"On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...."
This beloved traditional holiday song is the
inspiration for our seasonal blog series, "12 Days/12 Ways", a
promotional effort of goodwill we started last year to draw attention
to 12 not-for-profit groups or charitable organizations in Playa del
Carmen and along the
Riviera Maya. So many people from around the world travel to the Riviera
Maya during the holiday season. Many reach out to us via regional
message boards and Facebook looking for a way to give back to the less
fortunate residents in our local communities. 12 Days/12 Ways was
started to help these generous, kind-hearted visitors find legitimate
and worthy charitable organizations to support, addressing their
particular needs for this holiday
For each of the 12 days of Christmas, the BuyPlaya
Blog, better known as "Life's a Beach", will spotlight a charitable
organization or giving opportunity. Some may already be familiar to locals and
frequent travelers to this area. Others, perhaps those most in need of
recognition and support, may be new to our readers. It is our hope to do
this every year, with updated information and wish lists.
The "12 Day/12 Ways" list has not yet been completed for 2011. If you have a favorite
charity that you feel belongs on this list, collect all of the
information you can and I will be happy to consider your group for
Centro Ecologico Akumal is a non-profit conservation organization working
on the Mexican Caribbean to monitor the impact of development on the
regional ecosystems and culture; to report findings and their
significance to the public through education; and, through education, to
influence public policy. CEA is celebrating 15 years of research, education and
advocacy in Akumal, working to understand better the natural elements
that make this place so beautiful, to raise awareness about how to
protect it and to invite others to join us in our efforts.
Centro Ecologico Akumal has a number of ongoing programs:
Marine and Coastal Program and Reef Monitoring and Research subprogram were established to promote the protection and conservation of the coastal ecosystems.
With a focus on an integrated coastal
system, the Marine Ecosystems Program collects comprehensive data on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef in the region of Akumal and promotes the implementation of a
management policy based on the understanding and study of the marine
ecosystem and its services.
Sea Turtle Program is charged with the protection, conservation, research and management of sea turtles. During the nesting season CEA turtle staff and volunteers patrol the
beaches of Akumal in search of nesting female turtles, turtle nests,
and recent hatchlings. Their duties include protecting and tagging
females, collecting scientific data, relocating eggs (in extremely
cases) to more favorable locations on the beach, and releasing
hatchlings to the sea. The data that the turtle team collects are then
used to determine turtle hatching success, behavior, distribution, and
abundance. Raising awareness among tourist and residents on sea turtle biology and
conservation issues is of the utmost importance. CEA holds Turtle Talks to give
information to the people who visit the Riviera Maya.
Water Quality Program works to reduce pollution of our watershed; promoting between the sector
public and private the good managing of the solid and liquid tailing; as
well as the utilization of technological alternatives that promote a
sustainable development in the zone. This is achieved by monitoring the bays, lagoons and Akumal's artificial wetlands, training and application of technological alternatives for sustainable development (solar power, rain water catch, artificial
wetlands, composting toilets and waste management) and coordinating activities with the program
of Environmental Education to promote the care and managing of the
water within the populations of Akumal and Chemuyil.
Sustainable Development Program aims to influence development and lessen its impact on the local environment. Sustainable development is development that satisfies present needs
without compromising the ability of future generations to satisfy their
own needs. By maintaining constant consideration of the environmental benefits that the ecosystems of the region offer and understanding the interconnections among the environment, the economy and society
Environmental Education is an ongoing educational program to teach both visitors and
local people to preserve and respect our environment. Focusing primarily
on local children, CEA organizers, volunteers and social service students
visit the schools in the Pueblo of Akumal to teach the children how Mother Nature works and how to protect their local ecosystem. The CEA Information Center has been providing this education for the past fifteen years and recently, the tourist and community sectors of the Environmental
Education Program have been expanded to include hotels, restaurants and
dive shops outside Akumal.
Communications focuses its efforts with tourists, residents and hotels to
help accomplish CEA’s mission by visually displaying and distributing the research
findings and information. CEA has publications and presentations designed to inform CEA visitors
about the research programs, problems and solutions at Akumal. There are displays, visually explaining the various research studies in
which CEA is involved. With this compelling graphic and informational program, CEA strives to influence
public opinion, shape public policy and to help preserve our coastal environment.
How can YOU help?
Become a CEA Member!
Memberships and donations charged
through the CEA website are processed by CEA's U.S. fiscal sponsor, the
Yucatan Environmental Foundation (YEF), and are tax deductible in the
U.S. You will first receive an order confirmation and then, when your
order is processed, a YEF receipt, which you should print out for your
If you would prefer to pay
by check, rather than by credit card, please make your payment to:
c/o Alex Bradley
PO Box 1813
Port Townsend, WA
Please note what level of CEA Membership you are requesting. Please
include your e-mail address. Your tax
receipt will be sent to you electronically.
Each of the CEA programs is dependent on volunteers for its success. There is a recuperation cost for the basic expenses related with your
stay, such as the kitchen, cleaning, water, gas, internet, electric,
repairs and maintenance. The volunteer fees for the Marine Ecosystems Program are $200 usd/month and $1,500 usd for the Reef Monitoring Subprogram (Grants are available for Mexican Citizens). The monthly fee for other programs is $200 usd (Foreigners) and $100 usd (Mexican citizens). These fees are not tax deductible.
Adopt a Turtle!
You can sponsor your very own Akumal turtle! Included in your "adoption" will be an official, personalized Certificate of Adoption, mailed from
the U.S. Please send us the name you want on the certificate, and
the address you would like it mailed to, if different than your own. The
tax-deductible proceeds help support the CEA Turtle Program.
Make a Donation in kind!
Please refer to CEA's comprehensive wishlist of needed items and supplies.
Buy a 2012 CEA Calendar!
Centro Ecologico Akumal, with the support of Ah
Cacao and DHB Diseno, had produced its second 100% ecological calendar! You can purchase a calendar in CEA's office in Akumal, Ah Cacao stores, and DHB Diseno in
Playa del Carmen and Tulum. This is a limited-edition purchase, so buy yours
early to be sure to have one!
A small shipment of calendars is being sent to the US to be available to be ordered online through PayPal for $12 usd (shipping included). Click here http://www.ceakumal.org/html_en/want_to_help/donations.php , then the "Donate" button, and enter $12 per calendar under "Donation amount." Please click on the "Message" field to enter any additional information, and be aware that deliveries to Canada take longer than within the U.S. Calendar purchases are not tax deductible.
For further information: