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Banderas Bay Initiative

Puerto Vallarta • Riviera Nayarit 

"Securing a future for our treasured resources from the depths of Banderas Canyon to the soaring peaks of the surrounding sierras."

Our goals are simple...

Our mission is to preserve biodiversity and enhance the natural and cultural resources of the Banderas Bay Region through local and international programs, partnerships, and projects.

Our vision is to ensure the sustainable future of a physical environment within the Banderas Bay Region where residents and visitors enrich themselves through interacting with the natural world and learning about our ties to the past.

The Banderas Bay and its surrounding mountains are a cornucopia of biodiversity and home to a multitude of cultural resources as well. This beautiful area teems with a rich array of tropical life and many indigenous peoples who have traditionally lived in a close-knit harmony with the area’s flora and fauna.

This paradise has also become the home to nearly half a million residents and millions of seasonal visitors from around the world. This burgeoning human population and its associated 21st century infrastructure and industry have already sequestered thousands of square kilometers of forest, wetland, beach, and sea. Pollution and poaching have reached even further into formerly pristine areas. There is plenty to be saved, but the time to act is now. We realize that unless we work quickly to protect our treasured resources, much of what we are blessed with will be lost.

Scores of organizations and thousands of individuals have already been working on pieces of this conservation puzzle. Until now however, these efforts have not been integrated or managed in a comprehensive fashion. The University of Guadalajara’s Puerto Vallarta Campus, "Centro Universitario de la Costa" (CuCosta), under the leadership of Rector Dr. Max Grieg, has realized its need to step up to this role.

CuCosta is uniquely poised to take on this leadership given both its prestige as the most respected center of higher learning in the region and its physical location near the boundary of Jalisco and Nayarit in the heart of this bay. The resources of this region do not follow political borders such as state lines, similarly the scope of this initiative does goes beyond such boundaries.

The leadership of many of the area's conservation and cultural organizations have already been contributing with CuCosta staff and have influenced the formation and direction of the Banderas Bay Initiative. We have been working with leaders of several potential partner organizations throughout this area to realize the same goals.

While the work of preserving and enhancing natural resources is traditionally separated from cultural projects, we believe the two are intertwined to the point where an integrated approach is the right path to a solution.

There is much to protect in this center of biodiversity in Pacific Mexico. From emblematic species such as whales, dolphins, and sea turtles still abounding in the bay to jaguars and military macaws still surviving development pressures in our forests, we are blessed with a wealth of resources and an obligation to protect them.

Our area is also the homeland of the unique native cultures of the Wixarati, Cora, and Nahuatlaca peoples who are an active part of the fabric of our community. Indigenous communities throughout the world have co-evolved with their landscape and have formed its development. They are the descendants of cultural artifacts that enrich our land and connect us to the past. Many of these groups have been marginalized by modern society instead of honored for their contributions. We are partnering with local native groups in these efforts and welcoming them as co-beneficiaries of the brighter future we are working to achieve.

Our mission is to preserve biodiversity and enhance the natural and cultural resources of the Banderas Bay Region through local and international programs, partnerships, and projects.

We envision a sustainable future of this region's physical environment where residents and visitors enrich themselves through interacting with the natural world and learning about our ties to the past.

Part of our vision is to inspire support and action from individuals, private and public sector institutions at the local, national and international levels.  We hope to also inspire federal, state and local governments, academia, and industry and conservation organizations. Through collaborative projects we are able to achieve much more than any of us could ever accomplish on our own!

The Benefits

The Banderas Bay Region has a well established tourist industry and history of international visitation. While the current volume and predominant norms in tourist activity places some additional strains on the local environment, tourism may eventually prove to be the area's saving grace.

There are already several environmentally responsible eco-tourism companies in the area and the demand is there for many more. The type of activities these companies are involved in provide recreational opportunities with minimal environmental impact and the tourist dollars that they bring in encourage the conservation of the same natural wonders they highlight to their guests.

These types of practices will eventually sustain the resource management we envision for protecting this area and promoting biodiversity in the Bay. There are abundant examples of proactive communities that have taken these steps and now bask in the reward. Other communities have ignored these practices to their own peril and demise.

