The State of the Environment: The Baja California Peninsula
One of the world’s last truly wild places, the Baja California peninsula is a unique yet threatened environment. It is an area of solitude, with sheltered coves, secluded beaches and rugged mountains and deserts. Currently the peninsula hosts a Natural World Heritage site, three biosphere reserves, essential turtle habitats and gray whale nurseries. The peninsula is also a year-round getaway for nature lovers, with world-renowned surfing, camping and hiking, fishing, bird watching, diving, biking and kayaking.
While the region is in need of economic development, misguided policies and projects threaten to permanently and unnecessarily alter the region's landscape. Current threats on the peninsula include, but are not limited to:
The Ocean Foundation and its partner organizations have long played an important and unique role in supporting grassroots organizations and projects along the Baja California peninsula. TOF has years of experience in research and conservation, international environmental policy, community-based conservation and fundraising in Baja California.
In 2009, TOF merged with Pro Peninsula, an organization established in 2001 to strengthen individual and community efforts to protect the natural environment on the Baja California peninsula. Pro Peninsula has led community conservation efforts on the peninsula through various programs including the Grupo Tortuguero, Proyecto Caguama, Ocean Connectors and the Eastern Pacific Hawksbill Initiative, as well as by strengthening the capacities of local, grassroots non-profits to carry out research, conservation and education throughout the region. The union between TOF and Pro Peninsula not only brought together two of the strongest, most effective environmental organizations working in the region, but also unites the individuals who have worked so hard over the years to protect the natural resources on the Baja California peninsula, as well as the marine environment throughout the Eastern Pacific and beyond.
The Ocean Foundation's community-based approach works to strengthen individual and community efforts to protect the natural environment, creating a comprehensive conservation strategy to carry out and support programs that address ocean conservation at a grassroots level and lead to concrete conservation results, while strengthening the capacity of local conservation groups. TOF's Pro Peninsula portfolio supports groups actively working throughout the region to protect key species and critical habitat, using a wide variety of conservation methods including education, conservation science, community organizing, fisheries reform, advocacy and lobbying, and more. Additionally, it encompasses all of the tools utilized by TOF including: direct program work, fiscal sponsorships, donor-advised funds, friends of funds, field of interest funds and fiscal sponsorship funds; each focused on supporting local, grassroots research, conservation and education efforts in the region.
Fiscal Sponsorship Projects
Eastern Pacific Hawksbill Initiative
Laguna San Ignacio Ecosystem Science Project
Ocean Connectors Environmental Education
Run to the Sea
The Science Exchange
Current and Past Regional Grantees
Amigos para la Conservacion de Cabo Pulmo A.C.
Agencia Internacional Desarrollo de Alternativas Integrales, A.C
Cabo Pulmo Conservation Network
ISLA (Conservación del Territorio Insular Mexicano, A.C.)
La Paz Coastkeeper
Pro Esteros A.C.
The Ocean Foundation recently hosted the Conservation Science Symposium in Loreto in May 2011, and brought together the top individuals, institutions and agencies working on science and conservation in the region.
Mark J. Spalding, Ocean Foundation President, has more than 20 years experience working on marine conservation efforts in Baja California Sur (BCS) and has contributed to numerous book chapters and publications on marine management in the region, including a book he wrote on Mexican Law and Whale watching in Magdalena Bay.
Kama Dean, Program Officer, has more than 10 years working in the region as the Executive Director of Pro Peninsula and President of the Grupo Tortuguero de las Californias.
Dr. William Gilly, Co-Director, SURMAR-ASIMAR
Dr. S. Hoyt Peckham, Director, ProCaguama
Dr. Stephen Swartz, Co-Director, Laguna San Ignacio Ecosystem Science Project
Dr. Jorge Urban, Co-Director, Laguna San Ignacio Ecosystem Science Project
Dr. Unai Marcaida, Co-Director, SURMAR-ASIMAR
Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, Director, LiveBlue
Alexander Gaos, Director, Eastern Pacific Hawksbill Initiative
Jonathan Smith, Director, Run to the Sea
Frances Kinney, Director, Ocean Connectors
Tim Dykman, Director, Ocean Revolution
Brad Nahill, Director, SEEtheWILD
Katherine Comer, Director, The Science Exchange
The Ocean Foundation has worked throughout BCS as an advisor to the Walton Family Foundation, Commission for Environmental Cooperation, SuMar, Amigos para la Conservación de Cabo Pulmo, IFAW, NRDC, RARE and Alianza para la Sustentabilidad del Noroeste Costero (ALCOSTA) on various issues pertaining to the overall conservation of Baja California Sur.
Learn more about our work in Loreto, BCS, Mexico.
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