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ECOSUR – Urban Garden Initiative

In December of 2014, Positive Legacy awarded the El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (“ECOSUR”) and the Botanical Gardens (“Jardin Botanico”) with a $25,000 grant. This grant funded demonstration gardens at two local high schools and the rehabilitation of the medicinal gardens at the Botanical Gardens. This was part of the launch of the areas Urban Gardening initiative aimed at addressing food security strategies, rescue of ancestral knowledge, culture and environmental education, adaptation to climate change and responsible waste management.


During the Positive Legacy day of service during Strings & Sol, guests, local school children, and local community members started the construction of the demonstration gardens at one of the local high schools. We also donated garden supplies to the students; providing them with hand tools and gloves to use when working in their gardens. Our Closer to the Sun day of service was hosted at the Botanical Gardens where students and guests were able to help with the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the medical gardens. Students and guests learned about the native plants and even got a chance to make natural bug repellent. These gardens will serve the local community as demonstration and educational gardens in hopes that urban gardening will be become more popular amongst the community. These gardens show how at home gardens need to be constructed, what kind of soil is needed, and what plants will thrive in that environment.


El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR) is a public scientific research center that aims to contribute to the sustainable development of Mexico’s southern-border region, Central America and the Caribbean. The substantive activities of the Centre are research and education (postgraduate level) in social and natural sciences. Based on this, ECOSUR seeks to develop links with the private, the social, and the public sectors.


ECOSUR was established in 1974, and is one of Mexico’s 27 Public Centers of Research and Technological Development that are part of CONACYT (the Mexican National Science and Technology Council). And is an active member of the National Association of Institutions and Universities of Higher Education in Mexico (ANUIES). At present, ECOSUR has 5 campuses spread strategically in five cities of southern Mexico: Campeche, Chetumal, San Cristobal de las Casas, Tapachula and Villahermosa.


The center’s multidisciplinary approach to scientific research and postgraduate education, promote the development of technologies and strategies that support sustainable development. And this is done through three main academic areas: Society, Culture and Health. Health, social, cultural, political and environmental factors that impact the rural and indigenous communities of Mexico’s southern border are studied, with the aim of strengthen the social capacities in this region; Conservation of Biodiversity. Research is focused in the analysis of the current status of biological diversity in the high-priority regions of southern Mexico and Central America, with the aim of creating alternative ways of protecting the flora and fauna of this region, based on ecological, economic, social and cultural importance; Alternative Production Systems. The agriculture, livestock, fishing and forestry production techniques from the southern region of Mexico are studied. Research is focused on alternative production systems, based on sustainability.


About the Jardin Botanico – Dr. Alfredo Barrera Marin

This garden was established in 1982 and is one of the largest Botanical Gardens in Mexico.

It’s the last patch of conserved forest between Cancun and Playa del Carmen, with collections of cactaceae, bromeliaceae, orquideaceae, ferns, fruits, ornamentals, palms and medicinal plants representative for Yucatan Peninsula. A trail of about 4 km leads through representative natural forest formations and along a traditional Maya house and “chicle” camp with a Mayan Arqueological Site.


One of the main objectives is to conserve and propagate in threat species of plants from the region, education, and maintain the Mayan Culture and knowledge about how they use natural resources.