A wooden sign hung on the top of a door indicates that we have reached the Tabardillal, where the smell of pine and cedar are combined with a cool morning dew. The birds singing are inside the lush forest where purple wild flowers live. A rottweiler with glossy black hair wags his tail to receive us, his name is “Eyebrows”. The soft wind blows over the fields of organic oats, their not yet ripe seeds wave. A stream crosses the Tabardillal, it is decorated with funny blackberry bushes that hide themselves between the green weed grown by the summer rain. Oaks and firs rise into the clouds displaying their old age.
Salvador and Ema, a couple of teachers committed to education and the environment in Mexico, are the guardians of this ecological center located four kilometers from Patzcuaro, magical town declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The name of this biosphere is due to a small white wildflower. “Depending on the season you can see the meadow covered with yellow, white or pink flowers”, says the architect Salvador Rocha, CEO of the Technological University of Mexico in Azcapotzalco. “30 years ago we came here, there was nothing, but now we harbor groups of 40 students who come and spend time with nature,” said Ema Grunhut, Head of Public Relations of the institution.
The previous owner decided to sell the Tabardillal only to this singular couple since only they were committed to preserve the forest without exploitation of their land and woods, maintaining a balanced ecosystem that hosts a wildlife like coyotes, foxes , roadrunners and rabbits; as well as an endless variety of birds ranging from sparrows to eagles. “These are our commitments to future generations,” said Salvador, who along with Ema, created an eco-tourism program with the University making periodic visits of students and teachers of biology and history from Mexico City to study flora and cultural aspects of the region.
The Tabardillal is the dream that Ema and Salvador have shared with children and adults for over 20 years. This ecological sanctuary of about 120 hectares, is a great example of eco-tourism culture that Latin America requires for the benefit of mankind.