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Programs---
Urban Planning
and Conservation

- Mount Kuchumaa
Conservation Easement
- Tecate River Park Project
Environmental
Education

- Las Piedras
- Workshops for Children
- Teacher Training Program
- Interpretive Trail
- Summer Camps
- Volunteer Training Program

Community
Development


- Tecate River Clean Up
- Organic Garden & Recycling Center
Cultural and
Recreational

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

Las Piedras Environmental Education Center lies at the center of Fundación La Puerta's Environmental Education Program and its commitment to creating a magical place where children fall in love with the earth. Here, children discover the interdependent relationship between humankind and nature, and learn to treasure and protect their natural environment.

“We could never have loved the earth so well, if we had had no childhood in it. “
—George Elliot

Environmental Education Program Objectives.

• Educate and inspire the people of Tecate to respect and celebrate their immediate natural environment–the chaparral plant community.

• Foster a sense of place among the citizenry of Tecate.

• Offer the community a cultural and recreational center that is set in a natural environment.

• Organize and promote events that celebrate human interdependence with nature.

• Enrich the school system's environmental curricula by offering educational materials, activities and training.

Las Piedras Environmental Education Center.

Set in the midst of 28 acres of chaparral near the foot of Mount Kuchumaa in Tecate, Baja California, Mexico, Las Piedras ("the rocks") is a vital part of Parque del Profesor, a city park and recreational center built and maintained by Fundación La Puerta for the community of Tecate.

A visit to Las Piedras is all encompassing. Its boulder-like architecture inspires awe and wonder while providing a unique learning environment for thousands of children and their families. Children in the buildings feel like they are part of the earth. One building is an open workshop/shelter where they can work with larger materials like clay and reeds. The other is the audio visual room—it's like an ancient cave site, with earth-formed benches shaped like rattlesnakes.

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Ongoing Programs and Events

Environmental Workshops for Children.
Over 25,000 elementary school children have attended workshops at Las Piedras, where they learn and are inspired to love nature by using their senses in the midst of chaparral, the predominant ecosystem in Tecate. Workshop themes are varied and include topics such as: “The Wonders of Seeds” “The Journey of Water,” “Sharing the World with other Living Creatures,” and others. The themes of the workshops coincide with the Mexican national public school curriculum's environmental education component. This partnership in experiential learning serves to broaden and deepen the children's overall learning process. The magical Las Piedras setting, combined with games and art projects, inspires the children to get to know, love, and care for their natural environment. Fundación La Puerta has worked with 80% of the schools in the Tecate region.

Teacher Training Program.
The Fundación's unique Teacher Training Program offers tools and expertise to develop the teacher's technical abilities and environmental knowledge which they can take back and integrate directly to the classroom. Set in the magical caves of Las Piedras Environmental Education Center, the teachers become "children again" and are able to break the molds of traditional classroom structure and provide an all-encompassing immersion using all of their senses and creative abilities. Over 350 teachers have benefited from our program. In 2009 alone, 300 teachers from the State Educational System and the National Pedagogy University received training through our workshop “The Environment and You”.

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Interpretive Trail Walks.
Supporting its objective to educate and inspire the people of Tecate to respect and celebrate their immediate natural environment—the chaparral plant community, Fundación La Puerta offers Guided Interpretive Trail Walks throughout the foothills of the Sacred Mount Kuchumaa. The Fundación has published beautiful plant and animal community field guides to compliment the interpretive trails which surround the Las Piedras Environmental Education Center located in the Parque del Profesor, the Fundación's 28 acre city park on the western outskirts of Tecate.

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Summer Camp for Children.
Each year 45 children, 8 through 12 years of age, participate in the summer camps organizad by Fundacion La Puerta. The participants become exposed to the different ecosystems in the region, including forests, chaparral, desert and marine ecosystems. For many of these children, this is their first encounter of the Pacific Ocean, a dream come true. The summer campo also offers hands on experiences in best practices regarding use of natural resources and caring for the environment. After 10 days of camping and participating in workshops and games, the children are ready to return to their families and introduce new skills into their daily lives, like separating solid waste, making compost or planting a vegetable garden.

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Volunteer Training Program.
"I feel part of something now," announces one of Fundación La Puerta's youth volunteer corps participants. This program educates and supports future decision makers in Mexican society to become active and inspired participants in their communities as volunteers. Energetic youth, ages 17-23, participate in extensive team-building exercises. Self-knowledge and self-esteem empowerment workshops foster a sense of pride in the youth allowing them to confidently reach out to others. The Tecate River clean up and tree planting campaigns are two examples which have allowed the volunteers a venue based on camaraderie to serve their community as a volunteer, in an environment which connects them with nature.

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Community Programs

Tecate River Clean Up.

Supported by Fundación La Puerta's volunteers and staff, the community group “Comite de Mujeres Lluvia del Sur” (the Southern Rain Women’s Committee), succeeds in organizing quarterly River Clean Up Campaigns as a result of which  over 100  tons of trash have been collected during  the last two years.  Children and youth of all ages take part in beautifying the river as an  effort to promote the "River Culture" in the community as part of its program to develop environmental stewards within the community.

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Organic Garden and Recycling Center

With the help of Fundacion,  The Southern Rain Women’s Committee succeeded in turning a garbage dump into a community organic vegetable garden along side the riverbed in the marginalized community of Luis Donaldo Colosio, as a way to deter others from continuing to throw trash into that area, but also to grow their own food. They are keenly aware that they are a part of a global trend to grow food in home and community gardens for the sake of economy, health, protecting the environment and fostering a closer relationship with the earth.   This group also manages a plastic and cardboard recycling project which rendered 1,780 of recyclables in 2009,  helping to reduce the amount of trash introduced into the municipal landfill.

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lsilvan@fundacionlapuerta.org
(011-52)665-655-5000 (tel & fax) (011-52)665-654-8478 (tel)
Tecate, Baja California, Mexico
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