Bold Efforts to save the Vaquita

A floating sea pen is anchored off the coast of San Felipe, Mexico where vaquitas will temporarily be held. Credit: Kerry Coughlin/National Marine Mammal Foundation

An international team of experts has gathered in San Felipe, Mexico at the request of the Mexican government (SEMARNAT) and has begun a bold, compassionate plan known as VaquitaCPR to save the endangered vaquita porpoise from extinction. The vaquita porpoise, also known as the ‘panda of the sea,’ is the most endangered marine mammal in the world. Latest estimates by scientists who have been monitoring the vaquita for decades show there are fewer than 30 vaquitas left in the wild.  The vaquita only lives in the upper Gulf of California.

The project, which has been recommended by the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (CIRVA), involves locating, rescuing and then temporarily relocating the vaquitas to an ocean sanctuary off the coast of San Felipe. The explicit goal of CPR is to return the vaquitas to their natural habitat once the primary threat to their survival has been eliminated. Experts from Mexico, the United States, Denmark, the Netherlands, Canada, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom are all working together on VaquitaCPR.

“Rescuing these animals and placing them in a temporary sanctuary is necessary to protect them until their natural habitat can be made safe,” said Dr. Lorenzo Rojas-Bracho, lead vaquita expert and chair of CIRVA. “We realize that capturing even a few vaquitas will be very difficult, but if we don’t try the vaquita will disappear from the planet forever.”

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-10-scientists-bold-effort-vaquita-porpoise.html#jCp

Soundings – August 2017

SOUNDINGS
The ecological e-newsletter of Eco-Alianza de Loreto, A.C.
August 2017

Eco-Alianza de Loreto’s mission is to protect and conserve the natural and cultural environment by empowering civil society and government to jointly create healthy and prosperous communities.

Our vision is that communities believe their quality of life is related to the health and vitality of the environment and citizens act accordingly.

Fishing is for the Birds


Photos courtesy of Richard Jackson Photography.
This photographic series by Rick Jackson proves how the proper tools and the proper technique make for an effective combination, as this Reddish Egret successfully catches breakfast (clockwise from upper left). Summer heat in Loreto demands efficiency in movement!!
Grants and Donations Support Marine Park Enforcement Efforts

Photo courtesy of ProNatura Noroeste.

Paralelo 28 Gathering Steam Statewide


Hugo Quintero (third from right at front table) took part in the La Paz presentation.
Photo courtesy of Paralelo28.org

As reported previously in Soundings, Eco-Alianza is one of four non-profit partners in the
Paralelo 28 collaboration. Late last month, Eco-Alianza President Hugo Quintero joined in a public presentation in La Paz, where representatives of tourism companies presented a check to support the collaborative efforts. Funds are raised through a variety of methods, including sales of wristbands, stuffed animals, events, and general donations to Paralelo28.org .

In addition to Eco-Alianza, participating organizations include ProNatura Noroeste, Niparajá, and Red de Observadores Ciudadanos La Paz. The groups seek to partner with businesses, tourism service suppliers, tourists, fishermen and society in general, in the defense and safeguard of protected natural areas. Funds raised will be dedicated to support surveillance and enforcement efforts in five natural protected areas in the region, including the Bay of Loreto National Park.

Quintero said he hopes to host a similar Paralelo 28 presentation in Loreto in the late summer or fall. For more information: Paralelo28.org .

Environmental Education Never Ends at Eco-Alianza

Whether it’s an educational event, a workshop, a field trip, a public presentation, or some sort of teacher meeting or training, there’s always environmental education activity afoot at Eco-Alianza. At the center of it all is Environmental Education Coordinator Edna Peralta.Getting children and adults outside to experience nature is her favorite part of the job, Edna says, because helping people learn and helping them to make that personal connection is what it’s all about. After more than seven years building the environmental education program at Eco-Alianza, she is hopeful that she may be joined in the not too distant future by another educator.

