Engaging young people in caring for their environment is essential if we are to... ensure sustainable development for new generations.
The Yucatán Peninsula where Maritza Morales Casanova lives is under pressure from two million inhabitants and surging numbers of visitors. Since the age of 10, she has cared about the environment, launching the award-winning advocacy group
HUNAB. Now, driven by a sense of urgency over the need for the next generation to safeguard their natural resources, she is building an environmental education theme park, Ceiba Pentandra.<br><br>Through persistence, Morales
Casanova opened the doors of the park in 2013 with about a third of the infrastructure in place. Since then, she estimates that 1,200 children have been engaged in educational activities there, and, indirectly, thousands more have
benefited, results that she attributes to the effects of winning a Rolex Award. A recent government grant has helped her complete the open-air classrooms. The National Geographic Emerging Explorer’s prize she won in 2014 will help
fund a library and laboratory. More government funding and a fund-raising campaign will pay for a museum of biodiversity. This will all take time she says, but “I know I am going to devote my life to this.”