Collaborators in this issue:

Puerto Peñasco, Son.

Elizama Pérez Godínez
Guadalupe Pérez Cabrera
Kenia Castañeda Nevárez
Paola Santiago
Juan José Gutiérrez Gerardo
Manuel Pasos González
Perla Hernández
Pía Mijares-Mastretta
Maria del Rosario Jaurégui Méndez

Hermosillo, Son.

Soyna Daniels Lydia Gurrola

Guaymas, Son.

Juan Jesús García González
Anastacio Catzin Mario
David Gamboa López
Griselda Franco
Ernesto Bolado Martínez
María de los Ángeles Carvajal

Teacapán, Sin.

Roberta Abigail Peralta Suárez
Yuvia Selene Velázquez Ibarra
Griselda Abigail Betancourt Chávez
Rafael de Jesús López Villela
José Alberto Figueroa Mora
Manti Salem Castro Hernández
Rebeca Ochoa Viera
Iván Alberto Flores

San Blas, Nay.

Antonio Delgado I.
Alma Delia Sojo Cornejo
Fernando García Araiza Luis Verdín

Editorial Board

César Angulo (San Luis Rio Colorado, Son.)
Talli Nauman (San Ignacio, B.C.S.)
Debra Valov (Mulege, B.C.S.)
Sergio Morales Polo (Loreto, B.C.S.),
Carmina Valiente (La Paz, B.C.S.),
Miguel Ángel Torres (Aguascalientes, Ags.)

Consultants for Vol., 1 No. 2:

Ernesto Bolado
Alba Reyna González
Juan Francisco García
Dahl McLean


SuMar-Voces por la Naturaleza, A.C.
Fondo de Acción Solidaria, A.C
Green Grants
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
Environmental Defense Fund


Leonel López Peraza, Hermosillo, Son.



Primera Plana, Hermosillo, Son.


Meloncoyote is a product of Journalism to Raise Environmental Awareness (abbreviated PECE in Spanish), an independent communications project founded in 1994 with the support of the MacArthur Foundation. The viewpoints expressed are solely those of the authors. This work may be reproduced in part or whole, with images and illustrations, as long as the publication source and authors are cited.


Why Melóncoyote?

Our project dates back to 1994, when “Journalism to Raise Environmental Awareness” (abbreviated PECE in Spanish) was formed.  In 2004, PECE played a role in the founding of the national professional organization The Mexican Environmental Journalist’s Network. In 2005, when we started the first grassroots journalism project in the Gulf of California, our team chose the name Melóncoyote because it is a species emblematic of the region at the heart of our mission.

The Coyote Melon, known in Spanish as melón coyote or calabacilla (which includes the species Cucurbita palmata, C. cordata, C. digitata and C. foetidissima) is a wild perennial gourd that is resistant, versatile, beautiful, useful and native to the sandy soils that characterize the Gulf of California zone. The coyote melon is found in the seven of the region’s states: Baja California Sur, Baja California, California, Arizona, Sonora, Sinaloa, and Nayarit. A vine, Coyote Melon has an immense root that guarantees its survival against hard times while its long stems serve to anchor the soil in fragile areas.

The indigenous peoples of the area, bearers of the region’s traditional wisdom, describe the plant and how it is used. As medicine, it is bitter, but effective.  As a musical instrument, it makes a beautiful rattle.  Its seeds provide oil and a flour which contains a high level of protein. Its shell is ideal as a container for all matter of things.  Because of all of these traits, and because it is an integral part of the food chain and one of the principal foods of the coyote, they named it “Coyote Melon”.

Our team of collaborators chose this name because it is a plant found throughout the region, and in doing so, we wanted to stress our intention to create a large-scale communications medium, capable of spreading (on a regional level) the news about efforts being made towards sustainability. With this symbolic name to represent our work, we are sending a clear message about our respect for the land and the sea, as well as for the ancestral cultures and customs of the region.  We see the establishment of this medium for education and dissemination as something urgent, given the idiosyncrasies of the region.  We have conceived this project as being an integral element of the environment, something positive like the Coyote Melon.