In the meantime, here’s a brief glimpse at the activities from the first half of this year (a presentation Edna whipped together for Eco-Alianza’s Board of Directors meeting in July:
https://www.kizoa.com/Movie-Maker/d129472351k5293411o1/201707-reporte-trimestral-edu-amb

And for a sense of the impact these environmental education programs have on Loreto’s children, here’s a brief video, with thanks to volunteer “Pepe” Ruiz Cheires and K-Drone Adventure Films https://youtu.be/_VXF5VmW4bw

Tickets NOW on Sale for 10th Anniversary Gala

Come join us and kick up your heels on November 11 to celebrate Eco-Alianza’s 10 Years of Conservation. Our anniversary dinner/auction has sold out five years in a row, so with limited seating for our hallmark 10th Anniversary we’re expecting to sell out very early. Please reserve your tickets now to guarantee your seats.

Eco-Alianza Headquarters “Going Solar”


Photo of CenCoMA showing solar panels.
Photo courtesy of Richard Jackson Photography.

They’ve been in the plans for some time, but the array of solar panels on the roof of Eco-Alianza’s CenCoMA headquarters is an obvious sign of the organization’s long-term energy efficiency effort. Energy-efficient lighting, modular air conditioning units, outdoor plantings, and a shade-covered courtyard also have contributed to improved energy efficiency.

Hugo Quintero, Eco-Alianza CEO and co-founder, said the nine solar panels and accompanying microinverters are just the beginning. Additional panels will be added over the next year or so, coordinated with other building improvements, to maximize energy production. Each panel is tilted at the perfect angle to take full advantage of sunlight throughout the year.

“Nature Notes” is a monthly short feature detailing some of the wondrous, seasonal activities taking place around us.

Clockwise order from upper left.
Brown Booby adult with single remaining chick.
Brewsteri subspecies pair of Brown Boobies at a nest site.
Blue-footed Booby’s blue feet.
Blue-Footed Booby in flight.

Photos courtesy of Tom Haglund/BCS Birds.

By Tom HaglundThey’rrre baaaack!!

If you’ve been missing seeing the Boobies the past few months there’s good news: they are returning from their annual nesting grounds to Loreto in good numbers. They leave in spring and go to several islands to nest. The Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster) usually lays two eggs. The Blue-footed Booby (Sula nebouxii) lays one to three. Both parents bring food to their chicks and regurgitate it for their consumption. Neither species typically raises all of its chicks successfully.

Both birds dive for fish, the Blue-footed generally from higher than the Brown and very vertically to gain greater depth. The Brown flies lower over the water and dives at a shallower angle, returning to the air very quickly after most dives, whereas the Blue-footed often stays submerged for several seconds. The Blue-footed tends to fish in larger groups than does the Brown.

There is a subspecies of Brown Booby (brewsteri) here, the male of which has a whitish head, the females of both types of Browns look exactly alike. The Blue-footed, as the name implies, has blue feet.

Both Browns and Blue-footed can be seen regularly in fall and winter in various locations around Loreto. On the Eastern and Northern cliffs of Isla Coronado they can be quite numerous. The remaining pilings of the old pier on the north side of Las Garzas often has a number of roosting Blue-footeds. Both species can be seen diving for food all along the malecón and beaches.

There’s Still Time to Take the Soundings Readers Survey

Early last summer, we embarked on a quest to inform more fully, and to interact more frequently, with everyone interested in Eco-Alianza’s mission. The initiative included Soundings – a new, monthly e-newsletter.

Last month we began a 10-question Readers Survey, which ends a week from today. Please take two minutes to share your thoughts about Soundings‘ first year, and you may find yourself the lucky winner of an Eco-Alianza cap or T-shirt – our way of saying thanks for your time and your opinions!!

Survey in English:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8J6RTH7

Survey in Spanish:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KHB3KSC

Coming in the September Soundings

Loreto’s Own Organic, Pasteurized Goat Milk and Cheese Operation Expecting November Opening!!!

