Social Service in Mexico and Environmental Education

In Mexico’s universities, each graduating student is required to complete a 3-month period of social service with an institution of their choice. There are benefits for each party-the students get real life experience which can help them in landing a full-time job, they develop professional skills, gain insight into how things really work outside of a classroom, and have an opportunity to contribute their knowledge and skills. For the participating institution it’s basically free labor. In the office that I work in (CONANP, Mexican equivalent to US National Park Service) we’ve had some students come through and do some interesting projects. Depending on the topic of their project I sometimes work closely with them.

Monse came to us in the beginning of the year and proposed a plan to work on environmental education. Like all plans of young, energetic people, it was rather ambitious. My colleagues and I worked with her to bring her ideas to life, and her final project ended up being a series of educational activities designed around teaching primary school children about local biodiversity.

In the beginning of the year our office got a letter from an elementary school teacher, asking us to visit them so that their students could interview us and learn more about local conservation efforts.  We did that interview and from that day were requested to do educational workshops/lectures with the school’s teachers. Since my colleagues and I were busy with other ongoing projects, we proposed to Monse that with our support, she could take responsibility of fulfilling this request. Below are photos from Monse’s project.

Thanks Monse for all your hard work, and to the participating elementary school in Tlatepexe, Metztitlan, Hidalgo for their interest. Thanks also to my colleagues Pablo and Daniel who helped in the implementation of the activities.


The protected region we work in, The Metztitlan Canyon Reserve, is home to more than 300 species of birds. Monse gave a presentation to students on the topic and then had the students create drawings of birds they have seen themselves in the area.  


Elementary school children are my favorite age group to work with. Them and women 60+.



Hanging up bird feeders in the school.






Taking to students about the environment and the 60+ cacti you can find in the region. 


Students observe up-close endemic species of cacti. 

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps.

2 thoughts on “Social Service in Mexico and Environmental Education

  1. Wow! 60 species of cacti in the area! I’m sure that I did not see that many when we drove through the area earlier this year, but then I was not feeling too well. What is the best month in the year to see the highest number of cacti in flower?

    Is there a list of cactus species for the reserve? On the internet?

    Very interesting to learn about the social service in Mexico!


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