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Urban Planning
and Conservation

- Mount Kuchumaa
Conservation Easement
- Tecate River Park Project

- Las Piedras
- Workshops for Children
- Teacher Training Program
- Interpretive Trail
- Summer Camps
- Volunteer Training Program
- Tecate River Clean Up
Cultural and

- Parque del Profesor
- Dia de Muertos,
"Day of the Dead"
- River Through My Eyes
- World Environment Day
- Native American Culture

Protecting Tecate's unique historical, cultural and spiritual legacy.

As longtime members of the Tecate community, Fundación La Puerta takes pride in fostering a sense of place through its educational and community based activities. The beloved Parque del Profesor, a 28 acre city park and recreational center built and maintained by the Fundación for the community of Tecate, provides a vast and beautiful outdoor arena which hosts a variety sports activities such as soccer tournaments.

Cultural and Recreational Program Objectives

• Promoting a sense of place through educational and community-based activities.

• Preserving the beauty and integrity of Tecate's natural environment.

• Protecting Tecate's unique historical, cultural and spiritual legacy.

Parque del Profesor (Professor’s Park)
Set in the foothills of Mount Kuchumaa, Parque del Profesor is a cultural and recreational center fostering a sense of place among the citizenry of Tecate. Parque del Profesor, named in honor of Edmond Szekely, is the backbone of community interaction where events and celebrations have drawn as many as 2,000 participants. Picnics, guided interpretive trail walks, jogging, and a host of sporting events, at the state and local level, and annual cultural and holiday celebrations provide a variety of activities and events for the citizens of Tecate to enjoy. The Fundación also offers the Parque free of charge for weddings, parties, graduations, and other family celebrations. Las Piedras Environmental Education Center lies within the heart of the Parque and provides a magical place where children and families learn to love nature. Events held at the Parque are at the heart of the Fundación’s overall vision of achieving a sustainable way of life in the Tecate region based on respect and celebration of the human and natural communities.

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Ongoing Projects and Events

Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead).
Efforts to preserve and honor the rich cultural traditions of Mexico include an annual Dia de Muertos celebration. A blend of the pre-Hispanic and Christian cultures, it is believed that on November 2nd, the spirit of the beloved who has passed come back to be with his or her family. Families go to the cemetery to wash and decorate the grave site with flowers. Colorful altars made in their honor help the spirits to “stay on the good path.” Traditional altars include elements rich in symbolism like sugar skulls, salt, water, and pan de muertos (Day of the Dead bread). A black dog guards the flower petal path which is used by the spirit to come in from one realm into the other. Crosses, candles and incense give the altars their mystic warmth as articles of clothing, traditional food and drink remind us of the person that is gone.

Each year, the Fundación sponsors an altar contest for the local Tecate community schools. The winners of the contest receive prizes including funds for the upkeep of their schools. As many as 2,000 Tecate citizens attend this colorful and remarkable outdoor festival taking part in and enjoying the live music, storytelling, children’s arts and crafts, traditional Mexican food booths, and many other activities. The Day of the Dead celebration is offered free of charge, ensuring access and participation by everyone in the community.

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River Through My Eyes.
Promoting awareness through artistic expression is the goal of Fundación La Puerta’s “River Through My Eyes” and “My River, My Life” painting contests for the school children of Tecate, which is organized jointly with the Cultural Institute of Baja California. Over 1,500 children, ages 7 through 11, from throughout the region come to spend the day creating their individual artwork which represent their personal expression of their vision for some aspect of the Tecate River. This celebration of art and environmental awareness is a component of the Fundación’s overall committment to fostering a positive River Culture within the community of Tecate. This annual event creates an artistic vibrancy celebrating each child’s freestyle creativity. Powerful arrays of greens and blues emerge from the individual paintings which are then carefully displayed together forming a vast mosaic of a living river which are exhibited and awarded on the grounds of the Parque del Profesor.

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World Environment Day.
Over 20,000 people have joined in the festivities at the Fundación’s annual World Environment Day held since June, 2000. Educating and inspiring the citizens of Tecate to respect and celebrate the environment with fun-filled activities such as: petting zoos (including marine life); insect exhibitions; desert mushroom exhibitions; car oil disposal workshops; regional watershed education; face painting; dramatic storytelling; and live theater. Festival participants are treated to delicious traditional Mexican foods, regional music, and dance. Fundación La Puerta provides free exhibition space to many local and regional governmental and non for profit organizations to showcase their important work on a host of environmental issues. This concentration of key organizations in the environmental field, brings hands-on learning and exposure of many critical ecological issues directly to the citizens of Tecate. Schools, researchers, and museums also are given booth space to share information on such topics as home made biodiesel, and composting and the demonstration water quality provided by the local Tecate Water Authority.

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Native American Culture.
For thousands of years, native peoples have inhabited the unique environments of our region, building their lives and cultures around a profound understanding of the natural world. Today, this enduring sense of place can be found in an elder’s knowledge of medicinal plants, in the skilled hands of an artisan as she gathers wild rushes to weave a basket, and in the ancient songs and stories shared with young people to teach them important life lessons.

To preserve and strengthen the cultural and spiritual legacy of our region’s indigenous peoples, Fundación la Puerta provides opportunities for native teachers to impart their traditional wisdom to thousands of students through workshops and interpretive walks. Students learn about edible and medicinal uses of local native plants and gain an indigenous perspective of the natural landscape. Through a binational collaborative effort, the Foundation is working with local and regional partners in the establishment of a Kumiai community museum, contributing to the preservation of indigenous history and culture, and creating spaces for special events and workshops that honor the spirit of our region’s native cultures.

Fundacion La Puerta is also currently providing support to the native Pa Ipai community in Santa Catarina to strengthen their native language and cultural roots, promote the use traditional building techniques and adobe to build their own recycling center and explore ecotourism opportunities in order to share some of their artistic crafts and cultural traditions.

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Tecate, Baja California, Mexico
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