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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkEditorials | Environmental | June 2007 

Francisco Verástegui Wins 2007 Colibri Ecotourism Award
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Francisco Verástegui created Mexico's first map of notable and historic trees.
As part of the global celebration of World Environment Day, presents the seventh annual Colibri Ecotourism Award to Francisco Verástegui, who created Mexico's first map of notable and historic trees.

First presented in 2001, the Colibri Ecotourism Award is presented to a leading authority and catalyst at the vanguard of ecotourism in Mexico.

The winner of the award is selected by founder Ron Mader following consultation with members of the Mexico Ecotourism Network.

The United Nations celebrates World Environment Day each year on June 5 as a means to stimulate worldwide awareness of the environment and enhance political action.

About the Colibri Award

Francisco Verástegui receives the Colibri ("Hummingbird") Award for his work in protecting the historic and notable trees of Oaxaca City and raising awareness of the urban environment.

Announcing this year's winner, founder Ron Mader said, "Ecotourism depends on the leadership of individuals exemplified by Francisco Verástegui who are resourceful and who create new linkages connecting tourism and environmental conservation."

Colibri means "Hummingbird" in Spanish and in 2007 the Colibri Award celebrates its seventh anniversary, making this one of the longest-running ecotourism awards. The winner of the annual award receives a trophy, diploma and a $1,000 cash award from Emilio Kifuri, president of Canyon Travel.

"Mexico is one of the world's mega diverse countries with one of the most successful tourism industries," said Emilio Kifuri. "If ecotourism is to overtake the senseless destruction of the world's natural areas, it has to develop at a faster pace. We feel fortunate to be in a position to demonstrate to the tourism industry that ecotourism can be more profitable than mainstream tourism."

The Colibri Ecotourism Award's co-sponsor, Destination Ventures, is contributing another $1,000 directly to for development of spin-off media, including an English-language version of the map and DVD. The company specializes in travel industry education and currently works for the Mexico Tourism Board and United Nations Foundation in promoting sustainable travel to UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Previous winners include Steve Bridger , Jennifer Morfín, Hector Ceballos-Lascurain , Jorge Chàvez de la Peña, Fernando Garcia Aguinaco, Marlene Ehrenberg, Juan Carlos Ibarra and Antonio Suarez.

2007 winner

Francisco Verástegui is an artist born in Mexico City's Condesa neighborhood who has lived in Oaxaca for the past twenty years.

His work is featured at prominent galleries, including Arte Cocodrilo and Arte de Oaxaca.

Verástegui's passion for Oaxaca's urban parks and gardens has never been stronger and in the spring of 2007 he collaborated with colleagues in producing the map Árboles Históricos y Notables. The first printing has a run of 7,000 copies, courtesy of La Curtiduria and Carteles de Sur, and is available in Oaxaca City at Amate Books, Macedonio Alcalá #307.

The map has attracted the attention of the local TV 9 which is preparing a video documentary about the trees.

Future work

In the planning stage is a portfolio of engravings of the historic trees created by Oaxaca's most famous artists to be published by Fernando Sandoval, one of Mexico's most prestigous printers. This will be sold to raise funds to pay for scientific studies, signage plaques and fences to protect the trees. The publication is sponsored by La Curtiduria and the Alfredo Harp Helú Foundation. is preparing a DVD documenting trees in Oaxaca and is researching how to locate the trees using Google Earth. is also updating our online guides to forestry issues and documenting reforestation efforts in Mexico.


Sin lugar a dudas, hay pocas personas como Francisco Verástegui, interesados en crear proyectos para el bien común. Artista de gran talento y trayectoria, escritor de verdades y luchador incansable por nuestro patrimonio cultural e histórico y sobre todo un gran observador y pensador de nuestro tiempo, Verástegui es indiscutiblemente el mejor candidato para recibir el premio Colíbri por su dedicación en conservar, difundir y promover proyectos novedosos como La Hoja Volante uno dedicado a los árboles notables de la Ciudad de Oaxaca.
- Demián Flores

Francisco Verástegui es alguien ha trabajado a favor del patrimonio natural e histórico de Oaxaca y en especial de nuestros entrañables árboles en los últimos tiempos ha sido precisamente él, quién con su decidida y significativa participación ha logrado despertar en nosotros el deseo de contribuir a la protección y salvaguarda de nuestro invaluable patrimonio. Sin embargo, el camino por recorrer el largo y difícil, por lo mismo considero que cualquier premio u apoyo que reciba Francisco le será de gran utilidad y le motivará a continuar con esta importante labor.
- Víctor González Sánchez, Galeria Arte de Oaxaca

Tengo varios años de conocer a Francisco Verástegui y hoy mas que nunca me sorprende su personalidad ya que no logra estar sin movimiento un momento, siempre tiene en su ser una creatividad inmensa para el bienestar social que es realmente su pasion por la vida. Comenzo a mirar a los arboles de Oaxaca pero como solo él sabe hacerlo.....observando y dandose cuenta de su belleza y trascendio esta mirada a la Historia de cada uno. Hoy que me entero que esta propuesto para recibir el Premio Planeta me lleno de alegria porque es decir sí a la vida y sí a las personas que como Verástegui la viven atentos a la realidad.
- Dora Luz Martinez Vasconcelos

Francisco Verástegui's Oaxaca tree map is an innovative product that is of great interest to residents and visitors alike. This is urban ecotourism in action and it really works as the map results in one wanting to find more of these hidden green wonders in the city
- Gerhard Buttner


Many thanks to friends and colleagues who are relaying the word about the Colibri Award including the United Nations Environment Programme.

Details: Colibri Ecotourism Award

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