Para la Naturaleza

ORGANIZATION NAME: Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico

LOCATION: Puerto Rico

SUMMARY: Para La Naturaleza (PLN), through a three-organization partnership, will reconnect communities with the natural surroundings of the Piedras River Watershed as a focal framework where Watershed Restoration, Arts, Education, Applied Ethics, Citizen Science, and Social-Networking will revitalize individual, family, and community mindsets towards a sustainable Human-Nature relationship.

PROBLEM SPACE: “The ecosystems within Puerto Rico’s riparian-urban interface areas present numerous conservation challenges that affect human and environmental health, and quality of life. At the heart of San Juan’s metropolitan area lies the Piedras River Watershed. With a catchment area spanning 49km2 it collects over 130 billion liters of precipitation rainfall annually. Its 77.3km of waterways navigate within narrow ecological corridors encroached by urban sprawl, and it connects both urban and suburban interfaces that are home to over 173,000 residents of diverse socio-demographic characteristics.

Focusing on water and waterways as the unifying thread to reconnect kids, families and communities, we will develop conscientious and ethical mindsets; while promoting thriving communities, where people, habitats and species support each other.

Today the Piedras River Watershed presents a drastic condition of biophysical alteration and water contamination, which in turn has had a severe impact on the surrounding environment and quality of life.

Puerto Rico’s current financial and economic crisis further aggravate any foreseeable public sector solution. For PLN, the current sustainable relationship between humans and their watershed becomes the starting point of a problematic chain reaction that cripples the possibilities of a healthy community.”

SOLUTION: “PLN strives to transform the Piedras River combined human and ecological systems into thriving, sustainable communities. As a starting point, we seek to support and inspire one community to sustain their local environment through the establishment of practices based on new Ethical Relationships, Citizen Science, Science Education, and Community Stewardship.

Five methodologies converge to simultaneously impact one community and one school within the Watershed:

1. Citizen-Led Conservation: engaging people in informal learning opportunities, including Citizen Science, and direct conservation programs.

2. Value-Driven Education: transforming students within public sectors recently transformed into Montessori schools.

3. Community Empowerment: creating leadership opportunities to drive revitalization and resilience.

4. Social-Engaged Art and Applied Ethics: inspiring critical minds and clarifying values within communities.

5. Social-Media Interaction: fostering active participation and facilitating knowledge-transfer by building virtual communities.

These methodologies concurrently engage communities, provide tools and areas for the development of authentic dialogue, and lead stakeholders to the realization of mutual interdependence within the Watershed’s network. This approach will help establish double-loop learning where collective knowledge informs policies, design, and actions.
Successful experiences transforming mindsets into citizen action will promote a healthier, more interactive Human-Watershed.”

CONTACT: [email protected]