition of Katsuo Museum.

Visit Katsuo Museum and help promote science and knowledge! For more information, please visit http://www.museokatsuo.com/

Introducing our first cause-marketing product

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crónica-terra-09-05-16

During the 15th anniversary celebration, Terra Peninsular’s first cause-marketing product was officially presented: a bourbon porter style beer named Branta Negra elaborated by Cervecería Escafandra, a local brewery.

Bárbara Ramírez, leader of the Department of Development and Communications, explained that the project was originated on the idea of approaching a different public with an attractive product to raise awareness on the conservation of natural areas in Baja California.

She added that due to the recent recognition of the cuisine, wine and craft beer in Baja California, and especially in Ensenada, it was decided that the first cause-marketing product would be a craft beer.

Since the origins of the association are in San Quintin Bay and the black brant is one of the most representative migratory birds in the area, it seemed logical to name the cause-marketing product after the species. Furthermore, the presence of the beer in the market will match the brant’s wintering period, from late October to March or April; although a first limited edition of 300 bottles is already for sale.

The profits from the cause-marketing product will go to protection projects of the black brant’s habitat, a migratory bird that flies from Alaska to winter in northwestern Mexico; San Quintín Bay and other coastal lagoons in Baja California are some of the wintering sites of the black brant.

This is how Branta Negra, Terra Peninsular’s first cause marketing product was borned: a seasonal bourbon porter style beer, robust and elegant.

What We Achieved in 15 Years

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In 2016, Terra Peninsular celebrated 15 years of working on environmental conservation in Baja California.

1. The National Comission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) recognized 1,820.62 acres of Rancho La Concepción as an Area Voluntarily Destined for Conservation (ADVC).

2. Protection of 29,739.47 acres of maritime succulent scrub.

3. The 9,131.03 acres of the Valle Tranquilo Nature Reserve are recognized as an ADVC by CONANP.

4. The San Quintín Coalition was formed in 2010 along with ProEsteros, Pronatura and The Nature Conservancy.

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5. The San Quintín Coalition promoted the protection of 297,803.99 acres of the San Quintín Lagoon Complex as a Natural Protected Area.

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6. Thanks to the efforts of the San Quintín Coalition, 13,437.59 acres of San Quintín Bay are recognized as a Ramsar site, a wetland of international importance.

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7. Protection of 3,884.62 acres of coastal wetlands and sandy beaches at the San Quintín Lagoon Complex.

8. We’re currently promoting the protection of 1,422,126.90 acres in Sierra de Juárez as a Forest Reserve.

9. By a conservation agreement with Ejido Laguna Hanson and Rancho Rodeo del Rey, 4,504.73 acres in Sierra de Juárez are protected.

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10. The first ten California condors (Gymnogyps californianus) were reintroduced in Baja California with the collaboration of the Center of Scientific Research and Higher Education of Ensenada (CICESE) and the San Diego Zoo.

11. 45 awareness and community engagement events, including exhibitions, workshops and conferences.

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12. Protection of 4,498.85 acres of the San Quintín Volcanic Valley Nature Reserve.

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13. The National Comission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) recognized the 2,034.81 acres of the Punta Mazo Nature Reserve as an Area Voluntarily Destined for Conservation (ADVC).

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14. Monitoring for five consecutive years the main species of shorebirds, waterbirds and migratory birds at San Quintín Bay, mainly black brants, snowy plovers, herons, terns and skimmers.

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15.- Along with the communities of San Quintín Bay, we built 2 interpretative stations, collected 30 tons of trash, managed one Temporary Employment Program, we hosted the First Annual Bird Festival, and the first Environmental Monitoring Committee was conformed.

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California Floristic Province

Tiempo de lectura | Reading time: 2 minutos

Although almost every place in our planet contains life, not all places are equal.  Due to the mixture of geological, physical, geographical and other factors that favor a high number of different habitats that in turn favor a high number of different and endemic species, over 50% of the world’s plant and 42% of all terrestrial vertebrate species are endemic to 35 biodiversity hotspots.

The California Floristic Province, a region that extends from Santa Barbara in Southern California to the parallel 30th in Northern Baja California (about 220 miles from San Diego), has been identified as one of these 35 regions that present a high degree of endemism and biodiversity.

California Floristic Province USA and Mexico

The California Floristic Province region has a Mediterranean climate that is characterized by very hot summers, and very humid and not so cold winters. It comprises various habitats including coastal sagebrush, shrub land, chaparral riparian forest and cypress forest. The region is home to at least 3,488 plant species (2,124 of them endemic), 340 bird species, 157 mammal species, 73 freshwater fish species, 69 reptile species and 46 amphibian species.