Another aspect of the appeal to this area in the minds of international visitors is the opportunity to interact with native cultures. In the increasingly homogenized society of the world at large, the unique heritages of intact indigenous cultures are of ever increasing value and under the greatest threat of assimilation to the detriment of their traditions.

We aspire to involve local indigenous cultures in our efforts as our advisors and most esteemed of partners. We hope the fruits of our ecological and conservation efforts can provide an economic advantage to all involved, but only on the terms that they choose.

Acquiring additional public parks, preserves, and greenbelts while land with intact forests is still available will result in the improvement of local property values. Studies of neighborhoods in Boulder, Colorado indicate a substantial decrease in property values proportional to their distance from greenbelts.* These forests are also critical to protecting cities from problems with storm water management, drainage systems, and erosion that can compromise public safety and destroy existing real estate values.

Benefits to Human Health
Many of the environmental concerns that have been identified in this region have a direct impact on human health. By caring for our environment and managing our resource areas properly, we can help assure that nature’s ability to provide clean air, fresh water, fertile soil, healthy forests, and nutritious crops will not become overwhelmed.

Concerns in this region with a direct impact on human health include:

• Petroleum pollution             

• Garbage in the land and sea

• River poisoning

• Acoustics pollution

• Overgrazing of livestock

• Wastewater treatment

• Watersheds and aquifers

• Overpopulation of feral animals (including cats)

• Tropical illnesses (mosquito born diseases) such as dengue

• Disease-carrying invasive species (including rats and mosquitoes)

• Excess development that outpaces proper infrastructure

Methods & Strategies

The focus of this Initiative in cultural resource conservation and enhancement respects the historical and prehistoric legacy from which we benefit. We honor indigenous people as the primary recipients of these benefits and seek their blessing, voice, and council to guide our support. We strive to ensure the preservation of their cultural heritage and to inspire others to recognize their natural position as primary stewards of these resources.

Our strategies towards biodiversity preservation and natural resources conservation and enhancement is a science-based approach to identifying priorities and crafting solutions.

Many of the University’s internationally recognized professors are already collaborating with government entities and environmental and conservation organizations using best management practices to guide their work.

The Initiative team has, however, identified many gaps between current projects and resources available for their much needed support. Additionally, there are still many organizations and government offices in and around the Bay that are not yet utilizing the resources of the university.

The Banderas Bay Initiative Office serves to bridge these gaps and coordinate these efforts for the greater success of all involved. We are actively matching projects with volunteers and existing support.

Our next objective is to find funding for individuals and entities committing their labor to goals within the scope of our initiative and to monitor and supervise the proper use of these funds. In this effort we are working under the guidelines of the Association of Fundraising Professionals of which we are a member organization. We have adopted their Donor Bill of Rights to ensure the ethical use of funds and require any institution or individual under our support to do the same.

Get Involved with the Banderas Bay Initiative

Community participation is vital to the success of this Initiative. Several existing projects are in need of more volunteers. Keep updated on volunteer opportunities by registering for our free newsletter, "The Banderas Bulletin".

Become a Member!
You can greatly add to the momentum of this exciting Initiative and share in the development of the positive change our work is bringing to the Bay of Banderas Region. With your contribution you demonstrate a deep commitment to our work together as a member of the Initiative. Your citizen action and your financial support play a key role in strengthening this Initiative.

Please select a membership level: (Prices are listed in US currency.)

$100 Friend of the Initiative
• Benefits include discounts on lectures, workshops, and other events.
$500 Silver Friend of the Initiative
• Benefits include your family or company name on our printed programs and website, discounts on lectures, workshops, and other events, and one complimentary lecture invitation per year.
$2,500 Gold Friend of the Initiative
• Benefits include your family or company name on our printed programs and website, discounts on lectures, workshops, and other events, and three complimentary lecture invitations per year.
$5,000 or higher, PLATINUM Friend of the Initiative
• As a sustaining and advisor member, benefits include your family or company name on our printed programs and website, an honorary plaque acknowledging your generous support, and complimentary VIP invitations to lectures and meetings with the University Rector and leadership.

You can greatly add to the momentum of this exciting Initiative and share in the development of the positive change our work is bringing to the Bay of Banderas Region. With your contribution you demonstrate a deep commitment to our work together as a member of the Initiative. Your citizen action and your financial support play a key role in strengthening this Initiative.

