Who we are


CEDO Intercultural


CEDO Intercultural is a unique collaboration between non-profit organizations in Mexico and the United States. Operating under a United Executive Committee and inspired by a vision, mission, and strategic programs, CEDO pools its resources and experiences to offer realistic environmental and community solutions that recognize, respect, and drive cultural, socio-economic, and biological interconnections between Mexico and the United States.


To foster vibrant communities and resilient ecosystems in the Northern Gulf of California and other ecoregions by integrating people, knowledge and solutions.


Thriving Coastal Communities, Sustainable Livelihoods, Healthy Ecosystems!

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About Our History

In 1977 Carl Hodges, Director of the Environmental Research Laboratory at the University of Arizona established the Desert Development Foundation. His dream was to create a cooperative Mexican-American research and educational center in the northern Gulf of California to support the needs of scientists and students studying the area. Hodge's dream was to create a self -supporting research and educational facility promoting binational cooperation.

In 1980 the facility became CEDO Intercultural and Peggy Turk Boyer, a young marine biologist, became executive director and led the organization for 40 years. CEDO Intercultural is now led by Nélida Barajas Acosta who became Executive Director in 2019.

For over 40 years CEDO has tested and developed six essential building blocks focused on strengthening communities to participate in the design and realization of sustainable livelihoods to ensure their future and the health of the ecosystems on which they depend. The blocks are integrated to achieve ecosystem conservation and fisheries co-management in two eco-regions of the Northern Gulf of California: The Upper Gulf of California/Colorado River Delta Biosphere Reserve and the Puerto Peñasco- Puerto Lobos Biological Corridor.

Field research was among the first activities of our young institution, and through partnerships with visiting researchers from across the U.S. and Mexico, in addition to community-based monitoring projects, and our own studies, CEDO built an integrated research program from the ground-up. This collaboration quickly advanced our understanding of the northern Gulf of California and its biophysical, ecological and socioeconomic features, such that it is now one of the most thoroughly researched habitats in the Gulf.

But with population growth, the influx of tourism, and increasing pressure on marine and coastal resources, the research showed a disturbing trend; impacts to species, habitats, and ecological processes were growing and getting less sustainable. With this in-depth knowledge, a unique vision emerged: a future where vibrant coastal communities would actively participate in managing their livelihoods in balance with healthy and resilient ecosystems. It became our urgent mission to bring local people together with knowledge and solutions, and to work together for a more sustainable future in a way that prioritized traditional livelihoods and economic needs.

More than 40 years later, CEDO’s roots have grown deeper and stronger than ever, with community-led efforts for conservation, sustainable development, and environmental education that have gained the attention and support of decision makers and natural resource managers at the highest levels of government. CEDO’s integrated approach combines a wide array of disciplines (education, capacity building, research and monitoring, climate-change assessment and adaptation, and economic initiatives), and is being scaled to address the needs of more than nine coastal communities where thousands of people make their living from small-scale fisheries, tourism and associated economies.

Our Values


Development of excellence, responsibility, pride, enjoyment and satisfaction of all members.


Provision of specific services focused on the sustainable use and management of the region's natural resources.


Creating innovative solutions for sustainable livelihoods that leverage local knowledge, lessons learned and new ideas.


Promoting the active participation of stakeholders and a diversity of abilities, ideas, and cultures.

Social Responsibility

Sharing knowledge and resources with local communities so that they can take advantage of the socio-economic opportunities that arise and contribute to the sustainable use of ecosystems.


Promoting compliance with the legal framework governing the management and use of ecosystems by all the actors involved.

Environmental Responsibility

Use institutional resources in a sustainable way and focus our actions on the responsible use of natural resources.



Board of Directors CEDO, Inc.

Robert Varady


Bur Raby

Executive Committee

Associate Members

Kevin Bonine

Associate Member

Annette Felix

Associate Member

Christine Flanagan

Associate Member

Jeff Hartman

Associate Member

Ellen McMahon

Associate Member

Sarah Mesnick

Associate Member

Gina Murphy-Darling

Associate Member

Ron Barber

Associate Member

Ben Wilder

Associate Member



Board of Directors Medio Ambiente y Comunidad CEDO A.C

Board Associates


CEDO’s team is comprised of a group of people committed to protecting the natural resources
and cultures of the Sonoran Desert and the Sea of Cortez.

Nélida Barajas Acosta

Executive Director

Alma Gpe. Valdenebro Nolasco

Deputy Director of
Administration and Finance

Abelardo Castillo Rosas

Deputy Director of Operations
Specialist in Social Geography and Wildlife Management

Hem Nalini Morzaria-Luna

Principal Researcher and Coordinator of Climate Change and Ecosystem Management Program

Ángeles Y. Sánchez Cruz

Manager in Conservation,
Biodiversity and
Citizen Science

Paloma A. Valdivia Jiménez

Education and
Liaison Manager

Elia Polanco Mizquiz

Community Wellness

René D. Loaiza

Sustainable Fisheries
and Aquaculture Manager

Alan Gil Lafón

Academic Services
and NaturArte Manager

Juan Carlos Barrera

Associate Specialist
in Nature-Based Solutions

Eleazar López Gallegos

Associate Conservation
and Fisheries Specialist

Mary Huerstel

Associate Finance Specialist - Tucson

Aldemaro García

Maintenance Specialist

Noah Solís Barajas

Campus Specialist

Naylín D. Gill López

Gift Shop Specialist

Lourdes Fdez. Casillas


Karen Levyszpiro

CEDO Tucson

Karolina Ochoa

Associate Communication

Socorro González Barajas

Associate Communication

Eliud Alberto Flores López

Digital Media


To learn more about CEDO's programs follow us on social media. For inquiries please fill out our contact form.

We are social

Address & Map

5049 E. Broadway Blvd., Suite 153
Tucson, AZ 85711
P.O. Box 44208 Tucson, AZ 85733
Phone: +1 520-320-5473
E-mail: info@cedo.org
Website: cedo.org
CEDO México
Edif. Agustín Cortés S/N
Fracc, Las Conchas.
Phone: +52 638-382-0113
E-mail: info@cedo.org
Website: cedo.org