Faced with the challenges of growth in the region—a low population density, its recent political incorporation into the national government, a high degree of natural attraction and its proximity to the strong investment sector of the United States—we understand the strong pressures for development that are implied.  Dealing with these challenges and pressures will require informed citizens who have the chance to participate in the decisions that affect their land, water, air, biodiversity and their future.  We invite others to join with us, to participate in building this medium and to fight for a stable future for the region. 

All work on behalf of Melóncoyote is voluntary.



Grassroots journalists put
sustainable development
under the microscope

The word sustainable frequently is used to qualify development projects.  But why?

The term describes projects that take into account both the forces of nature and social interests, treating them as an integral part of a project, rather than as separate issues.

The popularity of the term dates back to 1992 when the United Nations celebrated the first World Summit on Sustainable Development in Río de Janeiro.  Commonly called the Rio Summit, the event was a watershed in contemporary thinking.

The summit adopted the definition of sustainable development that was established  in the  Brundtland Report entitled “Our Common Future”, prepared by the World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987, to wit:
“Development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Projects that don’t take into consideration the will or participation of the inhabitants in proposed project areas will never be sustainable.  On the other hand, transparency and democratic participation in the initiatives will assure their social, economic and environmental success.

These were some of the concepts shared with the students of CETMar (Center for Marine Technology Studies) and similar educational institutions during a series of four symposia and workshops about grassroots journalism for sustainable development, held in the Gulf of California Region between November 2009 and April 2010.

The volunteers of the Meloncoyote newsletter team are proud to have provided the training and the chance for workshop participants to debut their writing in the pages of this, our third issue of the publication.

The series was truly a pioneering effort.  It was organized by the non-profit SuMar - Voces por la Naturaleza, based in Guaymas, Sonora, through an institutional agreement with the campuses of CETMar.  The series was carried out in coordination with the following non-governmental organizations: Centro Intercultural de Estudios de Desiertos y Océanos, A.C. (CEDO); Red Ecologista para el Desarrollo Sustentable de Escuinapa, A.C. (REDES); and Grupo Ecológico El Manglar, A.C. The project was possible thanks to the support of The David and Lucile Packard Foundation; the Fondo de Acción Solidaria, A.C. (FASOL); Journalism to Raise Environmental Awareness (PECE), and

The workshops and youth symposia “Joining Voices for the Gulf of California” took place in Guaymas and Puerto Peñasco, Sonora; Teacapán, Sinaloa; and San Blas, Nayarit.

In conferences presented by experts in their fields, the students and teachers at the middle and high school levels addressed topics of critical importance to the region, such as climate change, land and water use, biodiversity, natural protected areas, wetlands, fishing and tourism, andmany others.  The took the workshops on basic journalism techniques, with emphasis placed on field investigation as well as the value of reporting on positive economic alternatives for local communities.

Because of the nature of the Gulf of California Region, the students’ articles mostly cover reconversion of the fishing industry, an activity in social, economic and environmental trouble.  The articles emphasize the importance of society’s support for innovatorsaware of the need for natural resource conservation, as well as economic and cultural progress.

Examples that stand out in these pages include: the oyster and clam cooperatives in Puerto Peñasco; the cooperatives that promote ecotourism instead of the centrally planned tourism megaproject in the municipality of Escuinapa, Sinaloa; the North Wharf Fishing Cooperative in San Blas, Nayarit; and the only company on the North American continent that cultivates pearls, in Guaymas’ Bacochibampo Bay.  These projects demonstrate the kind of alternatives that could become reality with grassroots participation in the projected development of the commercial port at Punta Colonet, B.C.

Also due to the nature of the region, the articles cover issues of the wetlands and the desert,which comprise a great deal of the protected natural areas that surround and impact the Gulf, recognized a World Natural Heritage site.  They illustrate the success of efforts to protect the native marsh crocodile atf San Blas, as well as of the first environmentally friendly visitor’s center in the Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve, designed as the prototype for protected natural areas nationwide.

The young grassroots journalists, enthusiastic authors of the stories in this issue, put social participation and the desire to protect the environment under the microscope.  May this be an  inspiration for the reader who is concerned about the same things and about not “compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.