The Sea of Cortez, a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to more than a third of the world's marine mammals, is an ecological wonderland for local youth to experience conservation science.
Protecting Our Oceans
The Sea of Cortez is home to 39% of marine mammal species of the world.
Species include the blue, humpback, fin, and sperm whale, as well as 12 species of dolphins among many others. In addition to its rich marine life, the region is known for its remote desert islands and great variety of seabirds. Espiritu Santo is a protected island on the outskirts of La Paz, Mexico, where the waters surrounding the island have been declared a marine reserve due to its unique ecology and high endemism. This amazing area is characterized by its pristine beaches, reddish cliffs, and abundance of desert flora and fauna. In our two core programs, whale ecology and island ecology, students get hands-on to learn about conservation issues related to this privileged region. They pair up with scientists from local universities and research centers (UABCS, CICIMAR, CONANP) and take part in species monitoring and data collection. Our student-collected data is currently being used to establish a new humpback whale refuge near Cabo Pulmo in the Sea of Cortez and a set of associated regulations regarding whale tourism.
These life changing experiences in the field also take place at the EPI Mexico campus - a lively place where weekly happenings, talks, and workshops are organized with neighboring schools and community members. At these activities, we tackle sustainability issues affecting La Paz such as climate change and water and waste management, raising awareness on all levels. In addition, Our Californios Verdes Eco-club, an active youth-led group of young conservationists, meet on a regular basis to plan and coordinate projects and activities that develop leadership skills and relationships with peers, community members, and scientists. As EPI Mexico celebrates 10 years of working in the peninsula, our audience and reach has grown simultaneously, taking on new challenges and horizons.
"After this course my way of thinking about all living beings has changed 180 degrees. Now I walk carefully, avoiding stepping on anthills or insects. The experience of this course has helped me to open my eyes, the eyes of my soul."
Our EPI Mexico campus is an integral part of our program delivery, with a dormitory for visiting students, resource room, indoor and outdoor meeting space, a palapa, native garden, and 65-foot Fin whale skeleton - the only one on display in Mexico! The campus hosts workshops, lectures, trainings, and awareness events throughout the year.
Since 2014, EPI Mexico’s Eco Club, Californios Verdes, has been working tirelessly to get EPI’s Mexico campus certified as a “smart campus” by the PROBEA Smart School Program. Club members engage in hands-on activities that create... Learn More
WNC Nature Center Represented In Mexico
Originally published in Friends of the WNC
The WNC Nature Center’s own Keith Mastin, Education Curator, was recently award a prestigious international fellowship in conservation. Out of hundreds of applications and a rigorous application process, Keith was selected by the non-profit organization Ecology Project International (EPI) to participate in an 8-day Educator Fellowship in Baja Mexico. EPI is a field science and conservation organization that partners scientists with local and international students and educators in ecologically critical environments in Costa Rica, Ecuador & the Galapagos, Belize, Baja Mexico, Yellowstone, and Hawaii.... Learn More