Our Loreto office address is:
Centro Communitario para el Medio Ambiente (CenCoMA)
Miguel Hidalgo SN, Loc 3
Esq. Romanita
Col. Contro, CP 23880
Loreto, B.C.S., México
http://www.ecoalianzaloreto.org
http://espanol.ecoalianzaloreto.org

Eco-Alianza “Soundings”

 

SOUNDINGS
The ecological e-newsletter of Eco-Alianza de Loreto, A.C.
July 2017

Eco-Alianza de Loreto’s mission is to protect and conserve the natural and cultural environment by empowering civil society and government to jointly create healthy and prosperous communities.

Our vision is that communities believe their quality of life is related to the health and vitality of the environment and citizens act accordingly.

 

Eco-Alianza Teams Up to Support Totoaba Program

Photos by Megan Rogers and Eco-Alianza staff.

 

By Megan Rogers, Eco-Alianza Intern with contributions by Eco-Alianza staff

More than 50 volunteers rolled up their sleeves on July 14 at the Santispac beach on Bahía Concepción in Mulegé, determined to do whatever is necessary to support a critically endangered fish, the Totoaba. On that day, the task was to release 30,000 young fish into the bay, a bucketful at a time.

When the 244 islands and islets of the Gulf of California were declared a World Heritage Site in 2005, the Totoaba was one of the reasons – an endemic, endangered species that historically has been an important food source in the area. Currently it is also the center of controversy, as illegal fishing operations target the species and sell it covertly to a black market in China that covets only part of the fish, its swim bladder. The gill nets that are used to catch Totoaba in its range in the northern Gulf also are blamed for the precipitous decline of the world’s most endangered cetacean, the Vaquita (see article below).

As Totoaba have become rarer and rarer, the Mexican government has taken a variety of steps to conserve both the Totoaba and the Vaquita. One of the efforts for the Totoaba involves a privately-owned company called Earth Ocean Farms in La Paz, which operates a hatchery for the fish and raises them through aquaculture until they are large enough to have a fair chance for survival.

This is the third year that Eco-Alianza has taken part in the fish release, sanctioned by México’s secretariat in charge of fisheries, Sagarpa, as well as Semarnat. Part of the reasoning for the release site is that it’s an area within the natural range of the Totoaba, but is nearly 400 miles south of the range of the Vaquita.

Although the program has a bit of a wait-and-see, experimental element to it, helping an endangered species in any way is a positive step, says Eco-Alianza President and CEO Hugo Quintero. “Even if all the Totoaba babies released are eaten by larger fish, events like these not only aim to help the ecosystems, but to change the mind-set of all the participating people, engaging them in conservation and in a responsible consumption of seafood products.” Releasing the animals, he says, “brings hope to young kids and helps them feel both connected to nature, and part of a potential conservation solution.” This year, he said, several special needs children from Santa Rosalía took part, giving them a rare opportunity for a hands-on conservation experience.

Amidst a diverse crowd of passionate adults, my camera lens gravitated most towards the glowing faces of the children at the Totoabas release. Though I come from a dramatically different climate and culture, I could relate to the excitement of the children in full, recalling my own Salmon release experience when I was their age. The physical impact of the Totoabas release will remain largely ambiguous, as the fish were not tagged in any way; however, the greatest impact of the release could be in the memories made by children. It is experiences like the Totoabas release that cultivate the next generation of environmentally connected and conscious citizens. Witnessing the joy of the children as they liberated the precious fish gave me immense hope that as they grow into teens and parents one day, environmental awareness will be a part of their identity.

Thank you to Eco-Alianza volunteer José Gregorio Ruiz Cheires for creating this video of the event:
https://youtu.be/iAnWjejqIxA

Here’s a link to a video on the Totoaba issue, in Spanish
https://youtu.be/lXc6CZ7NmNo

UNESCO Meeting Yields Surprising Results Regarding Vaquita

Photo courtesy of Center for Biological Diversity.

Earlier this month, the annual meeting of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, in Krakow, Poland, resulted in some unexpected results for many involved in the struggle to save the Vaquita, the world’s most endangered cetacean.

