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Few areas in the world have the biodiversity of the Gulf of California. Called the "Aquarium of the world", in its rich turquoise waters, there are 6,000 registered animal species. So productive is this Gulf, that more than half of Mexico’s total fisheries production comes from it. The east coast of the southern Baja California peninsula has 90 miles that host islands, a reef, and mountains acknowledged by UNESCO as human patrimony sites.

Today this coastline is threatened. After centuries of being ignored, this region has recently become the target for enormous tourist centers and mining. A change will come – but how it will be defined is yet to be determined. An informed citizenry is a powerful force in shaping that change.

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Education to Action provides tools to teachers to guide high school juniors to become a factor of change and to work in their communities to empower residents to safeguard these unique region and it waters. Our local experiences and research in other partos of the world, shows that personal conviction and participation by local residents is key to successful protection of natural resources.

This innovative program offers outdoor opportunities for students and teachers to build a personal connection with nature. Teachers participate in the Teacher Development Institute at the Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBA) and at the Fellowship program of EPI, organizations that are recognized for their successful track-records running specialized environmental training programs.

Teachers guide student-driven projects to be executed with inputs from community leaders and mentor scientists from the Center of Biological Research of the Northwest. The most effective projects are shown at Expo Science fairs and on a 3-city tour. Students from Mexico and USA share experiences.

In this region, there are two main high schools serving 10,000 residents in small, rural communities and ranches. The students will soon become active voters and leaders. Their projects and opinions will affect the knowledge and attitudes of their communities.

The first two years of the program will include the participation of these two high schools. At least, every year 150 students will be enrolled in conservation and community leadership and will be active in 24 communities and small ranches. Based on the success of this pilot, we anticipate adding 2 more high schools in year 3.