As a LocoLocal one of my favorite places in Puerto Morelos is the Jardín Botánico Alfredo Barrera Marín. I should probably say that I love it because it is a prominent scientific research hub or because it promotes environment education or maybe because it is a place that safeguards endangered species. Truth to be told, I have two words for you… spider monkeys.
The 65-hectares that comprise this nature reserve allow many animals, including our endemic spider monkey, to live a good life roaming in the wild while we can observe and learn from nature.
Our botanical garden exists as part of larger effort to achieve sustainable development in the southern border of Mexico, namely, ECOSUR. The Colegio de la Frontera Sur is the science research center that fathered our botanical garden and this Saturday the 25th was its 40th anniversary!
Puerto Morelos Botanical Gardens joined in the celebration and I, for one, was not going to miss it. Today, the garden’s entry was free and it looked a little different then in other days: the corridors where flanked with exhibitions of diverse leafs, types of woods, regional flowers and birds; the doors opened to the public one hour earlier than the usual 8:00AM so this morning hot coffee and biscuits where awaiting the sleepy early visitor. Around this time is when the spider monkeys made their first appearance, allowing yours truly to take this lucky shot of a juvenile monkey attempting an Olympic worthy jump.
” I just keep coming back to this place”: Pathy.
The vibe was fresh and tranquil, perfect for the inaugural event of the day, the Mayan ceremony. This began with the scouting for the right place for the ceremony, later an offering to Mother Nature and finalized with the cooking of a form of round tamales wrapped in green palm leafs and cooking them underground.
In line with the mission of the gardens there were 3 conferences regarding sustainability in our region:
- “Relevance of botanical gardens in the conservation effort”
- “Protected habitat’s importance in the Yucatan peninsula and its impact on the carbon cycle’”
- “Underwater ecosystems in Quintana Roo en their role in the carbon cycle”
Also, one of our PoMo heroes, Claudia Gzz, performed in an intimate concert at the Casa de Educació Ambiental. Clau entertained us with her guitar tunes and vocal skills. She took requests form the audience and sang witty songs composed by her inviting us to re-think about how we treat animals. The most powerful moment was when she sang “The Invisibles” a perrola (or dog song) dedicated to those defenseless dogs that suffer in the hand of our ignorance and cruelty.
Lamentably, the night before this event somebody dumped on the street a plastic bag with two dying puppies inside (no more than two weeks old…) Claudia came to the rescue. She cared for them all night. One puppy did not make it; the other one, Emilio, was heartbreakingly fighting to continue to breathe while Claudia poured her heart out singing precisely for this cause. She had to bring Emilio with her to make sure he was not alone in what seemed to slowly become his last moments alive. Her dedication to this animal provoked an emotional reaction amongst those present. It was a haunting moment that will hopefully have a happy ending. You can ask Claudia what happened to Emilio, learn about her work and contribute in kind or with a donation too.
It is my love of nature that keeps bringing me back to the gardens. I feel very thankful today, not only did I have the opportunity to witness an endangered specie summersaulting in the jungle canopy but I also connected with some of the heroes that fight for habitat preservation and animal’s right to a happy life. Can’t help but think, what a gem nestled in our beautiful town…