40 years of CEDO Intercultural, a Celebration for the Love of the Sea
This story begins when, in the early 1980s, a young and enthusiastic biologist named Margaret Jean Turk, known to all as Peggy, founded the Intercultural Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans (CEDO) in the municipality of Puerto Peñasco. At the beginning of that wonderful decade, Puerto Peñasco was one of the youngest municipalities in the State of Sonora with approximately 17,000 residents, mostly fishermen from the communities of Guaymas and Bahía de Kino. Also, at the time, French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau (1910-1997) shared with the world valuable information about the rich biodiversity of the Sea of Cortez, and was so awed by it that he later named it the Aquarium of the World.
To celebrate four decades of achievements that include huge challenges and the work of many people, CEDO organized an interesting series of events presented both in Mexico and in the United States.
Event activities began last year on October 12 with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Agustín Cortés Building in Puerto Peñasco. The ceremony was led by Peggy, CEDO’s founder and Director Emeritus, and Nélida Barajas, CEDO’s Executive Director, accompanied by the Mayor of Puerto Peñasco, Mr. Ernesto ‘Kiko’ Munro Jr., our Board members, media, friends, and special guests.
The event also served as a backdrop to sign a collaboration agreement between the Puerto Peñasco City Council and the Intercultural Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans (CEDO).
Signing of collaboration agreement between the Puerto Peñasco City Council and CEDO
Signing of collaboration agreement between the Puerto Peñasco City Council and CEDO
International Beach Cleanup
More than 1,000 citizens of Puerto Peñasco, Bahía San Jorge and Puerto Lobos work together for a common goal and we managed to remove almost 2 tons of garbage from the sea!
On October 25, 2019, we celebrated the collaboration with the University of Arizona (UA) and 40 years of joint history with a beautiful party at the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy in Tucson. Nearly 100 people joined us, including UA teachers and students, all of them CEDO’s friends and supporters.
The event was attended by friends and colleagues who have shared CEDO’s history from its very beginning, such as Donald A. Thomson, Professor Emeritus and Curator of Fishes in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona. In 1975, when Don was part of the thriving marine biology program, he visited Puerto Peñasco to carry out field activities with Peggy and her students. We were also joined by Bob Varady, our host at the Udall Center, who gave us a warm welcome, and by Kevin Bonine who highlighted the 40 years of uninterrupted collaboration between CEDO and the UA. Kevin presented important ideas to continue our work together in the future. Richard Cudney gave a very touching speech recalling both his involvement in CEDO when he was a UA student and now as program officer for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, one of our main funders.
The event was held to celebrate 40 years of achievements and celebrate Peggy’s well-deserved retirement. Peggy took the microphone to tell some of CEDO’s most memorable stories and to introduce the new Executive Director, Nélida Barajas Acosta, who shared her vision for CEDO and continue the historic collaboration between CEDO and the University of Arizona.
Christine Flanagan, President of the Board, provided an emotional moment when she celebrated achievements and successes and thanked the members of the Board, present and absent, who have given so much to CEDO throughout the years.
A huge screen projected images of CEDO’s 40 years of activities and achievements on a loop and guests enjoyed seeing themselves and their friends. A warm and cheerful atmosphere was felt throughout the evening while guests enjoyed delicious dishes, fresh drinks, music, and the opportunity to meet old friends and hear what’s in store for CEDO.
Director Emeritus Peggy Turk-Boyer presented 40 Years of CEDO History in the Oceans Science Cafe series organized by the UA Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium. Peggy also took part in the 40 years of Diplomacy: Science, Education, Fisheries and Community Development panel, within the framework of the Science, Health, Engineering Policy and Diplomacy; Sustainable Development for the Americas Conference, where she participated with Bob Varady, Christine Flanagan, Sarah Mesnick, Katrina Mangin, and Nélida Barajas Acosta.
In November we celebrated by participating with local communities and promoting our environmental education program in two important beach cleanup campaigns, in collaboration with the Local Committee of Clean Beaches of Puerto Peñasco, the Puerto Peñasco City Council, the Mar de Peñasco Rotary Club, local businesses, and fishermen from Ejido Rodolfo Campodónico and Puerto Lobos, the Caborca City Council, the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas, and The Ocean Conservancy.
In terms of wildlife protection, we co-organized the second Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus) Disentanglement Training Workshop, with 35 participants from more than 10 organizations.
To close 2019, in December we were invited by Mayor Ernesto ‘Kiko’ Munro to join the Christmas celebrations organized by the Puerto Peñasco City Council. We joined the festivities with a CEDO float and the entire CEDO family.
At the beginning of 2020, we established an outstanding collaboration with the important British passenger shipping company Cruise and Maritime Voyages. We traveled aboard the M.V. Astoria, offering natural history talks about the Gulf of California and discussions on the region’s biodiversity and conservation. The cruise ship traveled the length of the Sea of Cortez three times in a span of 30 days.
