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Institutionalizing a community of practice in Mexico committed to best communication approaches for conservation and socio-environmental justice efforts

Mexico City, Mexico

Featured image for the project, Institutionalizing a community of practice in Mexico committed to best communication approaches for conservation and socio-environmental justice efforts

Youth in Mexico who share a passion for conservation and environmental justice are virtually connected through a website called Planeteando. In order to facilitate communication, cross-collaboration, and knowledge sharing efforts between members with similar environmental initiatives, a community of practice called TierraCamp was established in June 2022. TierraCamp aims to serve as a community for best socio-environmental communication practices. This effort will benefit the communities where TierraCampers reside through conservation efforts. In addition, members of TierraCamp will benefit from a structured and organized community of practice. As a result of this project, Planeteado will be able to provide an institutionalized and sustainable community of practice suitable for their members.


About the Community

TierraCamp is currently a community composed of ten youths from both rural and urban regions in Mexico. The core members met through school and created an organization called Planeteando. They began by creating and featuring videos and podcasts on Later they developed a festival called TierraFest and were involved in the production of a documentary about wildlife conservation. While collaborating on the documentary, Planeteando members met young people doing incredible environmental work in Mexico. This sparked an idea to create a community where members share their conservation communication techniques via workshops. Planeteando established a community called TierraCamp in June 2022 as a peer to peer exchange platform. The core goal of TierraCamp is for members to share the socio-environmental communication techniques they utilize when advocating for their territories and engaging in conservation and environmental justice work.

The main priority of this project is to actualize a community of practice dedicated to collecting and sharing best communication practices, which will in turn amplify the conservation and environmental justice initiatives of TierraCampers. These communication practices may include script writing, podcast creation, videography, and more. Knowledge management and sharing may involve documentation, workshops, and peer to peer exchange style meetings. This community will inspire youth throughout Mexico to begin organizing in their communities. Moreover, it will unite members despite the geographic distance and differing conservation initiatives. TierraCamp is seeking insight and guidance from Thriving Earth Exchange regarding the formulation of a legitimate and well-planned community of practice which will take on members throughout Mexico and eventually Latin America. This legitimacy may provide opportunities for additional support, funding, and connections to journalists and those involved in conservation endeavors.

In August 2022, the ten TierraCampers convened in Mexico’s Nanciyaga Ecological Reserve for five days. During the gathering participants lead workshops to share communication methods they utilize in their communities. Topics included script-writing, how to create children’s games to teach science, and how to produce Twitter threads. Each TierraCamper then selected a personal environmental science communication project to develop within six months (e.j., Learning how to create a podcast). On Earth Day, April 22, 2023, they will hold TierraFest in Mexico City in collaboration with the museum, Colegio de San Ildefonso, and a cultural center from the Embassy of Spain, Centro Cultural de España en México. The ten community scientists plan to create an interactive space to showcase their projects, including how they are defending their territories and communities. This goal is open to evolve and will differ depending on the details of each project. For example, there are two individuals that would like to become involved in an interactive exposition that maps water. In each case they will try to obtain funding for these projects and to recruit experts to join in the development of the 6-month projects. One possibility may include the recruitment of experts through the newly formed community of practice TierraCamp.

About the Project

Planeteando would like to institutionalize a community of practice called TierraCamp to engage conservation-minded youths in best communication practices. This community will allow youths to share their knowledge, expertise, and experiences which will result in the increased publicity regarding their environmental work, a connection between diverse conservation efforts, the sharing of resources, and a network between geographically distinct communities. The TierraCamp community of practice requires a solid foundation in order to promote the longevity and effectiveness of the community. This includes establishing priorities and goals, agreeing upon means of communication and consistency, membership, community activities, and more.

Timeline and Milestones

TierraCamp was established in June 2022 and members convened in person from August 22 – 26, 2022 in Nanciyaga Ecological Reserve. Campers decided upon their individual community conservation or socio-environmental project. They are currently preparing their projects to share at TierraFest which will be held in Mexico City on Earth Day, April 22, 2023.

Project Team

Community Leads

Bernardo (Bernie) Bastien (he/him/el)

Bernie earned a Masters in Climate Change from University College in London and PhD in Geography with focus in Climate Change Economics and Ecosystems. Co-founded Planeteando with Raiza in 2017. Postdoctoral Fellow at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Raiza Pilatowsky Gruner (she/her)

Raiza is the co-founder and current director of Estudios Planeteando.  She has a Masters degree in Environment and Sustainable Development from University College London and a Bachelor Degree in Earth Science from the National Autonomous University of Mexico.  She has graduate studies in science communication, disasters and climate change, and feminist geography. As a full-time science communicator, she has worked as host and producer in environmental communication projects, such as the documentary mini-series Bioguardianes  and several podcasts like CliMitología, Los Grandes Problemas Socioambientales and Lo que haces cuenta.

Mónica Ramirez Calderón (she/her)

Mónica studied Earth Science and is now a PhD student in Geology. Involved in Science Communication since 2013, she does science communications TikToks and videos with Planeteando.


Fernanda Rodríguez (she/her)

Fernanda is a Biologist involved in science communication with Planeteando. She practices science communication at a science museum in Mexico City. She also belongs to PAUTA (Programa Adopte un Talento) where she offers workshops focused on promoting the scientific vocation of Mexican children and adolescents.

Community Science Fellow

Evelyn Michael Headshot

Evelyn Michael (she/her)

Evelyn is a trained Human Geographer and Ecologist working as a Geospatial Analyst and GIS Coordinator at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Maxar Technologies in Washington D.C. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and a Master of Science in Environmental Biology. She loves to travel, rock climb, read, and volunteer her time as a Community Science Fellow.

Scientist Wanted

We are looking for a scientist to support TierraCamp in institutionalizing their community of practice. The scientist will assist TierraCamp in building the foundation of their community of practice. This will include organizing current members, structuring methods of consistent communication, outlining the qualification and introduction of new members, and strategizing and prioritizing their current and future endeavors. The community is open to engaging students in the project and scientists can be either local to the community in Mexico or involved remotely.

Desired Skills and Qualifications

  • Experience building communities of practice
  • Proficient Spanish speaker
  • Strong listening and collaboration skills
  • Knowledge and respect for indigenous cultures and worldviews
  • Experience communicating environmental/conservation science is highly desired
  • Experience working with environmental or communication-based communities is highly desired
  • Experience and/or desire to participate in community education, outreach, and engagement

Thriving Earth Exchange asks all scientific partners to work with the community to help define a project with concrete local impact to which they can contribute as pro-bono volunteers and collaborators. This work can also position the scientists and communities to seek additional funding, together, for the next stage.

Interested in volunteering as a scientist? Apply now!

Collaborating Organization(s)


Planeteando was established in 2017 and serves as a platform to broadcast environmental and conservation initiatives via videos, blog posts, podcasts, and more.


National Geographic

National Geographic provided funding to Planetando in order to initiate TierraCamp during 2022.


Nanciyaga Ecological Reserve

TierraCamp was hosted in the Nanciyaga Ecological Reserve in Los Tuxtlas Veracruz.

Bosque Antiguo A.C.

Bosque Antiguo A.C. provided invaluable guidance during TierraCamp in August 2022 by engaging the community of Los Tuxtlas, Veracruz and the surrounding landscape. Additionally, they provided support to the project “Reintroduction of the scarlet macaw (Ara macao cyanoptera)” directed by Dr. Patricia Escalante from the UNAM Institute of Biology