Participants join scientific partners to contribute to research on fisheries, reefs, whale sharks, sea turtles, reptiles, and more in the Gulf of California, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Sea of Cortez is home to 39% of the world's marine mammal species.
In addition to its rich marine life, the region is known for its remote desert islands and a great variety of seabirds. Espiritu Santo is a protected island on the outskirts of La Paz, on the Baja peninsula, where the waters surrounding the island have been designated a marine reserve to protect their unique ecology and importance for fisheries. This spectacular area is characterized by its pristine beaches, red cliffs, and abundant desert flora and fauna.
In our marine, coastal, and desert ecology courses, students get hands-on conservation experience with species monitoring and data collection. They pair up with scientists from CICIMAR, UABCS, and other local research centers to collect data that informs resource management; including the establishment of a new humpback whale refuge, tourism guidelines for Cabo Pulmo, and fisheries research on environmental DNA to estimate species distribution and abundance.
These life-changing experiences in the field are continued at the EPI Mexico campus in La Paz - a lively place where weekly gatherings, talks, and workshops are organized with neighboring schools and community members. Youth tackle sustainability issues affecting La Paz such as climate change and water and waste management, raising awareness on all levels. Our Californios Verdes youth-led eco club meets on a regular basis to plan and coordinate conservation projects that hone their leadership skills while engaging their peers, community members, and scientists. As EPI Mexico celebrates more than a dozen years of working in the region, our reach has grown into the tens of thousands, taking on new challenges and horizons, determined to create sustainable communities where youth play an active role.
"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."
David is a local La Paz student, who was first introduced to Ecology Project International (EPI) through a local course in 2017 and has now been on five EPI courses. He attributes many of his sustainable living practices to what he’s learned through EPI. He says, “I have changed the way I dispose of garbage—I compost now to keep the organic materials. I also water our plants at night to conserve water, and we use greywater from our washing machine to wash the car and water the yard.”
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