As part of our campaign to inform the public about our anniversary activities and the For the Love of the Sea concert offered by Alejandro Filio and Fernando Delgadillo, we had a strong presence in the media during the first three months of 2020. We participated in various radio and television programs, held two press conferences in collaboration with the Government of the State of Sonora, through the Sonoran Institute of Culture, Radio Sonora, Nuestra Radio, and Telemax, and the Municipal Government of Caborca. In addition, we established various collaborations with independent media who provided great coverage at the local, state, regional, and national levels. We were featured in shows such as La Reyna del Mar, Puente Project, Audiorama Puerto Peñasco, Política & Rock’Roll, La Guía de Puerto Peñasco, La Chicharra.com, CoolTourArte, and El Kiosko. These presentations provided us the opportunity to talk about CEDO’s work and its history and the important role CEDO has played in the region’s development.
The last event on our series of anniversary activities was our grand anniversary event held at our campus in Puerto Peñasco on March 14, 2020. Prior to the event, our guests were able to tour our campus exhibits, including our beautiful Sea of Support Mural, our Botanical Garden, the famous and iconic fin whale skeleton, and the recently remodeled and refurbished ponds that serve as shelter for two Rio Sonoyta minnows: the long-fin dace and the desert pupfish.
At 3 pm sharp, we opened CEDO’s doors to enjoy a guided tour of the exhibitions Diving with Glenn Thompson in the Gulf of California and The Sonoran Desert in watercolor by Martha Thompson. Both artists were present at the opening.
The Gulf of California gallery featured the images that Glenn, a geologist by profession, has captured over the past 10 years. Glenn is passionate about the sea and has sailed the Sea of Cortez for more than 30 years witnessing profound changes in marine life. It is through his photography that he shares the wonderful underwater life he has so thoroughly enjoyed and calls upon us to conserve.
Martha, who is originally from Guaymas, has captured in numerous paintings the rich biodiversity of the Sonoran Desert, including the flora, fauna, and habitats that are threatened and endangered. Martha paints and draws things that she loves, and uses her work as an educational tool to promote a change of attitude towards the ecoregion that she calls home.
Touring this impressive exhibition made us travel from the desert to the ocean in support of our motto “where the Sonoran Desert meets the Sea of Cortez”. Upon arriving at the terrace of the Agustín Cortés Building, our guests were welcomed by the staff from Cielito Lindo Fine Mexican Cuisine, with whom we launched a new concept called Culinary Conservation. The concept launch was sponsored by the Sonoran Sky Resort under the vision of CEO Fernando Anaya and his talented team including Aly Martínez, Víctor Salcedo, and Gustavo Escobedo.
Our thanks to the Cielito Lindo Fine Mexican Cuisine staff for the time, dedication and love they put into this collaboration. And of course, thanks to Chef Ángel Juangorena for his attention to detail in the extraordinary creations made with products donated by local Sonora producers.
These agricultural and fishing products, fruits of the sea and the land, were mostly donated by the neighboring communities of Caborca, the Gulf of Santa Clara, and Puerto Peñasco, and reflect the great spirit and the work of the men and women who everyday go out into the fields and the tides to carry out volunteer activities to sustainably manage and harvest the fruits of the sea and the land that were served to our guests in delicious culinary creations.
Culinary Conservation Technical Sheets
Culinary Conservation is a term developed by our colleagues at NOAA in San Diego, California. In essence, culinary conservation is leveraging informed and empowered consumers to support the work being done by responsible fisherfolks in collaboration with partners like us, to make our seafood more sustainable, economically viable, and environmentally responsible so that the final consumer is aware of where and how each product was fished and what the implications for people, communities and ecosystems are.
To promote the Culinary Conservation approach, Club Gastro 638, a Puerto Peñasco chef collective, joins CEDO as ambassadors to promote our culture and the richness of our natural resources, and the collective capacity of our region to build a sustainable fishing economy in the northern Gulf of California and beyond.
The culinary creations we served were accompanied by an ABC Neutral certification wine selection from Hacienda del Rosario, Viñedos y Bodega, a winery located in Parras, Coahuila. Our thanks to Alida Madero and Ernesto Enkerlin.
The event was also attended by students from the Food and Beverage program at the Technological University of Puerto Peñasco (UTPP). Our thanks to these young people for their support: Ángel Alfonso Espinoza Medina, Pedro Jesús Mojarras Gauna, Verónica Raquel Vinvela Polina, Clarisa Lizbeth Mesa Rodríguez, Yocelyn Fernanda Camarillo Buenrostro, Gilberto Villa Quiles, Carlos Ángel Reyes Ayala, Diego Abisai García Escalante, Alan Eduardo Quijada Ochoa, Jorge Espinoza Ontiveros and Aylin Luevano López, and to their coordinator and teacher Chef Jordan García, and the UTPP authorities: Dean Heriberto Renteria Sánchez, Academic Coordinator Alberto Machado Galindo, and Outreach Coordinator Roberto Káram Toledo.