The small porpoise, which lives in the northern Gulf of California and nowhere else, has dwindled over the past decades from an estimated population of almost 600 in the late 1990s to 245 in 2008; 200 in 2012; 97 in 2014, 60 in 2015; and now 30. The marine mammals’ main cause of mortality has been entanglement and subsequent drowning in fishing nets, many aimed at another endangered species, the Totoaba fish (see article above).

In a 1972 convention the United Nations created the World Heritage Committee to identify and designate specific sites around the world that contain elements of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), including threatened animals and plants, unique physical or biological formations, and other natural features. The Islands and Protected Areas of the Gulf of California were declared a World Heritage Site in 2005, partly because of the endangered Vaquita and the endangered Totoaba. As a signatory of the World Heritage treaty, it is incumbent upon the Mexican government to conserve and protect the 244 islands and islets that are part of the site, and also the elements of OUV.

Part of the World Heritage convention declares that sites can be declared at the annual meetings as “World Heritage Site in Danger,” a designation that allows for other countries to take extreme measures, and use UNESCO funding, to protect the OUV elements of the site. If the site loses its OUV elements, it also allows for de-certification as a World Heritage Site.

Since May 2015, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Animal Welfare Institute have lobbied for the UNESCO World Heritage Committee to apply “In Danger” designation for The Islands and Protected Areas of the Gulf of California site, including all five islands in the Bay of Loreto National Park. This year the resolution was widely expected to pass, at the annual meeting in Poland. Part of the argument is that México’s government has not taken adequate measures to protect the Vaquita and Totoaba. The petition paper is linked below.

Surprisingly, however, less than two weeks before the meeting, México announced that the temporary gill net ban in the upper Gulf, where the Vaquita live, has been made permanent. The committee at its meeting voted to delay for a year the decision to attach “In Danger” designation to the site.

Links:
http://mexiconewsdaily.com/news/unesco-postpones-in-danger-designation/
?utm_source=Mexico+News+Daily&utm_campaign=ab7aafc164-July+6&utm
_medium=email&utm_term=0_f1536a3787-ab7aafc164-347997877

http://mexiconewsdaily.com/news/gillnet-fishing-ban-becomes-permanent/

https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/mammals/vaquita
/pdfs/Gulf_of_California_WH_In_Danger_Petition_5_13_15.pdf


Sister City Committee Reaching Across
the Border for Cooperation

Linda Kinninger, Arely Arce, Caryl Cantrell, Rosa Campos.
Eco-Alianza staff photo.
Loreto’s Sister City Committee has held several meetings this spring and summer to investigate ways to work cooperatively with a similar committee in our Sister City of Ventura, CA.

Among other topics, the group is considering a variety of fundraising ideas to support cross-cultural trips for exceptional Loreto children to visit Ventura and  participate in an exchange program focused on environmental education.

The trips would also have cultural components, as well as informal opportunities to experience life with American families.

The Sister City Committee in Ventura, as reported previously in Soundings, is considering ideas for a “Migrant Club” project that would benefit Loreto. The group’s Migrant Club was initiated earlier this year by 10 Mexican nationals who now live in the Ventura area. Formation of the group may make them eligible for matching funds from the Mexican government for projects that benefit sister communities in México (i.e., Loreto).

Currently, both groups are investigating the feasibility of initiating a used motor oil collection facility for Loreto, which could ultimately result in used motor oil being recycled. The municipality of Loreto is helping to explore the idea, which would require approval of an appropriate site, as well as a variety of environmental and other permits. On the plus side, the facility would ensure that used motor oil is collected in an appropriate manner, instead of potentially being disposed of in ways that could leach into drinking water aquifers or the marine park.

Watch this space for more news on this project and other Sister City/Sister Park/Sister Mission happenings.


Meet Jimena Gallegos, Eco-Alianza’s Projects Manager

Jimena Gallegos, Projects Manager.
Eco-Alianza staff photo.At the beginning of July, Eco-Alianza welcomed a new staff member, Jimena Gallegos Palos, who will serve as Projects Manager. Jimena earned a degree in Electronic and Telecommunications Engineering from the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosí, her home state in North-Central México. She is currently studying for a master’s degree in Environmental Management and Marine Technologies.

