Io kuniuchu Cuii – Scientific Shield is a project which aims to save the ecosystems and endemic species in the Mixteca Region of Oaxaca, Mexico and wants to give more opportunities and a better life to young people in the region.
Leonardo is a University student from Mexico. He attends UNAM, School of Mathematics. Leonardo had the opportunity to participate on the Students on Ice 2017 Arctic Expedition thanks to Tarek Sherif and Sophie Nicholson.
On expedition, Leonardo learned about how important diverse ecosystems and species are for the world. Leonardo and his family are from an indigenous community in Mexico called Mixteca. The Mixteca Region is a special natural area, because it is home to many special and endemic species of plants and animals. This treasure is in danger.
The Mixteca Region is a diverse treasure, with many important species keeping the ecosystem in balance. But the biodiversity of the Mixteca Region is in danger because ranching in the area has changed the habitat. No one in the Mixteca region is working to save these species. If we do not do something now, soon it will be too late to help the Mixteca Region.
We want to build a shelter for the endemic plants. We want to enclose and protect the land donated by my grandfather. On this land we will not introduce bovine or ovine animals. This area will be just for the endemic species of the region. Also, a part of the area will be used to farm some vegetables and fruits of the region, such as pitahaya, jiotillas, xoconostle, avocados and nopales. We are the smartest species on the earth, it is our responsibility care and help the life who cannot talk or protect themselves, as animals, plants or children.
Scientific Shield has another goal: this project wants to introduce to young people from Suchitepec to science. There is a Mexican institution called Universidad de Chapingo (Chapingo University), it is an Agricola and Environment scientific University. It is considered the most important agricultural university in Latin America, and it includes high school programs. This institution is amazing for low-income young people, because it covers all fees for them (there a residence in this institution). For getting into Universidad de Chapingo, people need to pass an admission exam. Many people from Suchitepec have tried to get into to Universidad de Chapingo, but they aren’t prepared enough. So, Scientific Shield will help these youth prepare to get into Chapingo University, starting in high school. We want to build one little classroom where qualified people can prepare students for this exam. So we will build a classroom, with the necessary elements for that purpose. I helped one of my cousins, who is from the Mixteca Region, to get into Chapingo University high school program. And we were successful! So we can do it again with more youth. Some of the money collected from Io kuniuchu Cuii will be used for teaching materials, chairs, boards, and paper. We can even provide some “transportation and meal scholarships” for youth in middle school. Additionally, Scientific Shield will work in big cities, helping young people to make their own scientific and technological projects.
The project is supported for Tarek Sherif and Sophie Nicholson and Students On Ice foundation. Together we will change a community and we will save a great treasure for the world.