|organisation: Amigos de la Naturaleza|
type of activity: environmental education
intro: welcome to Mexico! Beautiful Mexico. Hot Mexico. Land of Mariachi Bands and Tequila. But a land and people in crisis. Water extraction now dries up the Rio Grande before it reaches the sea. Mexico City’s air is polluted by nearly 5 million cars (thanks to many who buy additional vehicles to get around the ‘drive once a week’ prohibition). Mexican soils are heavily eroded, mostly due to cattle ranching. Only 2% of Mexico’s jungle remains.
what: trying to give a positive response to such a difficult situation, students at Monterrey University have organised themselves into the dynamic and active Amigos de la Naturaleza… It is a community benefit project in which the participation of environmental institutions and organisations working on some of the below named community projects is anticipated. In this way students are expected to work with these projects, implementing their knowledge and abilities on the environmental theme. Thus a great part of the activities are practical, in the field.
Students become ‘agents of change’ in their educational processes, their country and their community, as they are offered a complete route of action which includes traditional educational methods, field experiences in natural areas and community contacts and relationships, as well as participation and involvement in projects related to sustainability and community benefit.
why: Amigos de la Naturaleza aims at forming community leaders committed to nature conservation and sustainability. The organisation wants to fulfil a double goal of learning-service: educating on sustainability issues and providing a service for a community or environmental institution through the participation of students in community projects.
activities: here are some examples of ongoing projects:
achievements: the results coming from surveys taken among students participating in Amigos de la Naturaleza show a behaviour and paradigm shift that motivates a more sustainable life in terms of social and environmental commitment from the participants.
- design and construction of a ‘seam factory’ in the community of Mesa las Tablas (this project involved architecture students who made the design and construction specifications for the seam facility).
- workshops and lectures related to recycling, sustainable consumption, global warming, conservation, biodiversity, etc. given by students in rural and urban communities (e.g. the Environmental Education Project for children in the community of Alta Cimas in the ‘Reserva de la Biósfera El Cielo’, a natural protected area in Tamaulipas).
- the ‘waste characterisation’ workshop, which consisted of cataloguing the solid wastes generated at the Monterrey ITESM campus and thus identifying their recycling potential.
partnership: the external participation projects consist of supporting organisations and environmental institutions that ask for many kinds of collaboration, for example in environmental events or web design. In these projects, Amigos de la Naturaleza seeks collaborations with those institutions or organisations that sustain the preservation of Nuevo León state. Students are asked to collaborate with the identified subjects in drafting environmental projects.