Heydi Sánchez – a role model for #NatureForAll

Heydi Sánchez – a role model for #NatureForAll

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s a man or a woman. The important thing is that the work gets done,” says Heydi Sánchez, a firefighter.

The Tacaná Volcano, at 4,092 metres above sea level, is the highest point in the Sierra Madre of Chiapas, on the Guatemala border. It is a location of great cultural and biological importance where the last remnants of the MAM culture still exist.  Its name is derived from the Quiché mam, which means father, grandfather or ancestor. In Guatemala, they still call on the deities of the mountain to provide water for their crops.

Here some very important species such as the Pink-headed Warbler, the Peacock and the Quetzal can be found. The forests of this Biosphere Reserve of global significance capture water in one of the rainiest regions of Mexico and provide this and other environmental benefits of great importance for biodiversity. This reserve belongs to the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) network.

Heydi works on this reserve, which is managed by CONANP (National Commission of Protected Natural Areas) in an activity of great importance for preserving these ecosystems: fire management and fighting forest fires. The fact of “being a woman and very short in stature,” as she says she is, has not gotten in the way of her professional career as a firefighter, and she is a role model for other woman in the region who have been inspired by her work.

She was trained by CONAFOR in Mexico and will shortly take a course in Tucson, Arizona, as a guest of the United States Forest Service. Thanks to the experience acquired, she and her companions have managed to form a fire fighting brigade of 15 people and another 30 in process on this reserve, which has helped stop fires in the volcano on both sides, Mexico and Guatemala, and there have been exchanges with brigades in the neighbouring country.

The work of Heydi and these brigades will become increasingly important, because climate change will lead to higher temperatures and less humidity in the atmosphere, making ecosystems more vulnerable to fires. Conserving these ecosystems is vital to maintaining environmental services that we all depend on.

Heydi is a role model for #NatureForAll, a global movement whose mission is to inspire love for nature.


español  –  français


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