Earthwatch Institute, Maynard, MA, March 24 2009 - A great deal of drug-related violence has recently taken place along the northern Mexico border, and the neighboring US states. Earthwatch has been monitoring the violence closely since it began because we run two projects in Mexico, Tracking Baja's Black Sea Turtles (Baja region) and Mexican Megafauna (San Miguel de Allende)-which are not located in the area affected by the violence.
Nevertheless safety is always our primary concern so we are actively communicating with our partners and project staff on the ground as well as with International SOS, our health and security consultants. Should anything happen that will alter teams currently scheduled for 2009 we will notify volunteers immediately.
Our first team of the year in Baja is in late May 2009, and our first team in San Miguel de Allende is in late June 2009.
We will continue to monitor the situation closely through the US Department of State, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and International SOS recommendations, among others, and respond as appropriate to any further developments.
Currently, both the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the US State Department advise that there are no significant restrictions on travel to Mexico. Normal travel can continue, but travelers are specifically advised to avoid the areas along US border affected by drug-related violence, as well as Culiacán and the surrounding areas in Sinaloa state. Visitors are further advised to practice personal security measures as usual, and to check local media sources for more information.
Earthwatch cannot guarantee anyone's safety completely. Natural and political disasters can and do happen without warning. Volunteers should read Project Briefings thoroughly and think carefully about their personal comfort level with the field conditions of the project, the volunteer tasks and their own physical and mental capabilities. We encourage volunteers to educate themselves about current conditions in Mexico by consulting the following resources:
United States State Department: Mexico
United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Mexico
Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Mexico
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If you are scheduled to go on an Earthwatch expedition and would like to speak to an advisor please call 1-800-776-0188.