Please select a membership level: (Prices are listed in US currency.)

$100 Friend of the Initiative
• Benefits include discounts on lectures, workshops, and other events.
$500 Silver Friend of the Initiative
• Benefits include your family or company name on our printed programs and website, discounts on lectures, workshops, and other events, and one complimentary lecture invitation per year.
$2,500 Gold Friend of the Initiative
• Benefits include your family or company name on our printed programs and website, discounts on lectures, workshops, and other events, and three complimentary lecture invitations per year.
$5,000 or higher, PLATINUM Friend of the Initiative
• As a sustaining and advisor member, benefits include your family or company name on our printed programs and website, an honorary plaque acknowledging your generous support, and complimentary VIP invitations to lectures and meetings with the University Rector and leadership.

Please send your check or deposit to:

Av. Universidad #203, delegación Ixtapa, C.P. 28280, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, México.

Bank: Banorte
Account Number:    0683970304
Branch:    Centro Puerto Vallarta
Clabe: 072-375-0068-3970-304-4

Visit Our Headquarters!

Please visit with our staff and volunteers in person. Visitors are always welcome without the need of an appointment to pick up information and ask basic questions anytime from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday, scheduled closures excepted.

If you would like to specifically meet with our staff or a specific professor about how you can become more involved in the Initiative as a whole or a project that especially interests you, we are always happy to help.

Directions to the Banderas Bay Initiative Headquarters in Office of Philanthropic Development

At the University of Guadalajara's Puerto Vallarta Campus, "Centro Universitario de la Costa" (CUCosta)
- Take Highway 200 to the traffic circle in Las Juntas (north of the Home Depot and South of the Ameca River.)
- Take the road marked "Las Palmas / Universidad" (go approximately 2.5 km.)
- Take the next right after a large overhead sign marked "Universidad" (go approximately .5 km.)
- Turn right under the archway after the second speed bump.
- Park wherever you can in any unmarked spot.
- The Office of Philanthropic Development is in the "Rectoría" Building (near the lagoon and across from the Auditorio).
- Upon entering the Rectoría Building go up the stairway on the left to the second floor.
- Our office is the last room at the end of the hall marked "Oficina de Desarollo Filantropico."
- If the office is unopened just knock and open the door.

Last updated: October 14, 2019 · Charity ID: 213

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Mexico has met 74.5 percent of its Millennium Development Goals and is working to achieve the other targets set for 2015, the Foreign Relations Secretariat said.

Giving #ClimateThanks for the Holidays


This Thanksgiving, people around the country who had felt some of the most severe impacts of climate change came together to thank people taking action - in large and small ways - to try to stop the unfolding catastrophe.

Calamity Calling: What if We Lost the Amazon?

Global Post

The Amazon rainforest is best known for its vibrant wildlife and endless canopy. But it also plays a key role in the world’s climate. It generates rainclouds that water some of the world’s most productive farmlands. But the world’s largest rainforest is now in trouble.

Thousands Of Dolphins Slaughtered Off Peru Coast

InSight Crime

At least 15,000 dolphins are illegally killed each year off the coast of Peru by fishermen who use them as shark bait, according to an undercover investigation, a consequence of the high profits available in the shark fin market.

Mexico Govt Pushes for Sustainable Lobster Harvest


Mexico's government took steps this month to protect fisheries in the Caribbean region in response to requests from fishermen who are pushing for more sustainable lobster harvests.

Scientists: If You Want to Conserve Biodiversity, Protect Latin America

Inter Press Service

A team of scientists who analyzed the richness of plant species around the world concluded that the ecosystems in need of immediate protection in order to meet 2020 conservation goals are largely concentrated in Latin America.

Allan Wall: Endangered and Threatened Animal Species of Mexico

Mexico is blessed with a collection of flora and fauna being among the most diverse in the world. As everywhere under human jurisdiction, however, there are problems with the environment that could cause some species to become extinct or to disappear from Mexican territory.

Bikers4Orcas: How a Gang of Bikers Plans to Rescue Whales from Captivity


Shaking off their reputation for lawlessness, these motorcycle enthusiasts want to save orcas from marine parks. Bikers, it turns out, are a lot like killer whales.