Jimena also has a strong interest in Eco-Alianza’s budding business incubator initiative and holds a degree in Social Incubators from the Cuernavaca campus of the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education. She has previously worked to link México’s national entrepreneurial support system to business acceleration platforms and a private capital management network, all to benefit budding entrepreneurs. Eco-Alianza staff members came to know Jimena through her work in La Paz on various StartUp Weekend events, supporting local entrepreneurs and helping to flesh out their ideas (previously reported in Soundings).

“My expectations with Eco-Alianza are to support the growth of the multidisciplinary team and the community in general for empowerment, education, and the conservation of our natural ecosystems,” Jimena says. “I believe in gratitude to the universe for each of the opportunities it offers us, recognizing that giving is not a cycle – sharing is part of living.”

Eco-Alianza President and CEO Hugo Quintero says he is thrilled to have Jimena on the team. “She is very well organized and has a mind for working in teams,” Hugo says. “She will help coordinate our efforts both internally and externally, and importantly, will bring increased effectiveness and efficiency to our many projects, resulting in maximum value from every penny donated by individuals and donor organizations.”

Summer Interns Fall for Loreto

If you’ve stopped by Eco-Alianza recently, you may have noticed the friendly smiles and diligent work habits of our two summer interns, who both head back north late this month.

Megan Rogers (17), from Woodinville, Washington, attends Woodinville High School, and was recently elected Student Body President. Megan’s proud grandparents are Linda and Tony Kinninger of Eco-Alianza’s Board of Directors and Advisors. Megan has enthusiastically worked closely with Edna Peralta, in the Environmental Education Program benefiting Loreto youth. Megan states, “The impact Eco-Alianza has made in Loreto over these past 10 years is truly incredible and something I was determined to be a part of since elementary school. Contributing to this organization has reaffirmed my passion of serving others and deepened my love for the beauty of Loreto and its people. Edna is a wonderful role model and I’m so thankful to learn from her and everyone at the office each day.”

Alex McBratney (17), from Santa Ana, California, attends Troy High School. Alex is the third member of his family to intern at Eco-Alianza. His sisters Kelly and Katie enjoyed the experience so much, it inspired Alex to spend a month working at Eco-Alianza and exploring the diversity of Loreto. Alex has been working along with Hector Trinidad, Director of Eco-Alianza’s conservation programs and Loreto Coastkeeper, and Edna Peralta, Coordinator, Environmental Education Programs. Alex says he was struck by the natural beauty of Loreto, which helped him understand why Eco-Alianza’s staff works so hard to protect it. Working on the Coastkeeper program with Hector, Alex says, also showed him the support that the community has for conservation and nature.

We’ll miss Megan and Alex as they head back to finish up high school, and we expect we haven’t see the last of them!

Eco-Alianza staff photos.

 

“Nature Notes” is a monthly short feature detailing some of the wondrous, seasonal activities taking place around us.

Clockwise order from upper left.
Wilson’s Plover, already an adept crab catcher at a few days out of the egg.
Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, crab specialist with a crushing bill for the job.
Little Blue Heron, won’t turn blue for months, but has the crab thing figured out.
Ring-billed Gull, take ’em or leave ’em, yummy when ya can get ’em.
Photos courtesy of Tom Haglund/BCS Birds.

By Tom Haglund

As we approach Loreto’s rainy season it might be a good time to reflect a minute on what that means. The countryside will explode in greenery and butterflies, of course, but some of the other big benefits are more subtle. Vast amounts of new soil and nutrients will course down from the mountains through the arroyos and pump new life into the esteros (estuaries) all along the Baja coastline.

Here in Loreto, that means Estero las Garzas will receive its share of life’s basics to continue producing protein on an enormous scale. A walk along the beach around Las Garzas is an easy lesson in this amazing cycle, as we will see literally millions of holes, many surrounded by some tiny mud balls. These are mostly the homes of crabs. Various sizes of several species make up this incredible scramble of food looking for food. They are in the middle between their diet of even smaller life forms and the much larger shorebirds who harvest them.