Although only eight percent (six million acres) of the California Floristic Province is in Mexico, its conservation is extremely important since many ecosystems in California have already been wiped out by commercial farming, pollution, road construction and urban development.

Unfortunately, urban development, mining and large-scale energy projects are threatening the last remaining intact areas in the Mexican California Floristic Province too. Map of the California Floristic Province. Source: California Academy of Sciences.

Lecture on Emergency Preparedness for the El Niño Phenomenon

Tiempo de lectura | Reading time: 4 minutos

Por Antonieta Valenzuela

In order to inform and promote emergency preparedness in San Quintín, Terra Peninsular A.C. along with the Asociación de Oceanólogos de México A.C. (Oceanographers Association of Mexico A.C.) organized the lecture series entitled “Dissemination of Risks and Emergency Preparedness against the El Niño Phenomenon.”

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More than 60 people attended the information forum that was held on February 18, 2016 at Posada Don Diego in Vicente Guerrero, in San Quintín. During the event, the participants were able to clarify questions concerning the impacts of the El Niño phenomenon.

The program included lectures by Cuauhtémoc Turrent Thompson, PhD, researcher at the Department of Physical Oceanography at CICESE; Miguel A. Tellez Duarte, PhD, professor of Geology at the Faculty of Marine Sciences of UABC; and the Director of Municipal Civil Denfense, Arturo Granados González, EMT.
During their presentations, the speakers agreed on the importance of sharing information with the community about the El Niño phenomenon and its possible effects in Ensenada, San Quintin and their surroundings; they also insisted on promoting the culture of emergency preparadness due to the risk of potentially heavy rains in the region.

The event began with a lecture by Turrent Thompson who talked about “El Niño and its Effects on Precipitation in Baja California;” he said that El Niño is described as warm water that has accumulated at the western side of the Pacific Ocean, and heavy rains is one of its known effects.

On the other hand, Tellez spoke about “El Niño, Rain and Geological Risk,” and described the main risks of rain that include: floods, mudslides and landslides. He invited the community to raise public awareness, educate on the culture of emergency preparadness, and the importance of understanding natural phenomena as well as to understand landscapes before building, and to avoid building in sites near rivers, streams and hillsides.

Tellez also explained that public safety, economic costs and human lives are at stake if we do not develop emergency preparedness plans for communities. He also showed some photographs to demonstrate the effects of flooding in urban and rural areas of Baja California.

To end the lecture series, the Director of Municipal Civil Defense, Arturo Granados González, presented, “Preventive Measures before the Rain Season,” and talked about the overview of the risk areas.

He showed the polygons of the San Quintín region that would be flooded so the community is aware. In addition, he explained that the analysis of these polygons is being constantly reinforced through the participation and Civil Defense neighborhood committees. Finally, he said that shelters, with enough space capacity, that could be used in case of an incident are always being identified, and he added that it is crucial to keep the community informed to avoid major disasters on the area.

New Environmental Monitoring Committee in San Quintín

Tiempo de lectura | Reading time: 3 minutos

By Antonieta Valenzuela

The Community La Chorera Environmental Monitoring Committee was officially created on February 17, 2016. During one year, the members will be responsible for the detection and report of environmental illegal activities in San Quintín Bay.

Environmental Monitoring Committee La Chorera 2016 Terra Peninsular

Through monitoring and by providing reports, the committee aims to protect and conserve the natural resources of the wetlands in San Quintín Bay; this place is classified as a RAMSAR site (a wetland of international importance). Committee members will perform as observers for the authorities, and they will be responsible for detecting different environmental violations such as illegal hunting, extraction of flora and fauna without permits, among others.

Environmental Monitoring Committee La Chorera 2016 Terra Peninsular

Forming a monitoring committee in San Quintín Bay was part of the projects of Terra Peninsular alongside the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA). The community La Chorera was invited to participate for environmental protection.

They will perform as observers for the authorities by reporting any environmental problems, and then the Federal Attorney’s Office for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) will take appropriate action. The reports will be handed over in a regular basis, and then PROFEPA will take the necessary measures depending on each specific environmental violation.

Environmental Monitoring Committee La Chorera 2016 Terra Peninsular

“They shall exercise their right to formulate and promote environmental reporting as a legal instrument to prevent and stop environmental violations that may cause or have caused an ecological imbalance” as explained in the constitutive act. The committee is composed of nine members and a Board, both of Terra Peninsular and residents of La Chorera.

For a better understanding of their function as environmental guardians, PROFEPA offered a training course to the members of the Community La Chorera Environmental Monitoring Committee.