Brigada Juvenil Forestal Juatarhu (which means hill-forest in purépecha) is a group of 16 youngsters from the watershed of Pátzcuaro, Mexico. The group was created to encourage the local youth to protect the rich ecosystem of the watershed of Pátzcuaro through arts, action and tree-planting.
Juatarhu helps the local communities to protect the forest and it’s ecosystem by planting trees and by organizing different kinds of events that are related to the communication, culture and environmental education. They have for instance organized concerts and a youth festival, organized environmental workshops for indigenous children and introduced the Earth Charter to the indigenous communities. 16 500 trees have been planted and the group is constantly studying and learning more about the protection of the soil, ecosystem and species.
By acting locally Juatarhu is helping to find solutions to some major global problems: deforestation and climate change. Juatarhu embraces not only the environment and the eco-system but the local indigenous culture, too. According to Camila Merino Amézcua, in the watershed of Pátzcuaro not only the fish, amphibian, birds and plants are endangered, but also the local people sometimes feel that they, among others, are endangered, too. Their language, traditions and opportunities are about to disappear. This is the reason why these visionary young people decided to get together, and start to act before it would be too late. Professor Cardiela Amézcua, the coordinator of the group, has created an effective action plan that Juatarhu is following: to observe, to know, to value and to conserve. This action-plan works well together with the values and principles of Juatarhu´s ethical guide, the Earth Charter.
Juatarhu communicates with the youth around the world through the channels offered by the Earth Charter. It has also developed an alliance with such organizations as Echeri Consultores A.C and Reforestamos México A.C. It also works together with Agencia de Formación en Accion and is a member of a wide youth network that is dedicated to the recuperation of Mexico´s forestal ecosystems.
The Earth Charter plays an important part of Juatarhu’s philosophy: the current world challenges are related to one another, and therefore all areas must be taken into consideration in order to create a world that is more sustainable to everyone. Juatarhu spreads the message of the Earth Charter in a wonderful, inspiring way. As a result to its great efforts, Juatarhu was granted Premio Estatal al Mérito Juvenil 2009-award by the Governor of Michoacán. In 2010 Juatarhu was the group selected for an international study about value indicators, organized by the Earth Charter International and the University of Brighton.
In a nutshell, according to some members of Juatarhu: