IMD activities in the Americas


North, Central and South America enthusiastically participated in International Mountain Day (IMD) 2019. Discussions among students, cultural festivities for youth, a race in the mountains and more took place in Canada, the United States of America, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica and Peru.

University students in Colorado, United States of America led a movement on IMD, 11 December, to bring together youth around the world on the topic of mountains. The Center for Mountain Transitions at Western Colorado University, headed by Professor John Hausdoerffer, coordinated events to gather students from Mountain Partnership members’ international mountain-focused universities. Students from eight university groups, representing seven countries and five continents, participated in a video conference to collaborate and share their thoughts and ideas concerning mountain research. A student from each participating university discussed the actions their group is taking to build mountains’ resilience. Following the conference, students took the global conference to the local scale by spending the rest of the day celebrating with their local community. Western Colorado University students did so with mountain mindfulness, community service, community recreation and a fundraising dinner; funds raised will be put towards mountain-focused projects of the students.

Marking a decade of annual IMD celebrations, the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU), observed IMD on 2 December. Their IMD event included a number of speakers representing UVU, UIMF, the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences and the Utah China Friendship Improvement Sharing Hands Development and Commerce, among others. At the conclusion of the lectures, UIMF leaders presented certificates to all contributors for their sustainable mountain development advocacy in both Utah and the world.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia in Canada convened to celebrate IMD 2019. Professors and researchers from the university spoke on 11 December about mountain ecosystems to a general  audience. The event highlighted the importance of mountains and of generating consciousness about the need to preserve these environments.

Puerto Rico hosted its first ever “Dia de Las Montanas”. Two Puerto Rican organizations, the Puerto Rico Outdoor Recreation Industry Association and Envision Puerto Rico L3C, joined hands to hold a series of events spanning 8 to 15 December. The week of celebrations kicked off with mountain tours and an official state proclamation, along with the opening of a Mountain Photo Exhibition. Throughout 10 and 11 December, there was a Puerto Rican mountains film festival. On IMD, there was the First Congress of the Mountains of Puerto Rico.

In Oaxaca, Mexico, the Mixteca Alta UNESCO Global Geopark held its first geo-race on 7 December. While athletes participated in the run, vendors held a market, selling regional cuisine and local crafts and other products. These IMD events were organized the geopark, the Comisariados de Bienes Comunales and the municipal authorities of Santiago Tillo and Santa Maria Tiltepec.

Peru Red de Agroindustria Rural del Perú (REDAR Perú) and Oberle Perú organized an IMD event for children in Lima, Perú. About 70 to 100 youth aged 8 to 14, from both rural and urban areas of the region, celebrated the day. The event aimed to instill in youth a love for farmers and teach them the importance of living in harmony with nature. The children participated in the traditional Pachamama ritual, in which offerings are given to Mother Earth. They expressed themselves through artistic and cultural activities, like painting, dancing and music, and there was a drawing competition on the theme of natural resources. The kids also took part in a gift exchange, giving small presents made with the resources they had, such as recycled materials. Also in Peru, the international symposium, “Mountains: Our Future”, took place in Cusco from 10 to 12. The symposium's aim was to spread the scientific-technical knowledge regarding mountain ecosystems and tropical glaciers in the context of climate change. The symposium included 22 lectures, about half of which were international; four thematic sessions; 46 posters in a permanent exhibition; and an attendance of 600 participants each day.

Costa Rica’s official ceremony to celebrate IMD 2019 took place on 12 November in Lagunilla de Heredia. This event was held in the framework of the “Ideario Costa Rica Bicentenario: Diálogo Nacional”, linked to the IMD 2019 theme, “Mountains Matter for Youth”. Many presentations were given on various mountain-related topics, including a presentation on the annual Chirripó cross-country race and how it promotes conservation and social development of local communities. The event was coordinated by the Sistema Nacional de Áreas de Conservación (SINAC), the National Meteorological Institute of Costa Rica (IMN), the Office of the Vice President of Research at the Universidad Nacional (UNA) and the Centro Nacional de Información Geoambiental (CENIGA).

Photo from Samuel Liebl

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