Some birds are crab specialists, others just take them when convenient. Wilson’s Plovers eat little else and live their entire lives on a couple of miles of Baja shoreline. Yellow-crowned Night Herons also take crabs almost exclusively, whereas the Little Blue Heron, and Ring-billed Gull are opportunistic crab eaters. Obviously, these vital coastal interactive zones between land and sea are impacted by whatever comes down those arroyos. Be it a grand summer rain or some introduced runoff, they cannot dodge the flow.

Soundings is One Year Old – Take the Survey!

A little over a year ago, we embarked on a quest to inform more fully, and to interact more frequently, with everyone interested in Eco-Alianza’s mission. This initiative has included website upgrades, the beginnings of the Loreto.com website, frequent postings on social media, and Soundings – our monthly e-newsletter.

So what do you think? We’d appreciate two minutes out of your busy day to help us make Soundings even better. Take our 10-question readers survey, and you may find yourself the lucky winner of an Eco-Alianza cap or T-shirt – our way of saying thanks for your time and your opinions!!

Survey in English:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8J6RTH7

Survey in Spanish:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KHB3KSC

Unique Experiences – Key to an Amazing
10th Anniversary Event
 


Photo courtesy of Richard Jackson Photography.

At Eco-Alianza, our CenCoMA headquarters is already abuzz with talk about November’s 10th Anniversary dinner/auction gala. The hallmark event promises to be the best ever, even topping last year’s elegant soiree in the newly refurbished courtyard.

To make the event extra special, we need your help. One of the highlights of the event is always the live auction, which not only raises critical funds for Eco-Alianza programs and initiatives, but offers up some pretty amazing items and experiences. For our 10th Anniversary, we really need the WOW factor, and that’s where you come in!


Photo courtesy of Richard Jackson Photography.The vast majority of NGOs either burn out or fizzle in their first decade, so this really is a momentous occasion. Do you have an item, or a unique experience, that could be auctioned off to help the cause?? A lot of our bidders are doers, and aren’t always attracted by “stuff,” so we’re especially looking for out-of-the-ordinary outings or passes or tag-alongs or special trips with a unique flair! Our silent auction needs items and experiences, as well, so now’s the time, as we begin putting together our auction catalog.

All donations are tax-deductible in the U.S., so if you can pitch in, or just want to discuss an idea, please email Edna Peralta at Edna.Peralta@ecoalianzaloreto.net . And thank you so much for your support – we’ll see you November 11.

Blue Whales Lead to Blue Skies in Santa Barbara Channel

 

Most of us remember the first time we saw a blue whale, probably the largest animal ever to roam the planet. Their elegant grace almost belies description, and it’s easy to forget for a moment their massive size as one listens to their breathing or watches their tail slip beneath the waves.

 

Slower container ships means safer whales.
Photos courtesy of Earth Media Laboratory.

Shipping lanes bisect the Santa Barbara Channel.

Unfortunately, their tremendous size translates into an inability to turn on a dime, or to get out of the way of passing ships – which becomes a huge problem when blue whales cross shipping lanes. But just as we’re in love with blue whales here in their southern sanctuary of the Bay of Loreto National Park, cetacean enthusiasts in our Sister City of Ventura, and neighboring Santa Barbara, are taking steps to protect the whales on their migration route.

As it turns out, shipping companies can have a heart, too, especially when compassion is coupled with an improved bottom line. The video linked below explains the win-win situation that is now in play. Shipping companies are slowing their vessels as they traverse the Santa Barbara Channel, resulting in fewer problems for the whales, improved fuel efficiency for the ships, and also far less air pollution. Proving again that cooperation often beats confrontation, and it never hurts to ask. Enjoy!

https://www.ourair.org/air-pollution-marine-shipping/

Save the Date for an Evening to Remember

 

 

 

Our Loreto office address is:
Centro Communitario para el Medio Ambiente (CenCoMA)
Miguel Hidalgo SN, Loc 3
Esq. Romanita
Col. Contro, CP 23880
Loreto, B.C.S., México
http://www.ecoalianzaloreto.org
http://espanol.ecoalianzaloreto.org
Our USA mailing address is:
Eco-Alianza de Loreto, A.C. – CenCoMA
3419 Via Lido, Suite 637
Newport Beach, CA 92663
USA

For more information, questions & requests our email address is:

ecoalianzaloreto@gmail.com 


Copyright ©  2017 Eco-Alianza de Loreto, A.C. All rights reserved.

