Audubon launches next wave of its Environmental Grant Program
By Bruce Janklow
This is the first of a five-part series about the grant program of Sociedad Audubon de Mexico and the important local projects it supports.
Last year, Sociedad Audubon de Mexico, the only Audubon Chapter in Mexico, initiated its environmental grant program. The program supports projects created by local organizations that protect, conserve or restore the ecology of San Miguel de Allende and its surrounding areas by addressing environmental threats, promoting environmental sustainability, protecting wildlife and its habitat, conserving finite natural resources and promoting environmentally responsible behavior and sustainable economic growth.
The program, which is unique in San Miguel, is open to citizen groups, nonprofits, student groups, faith organizations, neighborhood associations, service groups or other organizations that meet Audubon’s criteria for grants. Audubon calls for applications twice yearly and publishes a “Call for Proposals” which is widely circulated and publicized. Because the current awards have just been made, plans call for the next cycle to open for proposals in April with awards being made in June.
While the program is open to all who qualify, the selection process is a competitive one and the criteria are well defined. In the current cycle, Audubon received 15 proposals, many of them excellent projects, but was only able to fund four. According to Linda Whynman, Audubon’s President, “our organization plans to expand its fundraising in 2013 so we can increase the number of deserving projects we can support. The residents of San Miguel are well known for their generosity in supporting causes that provide for basic services like shelter, food, health and education – and we support that important work – but threats such as water contamination, water scarcity, air pollution and other risks are very real in San Miguel today and unless addressed could become crises that impact every resident.” Whynman further emphasizes that, “that’s why Audubon is strongly committed to supporting important environmental work and why we believe it needs to become a high priority for all of us here in San Miguel.”
The four organizations that have been selected to receive financial support in the current grant cycle are:
•The Apiculture Collective of San Miguel — for their efforts to replace the honeybee population in our area after the recent international bee kill-off that has affected honeybees worldwide (honeybees are responsible for almost 90 percent of the pollination of all plants, including our food)
•Cooperativa Qurate — an agricultural cooperative located in the San Miguel municipality that is growing an amazing new crop called the moringa plant, which has huge nutritional value and water-saving characteristics that will benefit all of us.
•GAIA — a local environmental action group working in the rural communities around San Miguel to introduce new technology that improves quality of life in the countryside and simultaneously protects and conserves the local environment.
•The Water Collaborative – a coalition of San Miguel NGOs that are committed to addressing the critical water issues San Miguel currently faces and will increasingly face over time.
In each of the next four weeks a series of articles will appear here in Atención describing the environmentally important projects each of these organizations is implementing with the help they are receiving from the Audubon Grant Program, exactly why they are so important and what the benefits of each will be to their direct constituents and all of us.
Meanwhile, if you would like to learn more about Audubon’s grant program or would like to support it with your time and or money, please visit the Audubon website at www.audubonmex.org or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.