A partnership for conservation: Hacienda Herrera-CECCOT
We have partnered with the Family Herrera-Zegarra, owners of Hacienda Herrera, and have joined efforts to collaborate in creating a space where science, education, conservation and sustainable living is actively pursued.
For Pepe and Vilma Herrera Zegarra, living sustainably and in direct connection with the land is not new, they have been doing it for decades and even generations. Thus, we are very excited and grateful to be able to work on their land and to collaborate to protect the forest, but also to provide productive ways to use the land and ecosystems.
Vilma and Pepe's dream to maintain healthy forests and to practice using resources in a sustainable way is done effectively in Hacienda Herrera. All members of the family are engaged in activities that benefit the forest, but also benefit them. Organic and small-scale agriculture and agroforestry is practiced in the area. The small "chacras" (croplands) are surrounded by forest and there are forested paths that serve as corridors for many species of wildlife.
With our collaboration we have embarked in developing a center that can be used by visitors who participate in CECCOT's science and education programs, and by visitors who are serviced by Kenny and Ruth Herrera-Torres in their newly-launched ecotourism company. Almost a decade ago, Kenny and Ruth were still students when they came to our early training programs that we were conducting at another location. They were enthusiast volunteers for a while, and then started working with CECCOT, managing the logistics and coordinating programs with us. Then they married! and once they started a family, we started talking about how to move along in a more independent career path that would be beneficial to them and that would allow us a long-term study site. So here we are: Hacienda Herrera - CECCOT working on that together!
We all aim at protecting the forest, living in connection with it, and using it as a source and inspiration for our work. For that reason our common philosophy also considers working hard to achieve a low-ecological footprint in all of our activities.