Letter From Estela Romero: Staff Training In Preparation For Opening
By Estela Romero, Environmental Educator Angangueo, Michoacán, México
Weather conditions continue to concern us at the Monarch Butterfly Reserve. Temperatures remain high and the sun seems too intense for this time of the year. Even during the night and early morning, temperatures are warm rather than freezing. We are still wearing our summer clothes late into the afternoon. The rainy season ended prematurely about one month ago. We fear that humidity levels will not be optimal for monarchs and other pollinators.
With much enthusiam, Ejidatario families are underaking preparations for opening Sierra Chincua and El Rosario Sanctuaries. Hundreds of families depend directly and indirectly on the arrival of the monarch butterflies and the re-opening of monarch sanctuaries. Ecotourism is one of the main sources of employment.
For this report, I am accompanied by Emilio and Esteban. As we visit the El Rosario Sanctuary, Emilio and Esteban exclaimed: “Come! Our grandparents and parents are attending a special training for guides, cooks, forest-guards, and horse-handlers.” This training was held for all support staff. I too joined the training.
Under the program “Safe Return Home”, companies certified by the Mexican Federal and State health and environmental departments are providing locals staff with professional safety training base on international standards established by the World Health Organization. Training will last for a whole week in order to prepare all personnel to fulfill their roles while ensuring visitor safety in the monarch sanctuaries. Participants received training in wearing masks, practicing social distancing, following hygiene measures, and strengthening medical first aid assistance.
Local leaders, Armando and Marino, stated: “Once this stage is concluded, our Sanctuaries will be ready to get the corresponding last permit for its opening, which shall be happening any day now latest November 21-22, but perhaps a few days earlier.”
As one instructor stated: “these villages in the mountains continue to be a WHITE location, this means, a spot with official absence of Covid.” The federal government of Mexico is using a sanitary alert system—called the “traffic light” system—for reopening. The traffic lights are: red, orange, yellow, and green. White means no Covid-19 cases have been reported.
Opening the monarch sanctuaries will create opportunities for reflection and a deeper awareness of what Mother Nature urgently requests — life is in another place than that where we have been searching for it.