Rocking and Rolling on the Sea of Cortez

Great morning reminder that everything is built on flux and nothing remains fixed …  Easy roller –  5.2 mag earthquake about 80 miles east of Loreto. Everything in place – nothing falling from shelves – but houseplant leaves looked as if a strong wind had blown through the door. Life on the edge …  

Un dia de descanso …

A tiny crescent moon floats above the edge of Isla Carmen waiting for the sun to chase it higher.  The silvery sliver of light bathed in soft yellows and pink. The sea presses gently on the shoreline with tiny slapping sounds.  Such a morning!

As light begins to fill the waters of the bay of Loreto, neighbors appear, dogs in tow or in the lead.  Joggers breath heavily, keeping their pace.  Seagulls strut and small fish leap as if to tease.

Gorgeous, this Sunday .. this honoring the beginning of a new day.  Un dia de descanso.  Heart full.  Mind at peace.

 

Gulf of California – World Heritage Site

The Gulf of California  was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 2005, with modifications added in 2007 and 2011. Considering it’s beauty and bounty, it is easy to see why this area received recognition. A brief description from their website gives an overview of why this wondrous area is protected:

Islands and Protected Areas of the Gulf of California

The site comprises 244 islands, islets and coastal areas that are located in the Gulf of California in north-eastern Mexico. The Sea of Cortez and its islands have been called a natural laboratory for the investigation of speciation. Moreover, almost all major oceanographic processes occurring in the planet’s oceans are present in the property, giving it extraordinary importance for study. The site is one of striking natural beauty in a dramatic setting formed by rugged islands with high cliffs and sandy beaches, which contrast with the brilliant reflection from the desert and the surrounding turquoise waters. It is home to 695 vascular plant species, more than in any marine and insular property on the World Heritage List. Equally exceptional is the number of fish species: 891, 90 of them endemic. The site, moreover, contains 39% of the world’s total number of species of marine mammals and a third of the world’s marine cetacean species.

Loreto Bay National Marine Park is one of the areas included in the World Heritage designation.  Efforts of local and government organizations focus on maintaining the seas bounty and wild beauty, and are supported by increasing awareness by organizations such as Eco-Alianza de Loreto.

For additional descriptions of the criteria for inclusion as a World Heritage Site – as well as expanded details on the areas themselves, here is alink to the site: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1182

MAP supplement information Islands and Protected Areas of the Gulf of California2011.jpg

Christmas 2016

Christmas morning 2016

Christmas morning 2016

‘goodest’ christmas morning you ..

woke to a crescent moon lingering over dark seas .. the lights of the small city twinkling across the beach and water … grateful to be able to walk to the beach .. stand on the shore and ponder the inhale exhale of the planet and it’s inhabitants.. the strangeness and the things that make sense .. so many mysteries .. how energies can work at cross purposes and how our now individual manifestations can blend or clash with amazing intensities …

i sit somewhere down this long narrow peninsula .. once a piece of a grander whole, and wonder if that isn’t just us .. small fragments of something once much larger ..

or still connected .. that cosmic force that is unseen but occasionally intuited .. 

ah .. the ponder .. the fresh cup of hot coffee .. the sleeping children way past the dawn .. the gifts waiting to be opened .. the stockings to be reckoned with .. the early preparations of a meal to be shared with family and friends .. 

so many ways to open a day ..

on this christmas morning .. i wish you the magic that fills the hearts of children in anticipation of the holidays .. the gift that winter bestows, begging us to rest .. in preparation for spring and the burst of new life ….