In Shift Towards Eco-Tourism, Releasing Hooked Sharks in Baja California

The Huffington Post

Pelagic Life had an idea: Paying local fishermen to help them free 100 hooked sharks in the Baja Peninsula. The goal was to teach the fishermen the financial benefits of a live shark, paving the way for ecotourism in the region.

Students Touring on The Big Green Bus Help Spread Environmental Awareness


A dozen college students are touring America, sharing lessons about the benefits of "going green" and learning about the various environmental issues facing different communities.

Coral Calamity: Will Reefs Really Die Off by 2100?


More bad news for coral reefs: If nothing is done to reduce carbon emissions, there may be nowhere left in the world's ocean where they can survive, new research suggests.

Tell Mexico: Stop Killing Endangered Sea Turtles

Center for Biological Diversity

Each year at least 2,000 endangered loggerhead sea turtles are caught by shark and halibut fishermen off the southern peninsula of Mexico's Baja California.

Green Growth: Mexico President Unveils National Climate Change Strategy

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto has unveiled a National Climate Change Strategy that he says will lead to "green growth" in the country.

Five Mexican Beaches Certified for Eco-Excellence

Presidency of the Republic

Five Mexican beaches have received Blue Flag certification for having global excellence. This certification shows that Mexican beaches are able to compete environmentally with world-class destinations.

June 8th is World Oceans Day!

World Oceans Day was first introduced in 1992 to raise awareness of the crucial role the sea plays as sources of food, oxygen and medicine. It was officially recognized by the United Nations in 2008 and is observed on June 8 each year.

New Mexican Law Protects All Coastline Nesting Grounds of Sea Turtles


Mexico had recently passed a law that provides protection to the nesting grounds of the sea turtles. In the past, only those considered as sanctuaries and reserves are protected by the government but now, all sites are covered.

Report: Last 3 Decades of 20th Century Hotter Than Anytime in 1,400 Years

Common Dreams

A groundbreaking new report published Sunday by Nature Geoscience found that average worldwide temperatures over the past thirty years were "higher than any other time in nearly 1,400 years."

Earth Day 2013: The Face of Climate Change

Every year on April 22, more than one billion people take part in Earth Day. Across the globe, individuals, communities, organizations, and governments acknowledge the amazing planet we call home and take action to protect it.

Momentum Towards Meeting the MDGs: 1,000 Days of Action Remain


Since their adoption in 2000, the Millennium Development Goals - the MDGs - have made a huge difference, helping to set global and national priorities and fuel action on the ground.

Help Greenpeace Save the Pacific's Endangered Leatherback Turtles

Endangered leatherback turtles migrate 6,000 miles across the Pacific each year, and at the end of their journey looms a deadly threat.

Gray Whales Find Refuge on Mexico's Pacific Coast


Gray whales have found a safe place to breed on Mexico's coast, where programs have been implemented to try to bring the marine mammals back from the brink of extinction.

International Experts Warn Mexico of High Sea Turtle Mortality Rates


International experts have warned President Enrique Pena Nieto that Mexico is experiencing high mortality rates among sea turtles off the coast of the northwestern state of Baja California Sur.

New Workshop on Mexican Mangrove Conservation


Thirty-six percent of Mexican mangroves have been changed or replaced, and the Yucatan’s Peninsula, home of 55% of them, also presents great damage on these costal ecosystems, caused by non-organized tourism, over-exploitation of species and human settlements.

Earth Hour 2013: Dare the World to Save the Planet

Millions of people around the world switch off their lights for Earth Hour at 8.30pm (20:30) in their local times on March 23. For 2013, Earth Hour invites you to do more than switch off. We want you to dare the world to save the planet.

Call of Life: Facing the Mass Extinction

The Video Project

'Call of Life' tells the story of a crisis not only in nature, but also in human nature, a crisis more threatening than anything human beings have ever faced before.

Celebrate Sustainability During Follow the Frog Week

Rainforest Alliance

To let consumers know how they can support a healthier future for people and the planet, the Rainforest Alliance has launched its second annual week-long campaign that encourages individuals and businesses to celebrate sustainability by taking even one small step toward a more sustainable lifestyle.

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