Empowering Tomorrow’s Environmental Stewards: The EcoAgentes of Juluchuca

Posted by Playa Viva on April 20, 2024

With the help of our Regenerative Education Teacher, Ximena Rodriguez, a small local school in the heart of Juluchuca is paving the way for a greener, more sustainable future with an innovative educational social impact project: EcoAgentes of the Microcuenca. This initiative aims to cultivate a generation of environmental guardians who are committed to protecting the local micro watershed and preserving its natural abundance.

At the core of the project is the empowerment of children to take charge of their environment. They are encouraged to be vigilant in identifying and addressing environmental issues, whether it’s calling out littering, preventing chemicals from entering rivers, or championing recycling programs. By instilling a sense of responsibility and ownership, the project seeks to equip these young learners with the tools to become future leaders who will safeguard their community’s ecological heritage.

One of the key elements of the EcoAgentes initiative is its focus on engaging the entire community. The project recognizes that real change requires collective effort, and thus aims to inspire not only the children but also their parents and grandparents to adopt more environmentally conscious behaviors. By fostering a culture of environmental stewardship within Juluchuca, the project hopes to create a ripple effect that extends far beyond the school gates.

To kickstart the project, a few months ago the children were involved in designing logos that capture the essence of their mission as EcoAgentes and the beauty of the watershed. Two standout designs were selected from a vote by the Playa Viva team and transformed into T-shirts, which were proudly distributed to the young participants on launch day. Now, whenever these children don their EcoAgentes attire, they serve as living ambassadors for environmental action, signaling to the community their commitment to cleaning up the streets and protecting nature.

The launch event itself was a testament to the collaborative spirit driving the project forward. Ximena invited her collaborator and advisor Patricia Vázquez del Mercado Herrera, a Harvard Alumni, former secretary of education for the State of Puebla, and designer of our ReSiMar Regenerative Education Program. Ximena, Patricia and the teachers of Juluchuca, with support from funders including the LEGO Foundation, GroBios Marine Conservation Team, and the Legacy Works Team, ensured the launch was a celebration of education, inspiration, and the boundless potential of youth-driven environmentalism.

Along with their T-shirts the children were gifted backpacks that showcased the words “Aprender Importante” which translates to “to learn is important.” For their first mission as EcoAgentes Ximena and Patricia tasked the children with filling their backpacks with all the trash they saw on their way home and to school the next day. With the promise of a prize the next day the 40+ children returned with backpacks stuffed full of trash and there began their first EcoAgente lesson. Upon unloading all the trash into a pile in the playground the children were asked how it made them feel to know all that trash had come from their streets, how would they play with the mound of trash in the way, and what if all the trash ended up in the ocean?! There and then they committed to a new recycling program in the school and to speak up against littering when safe to do so in the street. You may be wondering what was the prize, in true EcoAgente style Playa Viva gifted the school 4 hibiscus plants. A few bemused looks from the children were swiftly turned to smiles when they were told these plants would ensure a supply of bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds visit the school and they will be able to enjoy making their own hibiscus water for free. 

As the EcoAgentes of Juluchuca embark on their journey to safeguard the micro watershed, they carry with them not just the logos on their T-shirts, but a sense of purpose and determination to create a brighter, more sustainable future for their community. Through their actions, they are not just agents of change, but beacons of hope for generations to come.

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