Submitted by: Roberto Antonio Pedraza Munoz
Implemented country: Mexico
Title: Environmental Education in the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve
The Sierra Gorda situated in the eastern part of central Mexico covers an area of 380,000 hectares and is part of the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range. The area has an enormous biodiversity consisting of 2308 different plants, 327 bird, 131 mammals, 73 reptiles, 25 amphibious and 625 different butterflies species. Therefore, in 1997, the government declared the area a Biosphere sanctuary. The Sierra Gorda Ecological Group (GESGIAP) has been running an environmental education and training program for 19 years with environmentalists, teachers, pupils and students. Together with private landowners they form a strong alliance to preserve the biodiversity of the region. Monthly over 15,000 students out of more than 170 schools as well as parents, teachers and administrative bodies take part in the program, helping to protect and guaranteeing the sustainable use of the natural biosphere. The activities include the operation of recycling centers, reforestation projects by schools, waste collecting activities, construction of sewage plants, a planned waste disposal as well as the organization of community events to strengthen the community feeling. Additionally new income possibilities have evolved for the local population. These include an infrastructure for ceramic production, woodworks, leather production, and a sustainable species protection. This successful educational program has helped to prevent the migration of the inhabitants of the region.