Grupo Cleofas Mission Statement:
- To illuminate the global importance of island ecosystems from the standpoint of their inherent “disproportionate biodiversity” and the delicate balance that islands can sustain and should, by employing conservation measures, maintain.
- To expose the past successes, ongoing efforts, and future plans of all Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) involved in island and marine conservation as well as the efforts of the Mexican Government agencies such as CONANP, SEMARNAT, INA, SM, AM to name a few. Also, to come alongside these agencies as well as the local fishing communities who have supported and continue to practice and implement conservation programs through continued awareness through education.
- To create visual and videographic informational media tools that not only increase awareness, aid in grass roots educational programs, but create a vehicle by which funds can be raised to support scientists and partnering NGOs in what we will henceforth refer to as “instinctive global preservation.”
The Cleofas Project
In the world today, there are very few places where man has not ventured. From the jungles of the Amazon, to the depths of the oceans, to the poles, north and south mankind has been, and in many cases, has entered these sanctuaries with little or no respect. The selfish intent of capital gain, and disregard of the affects of man’s presence has left behind environments, which were once balanced, and in tact, but now compromised, damaged and in some cases totally destroyed. Man was given ‘dominion over the earth’, and is at the top of the food chain. He has the ‘right’ to do with this environment as he pleases, however, although the right exists, we have an obligation as stewards to protect, save and study our remaining natural resources so that our children will have an opportunity to be a part of the environment as it was intended.
Sustaining life is directly related to our knowledge of the environment through the study of biosystems both on land and in the seas. Studies should not only objectively include flora and fauna, but also how man interacts with his surroundings.
Islands and their surrounding marine environments are very delicate in that when an environmental imbalance occurs (usually caused by man), life forms are degraded, resulting in the rapid loss of biodiversity and even species extinction. By the same token, islands can also be restored relatively quickly, due to their isolation, size, and the fact that they can be more easily controlled. Therefore, islands (and the waters surrounding them) can be viewed as experimental stations, or petri dishes, if you will, where scientific research and restoration techniques can be applied to create a model for global restoration.
It is well known that Mexico has a wealth of untouched natural resources. President Peña Nieto not only has expressed his environmental concerns, but also has been instrumental in raising awarenesss at both the State and Federal levels. President Peña Nieto has been very supportive of educationals programs, which have as their goals the protecting of the environment. These activities increase awareness and educate others in the area of environmental stewardship, solar energy, alternative combustible fuel sources, progressive sewage treatment and marine life management programs are just a few of the areas that Mexico has taken the initiative to explore and will continue to bring into clearer focus.
Approximately 50 miles off the coast of Nayarit, Mexico is the group of small islands known as the Tres Marias. In order from north to south, they are Maria Madre, Maria Magdalena, and Maria Cleofas. Maria Madre, the largest of the three islands, is the site of a federal prison, which has existed for nearly 100 years. Maria Magdalena and Maria Cleofas, respectively to the south, are uninhabited. Due to strict maritime restrictions, they are virtually untouched.
Cleofas Project Goals
The ultimate goal and purpose of the Cleofas Project will be to bring increased awareness of the delicate balance between man and his environment. The Cleofas Project will be a collaborative effort between U.S. and Mexico scientific and educational communities. Research will be performed by the scientific and educational organizations that will catalogue and distribute the information through proper channels. The information gathered could have worldwide importance and should increase environmental awareness. One of the key activities of the Cleofas Project will be the construction of a ‘cultural bridge’ between the U.S. and Mexico scientists, educators, and communities working together as they achieve research and conservation goals.
Grupo Cleofas is a U.S. non-profit corporation comprised of individuals and organizations (both in the U.S. and Mexico) whose collective purpose have been the promotion of environmental awareness through support of research programs and the establishment of research and conservation alliances. The group has expressed an educational interest in coming alongside the Mexican educational and scientific community for the purpose of funding a long-term study and protection of the marine island habitat that exists at the Tres Marias. This project, beginning with the smallest, southernmost island, Isla Maria Cleofas, will have as its goals:
- The cataloguing and study of the existing species on land and sea.
- Research that defines the balance between existing flora and fauna and the effects of limited human interaction upon the environment on both land and sea.
- The dissemination of information gathered by the scientific community to both the U.S. and Mexico.
- The building of a cultural bridge between U.S. and Mexican scientists, students and communities in general, to work in a spirit of unity with the above mentioned common goals.