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Centro de Educación Ambiental de la Peninsula Yucateca

Established as an Associación Civil (AC) in Mérida, Yucatán, México in 2010 with the purchase of the Rancho San Nicolás in the municipality of Cenotillo to create a natural reserve. In 2014 Amigos del CEAPY became a 501(c)(3) charitable organization in the United States.

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Mission: CEAPY is dedicated to conservation and the support of bio-cultural diversity through education, research and community.

Vision: Our vision is to support bio-cultural conservation through collaboration and education—instilling an understanding, curiosity, and love of nature that inspires people locally to nurture, support and care for their surroundings.


Establecido como asociación civil en Mérida, Yucatán, México en el 2010 con la adquisición del Rancho San Nicolás en el municipio de Cenotillo para crear una reserva natural. En el 2014 también se estableció como una organización de caridad 501(c)(3) en los Estados Unidos.

Misión: CEAPY se dedica a la conservación ambiental y apoya la diversidad biocultural por medio de la instrucción, investigación y integración comunitaria.

Visión: Nuestra visión es apoyar la conservación biocultural por medio de la colaboración y educación—inculcando entendimiento, curiosidad y amor por la naturaleza que induzca a la gente a que preserve, mantenga y cuide de sus alrededores.

Misión: CEAPY meentchaja'an u ti´aal u kanáanta'al  sijnalil ye'etel  je' bix u ti´aal u  muk'najkunsik u jejela´as tuukulilo'ob ku meentchajal yéetel ka'ansajbil, kaxanil je'bix mu'uch' meyaj  yéetel kaajtalilo'ob.


Visión: Aaantaj u kanáanta'al sijnalil yéetel jejela´as tuukulilo'ob ku beeytal tumen le ka´ansaj ku ts'aba ti le kaajnalo'ob u ti'aal u na'ato'ob, ka ajak u na'ato'ob yéetel yaakunaj ti' sijnalil, u ti´aal beeyó u kaano'ob u kanáantoo' le kuxtalil.

Where we work

Reserva Natural San Nicolás


Reserva San Nicolás is on the outer edge of a large crater known as the Chicxulub Impact Crater. The crater is the result of a collision approximately 66.5 million years ago with an asteroid of at least 6 kilometers in diameter, known as the Chicxulub or K-T Impactor. The site of impact, at the center of the crater, is just off the northern coast of the peninsula, near the village of Chicxulub Puerto. 


The soils at Reserva San Nicolás have not yet been thoroughly studied. The areas of older growth forest likely have thicker soils where leaf litter has fallen and decomposed over decades. The areas that have been used for agricultural activities have likely experienced significant erosion and minimal new inputs of organic matter.


Reserva San Nicolás includes tall-stature seasonally dry tropical forest. Tall, old trees dominate this community, including species that are rare in younger forests. Tall-stature forest is rare because much of the Yucatán peninsula was deforested in the last 400 years for timber harvest and to make way for agriculture production. It can take several hundred years for a forest to recover from cutting. Tall-stature seasonally dry tropical forest also requires specific types of old, relatively nutrient rich soil in which to thrive. This kind of soil is not found in the more coastal parts of the peninsula or in areas that have been intensively farmed.


On the fringes of Reserva San Nicolás there is land that was recently used for agriculture but has been abandoned due to economic factors or the regulations of the reserve. This land does not have trees and is generally dominated by dense vines and shrubs. Much of this land shows signs of sever soil erosion due to the lack of plant cover, plowing, and animals.

The Yucatán peninsula, including the land comprising Reserva San Nicolás, has a long history of human occupation. Approximately 175 kilometeres away, in the submerged cave of Hoyo Negro, the oldest human remains in the Americas were discovered. This find indicates that human inhabitiation of the region goes back well over 12,000 years. While much is still unknown about his find and the earliest people who inhabited the Americas, the more recent history of the Maya and European colonists, is a subject that has long fascinated Archaelolgists.



Bray, David Barton, and Peter Klepeis. "Deforestation, forest transitions, and institutions for sustainability in Southeastern Mexico, 1900-2000." Environment and History (2005): 195-223. JSTOR,


Hodges, Glenn. “Most Complete Ice Age Skeleton Helps Solve Mystery of First Americans.” National Geographic. 15 May 2014.


Campo, Julio, and Carlos Vázquez-Yanes. "Effects of nutrient limitation on aboveground carbon dynamics during tropical dry forest regeneration in Yucatán, Mexico." Ecosystems 7.3 (2004): 311-319.

Cowen, Richard. “The K-T Extinction.” History of Life. Blackwell Science, Boston Massachusetts. (2000). Accessed August 20, 2017 through the University of California Museum of Paleantology.


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