The formal 40th anniversary ceremony was held in the CEDO outdoor courtyard with the Sea of Cortez in the background. The event was presided by Executive Director Nélida Barajas Acosta. Board member Alejandro Castillo López provided English translation for our guests. The event began with congratulations from our distinguished guests at the speakers’ table for 40 years of uninterrupted work in the region. Seated at the table were Marcia Ortega, Director of Urban Development and Ecology and representative of the Municipal President of Puerto Peñasco, Ernesto ‘Kiko ‘Munro, the President of the CEDO A.C. Board, Lorenzo Cuadras Rojo, and the President of the CEDO Inc. Board, Christine Flanagan. Also present at the table were José Mendívil Velderrain, Coordinator of Zone 1 Northwest of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER), Abigail Zavala Gaxiola, Delegate of the Caborca Coast, representatives of the Las Conchas Neighborhood Association, and Peggy J. Turk Boyer, Director Emeritus and CEDO Founder. To close this informal, but moving ceremony, Peggy Turk Boyer presented CEDO’s 40 Year History, a summary of the challenges and achievements that the institution founded by her and her husband, Richard Boyer had over the years.
At the end of this emotional presentation, Ginger Beauchamp, President of the Las Conchas Neighborhood Association, the residential complex where CEDO is located, acknowledged Peggy’s work and announced that the Neighborhood Association is establishing an annual fellowship for the CEDO internship program, in honor of and on behalf of Rick and Peggy Boyer.
Over the years, Las Conchas residents have supported CEDO, both as an association and as individuals through Jane Woodman, the Prochaskas, the Samsels, the Alcotts, the Peppers, the Cliftons, Jan Marshall, Joe McShane, the Wilsons and the Stocktons, among many others. We greatly appreciate this significant support, which will undoubtedly help CEDO’s Education programs continue to thrive for the next 40 years. This short and very pleasant ceremony closed warmly with words of joy, hugs, and congratulations. The guests then moved to the final event of the celebration, the For the Love of the Sea concert.
On the way to the concert’s seating area, our guests shopped at our gift shop cart, attended by Emilia González, Gala Solis, Julián Suarez and Jiapsi Luevano, purchased drinks at the bar attended by the creators of Mermaid’s Market, our friends Ross and Nahomi Black and by Iván Valenzuela, and enjoyed culinary creations from El Buzo Seafood & Beer restaurant.
For the Love of the Sea, Alejandro Filio and Fernando Delgadillo in concert
At 6 pm, the exclusive four-hour concert For the Love of the Sea offered by the Mexican singer-songwriters Alejandro Filio and Fernando Delgadillo began. Alejandro and Fernando are undoubtedly the most famous troubadours from the Trova music movement that began in the late 80s, and the most recognized Trova singers in Mexico and Latin America at the moment.
This beautiful concert, unprecedented in Puerto Peñasco, in Sonora, and in the entire region, was a fundraising event for CEDO. Singer-songwriter Luis Antonio González opened the concert with songs from his recent recordings Rolas Ociosas and No te quiero apantallar.
With CEDO friends, colleagues, collaborators, and many of our key founding members sitting on the sand, with the Sea of Cortez in the background and the starlight above us, everyone enjoyed a very special evening and relived CEDO’s history in the Northern Gulf of California.
CEDO is a proud binational and bicultural organization born in Peñasco. We thank everyone who made it possible to celebrate together our 40 years of uninterrupted work in the region where the Sonoran Desert meets the Sea of Cortez.
Message from Executive Director, Nélida Barajas Acosta, Ph.D.
We thank each of the families, friends, and associates who joined us in planning this event. We recognize all of those who have been impacted by the terrible COVID-19 pandemic. Many of our confirmed guests were unable attend, but they sent us all their love, congratulations, and good wishes through messages and emails. Thank you sincerely.
This “new normal” is driving us to look for alternative ways to promote CEDO’s vision Thriving coastal communities, sustainable livelihoods, and healthy ecosystems and to rethink the way we live.
Four months after our great anniversary event, we recall happy moments that bring sweet images to our mind now that we are practicing social distancing. It is the memory of the day when we shared with our friends in the sand next to the Sea of Cortez our love for CEDO and our hope for its continued success.
On March 14 the City Council of Puerto Peñasco cancelled all public events. Today, in our area there are a few COVID-19 cases, and many of us who are privileged to be able to keep social distancing continue to work from home. Now more than ever we ask you to stay positive, stay safe and stay at home, since this terrible disease has already taken family and friends.
I dedicate this Special Anniversary Event issue to the memory of my father, Dr. Rubén Jaime Barajas Vázquez (December 18, 1951 – April 15, 2020), whom I lost to this disease.