At Xel-Há, we constantly look for the equilibrium between the economy that generates wealth and development and the maintenance of the environmental, social and cultural basis that characterises our country. Xel-Há Park develops activities that go beyond fun and leisure. Here, we encourage cultural traditions and we carry out programs that protect the environment, the flora and the fauna. Xel-Há is a natural park composed by a group of inlets, lagoons, cenotes and caves. With an area of 86 hectares of which 60% is reserve, a low deciduous forest and a water system called inlet, where salty waters from the Caribbean Sea are mixed with fresh waters from the spring waters and underground rivers of the Yucatan peninsula. Xel-Há's rainforest is the habitat of more than 100 species of birds and around 230 species of plants, flowers and trees. Its lagoon is home to more than 90 marine species.
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Activities are carried out aimed to educational institutes of the region, to promote participation of community members. Between them we can enhance the separation of solid waste and the operation of three water-recycling plants for its reuse in irrigation. Xel-Há finances scientific research of endangered species and promotes the restructuration of Chemuyil Town, a community where 60% of our collaborators live at. Xel-Há is currently developing educational, social and cultural programs, as well as programs of protection and conservation of the butterfly, queen conch (Strombus gigas), endemic plants and animal populations. Educational programs are financed by the company, and the collaborators have the opportunity of finishing their primary, secondary or high school studies. Since 2003 we receive the award of Zero Educational Backwardness by government authorities that recognize these efforts.
The park has a recycling facility that separates wastes generated in public areas, consumption centres and other operation centres in the park (offices, maintenance, etc.). More than 80 tons of organic waste is used each year to make compost, which is used in gardening areas, and nearly 15 tons of cardboard, glass and plastic is separated for recycling. In addition, we have ongoing activities such as the cleaning of beaches in the park and nearby, employees of the park are involved in this activity, as well as schools and other organizations.
One of the most successful and meaningful programs, given its relation with one of the most plentiful resource at Xel-Há, is water. In this sense, there has been an important decrease in the water consumption per visitant, from more than 250 litres per visitant in 2001 to an average of 47.15 litres per visitant in 2003, with a maximum of 65.85 litres per visitant during high season.
With regard to sewage recycling, with an important investment made since 2000, the park has changed its collection and management of sewage and residual waters of three septic tanks to the current five treatment plants, with automated bombing systems operating in anaerobic and aerobic systems, which maintains quality of water at all times, within the levels established by regulations that are in force in the field. Similarly, regarding to conservation and restoration of natural areas in Xel-Há, particularly with endangered species, it is worth mentioning that the efforts in breeding, farming and reforestation projects are carried out regularly. For example, from 1999 to 2003, we planted 55,400 plants of 26 different species in diverse areas of the park, which were produced in the park's nursery.
Mayan Bee: ancient endangered resource
Throughout the centuries, Mayan societies have developed in harmony with nature. Now, it is important to transmit it to new generations, especially in the cities, and preserve the ancient traditions such as the apiculture of the Melipona Bee. Wax and honey were products that, for their good quality and abundance, received tribute in antiquity. Beekeeping of Melipona Bee has been weakened and the bee is considered endangered. Currently is only practiced in some traditional Mayan places, in Xel-Há and Xcaret. Mayan bees live in tropical regions of the planet; in Mexico they are mainly located in the Yucatan peninsula. The Mayan bee is an endemic species of America and has the characteristic of not having a sting which makes it docile but susceptible to predators.
Conservation and rehabilitation of the Queen Conch Strombus gigas
Queen conch is a mollusc of great ecological, economic, social and cultural importance in almost 30 countries that are part of the Caribbean Sea. The beauty of its shell and its valued meat make the queen conch an endangered species. Is the second after lobster fishery, and as a result, its population has diminished alarmingly during the last decades. In the state of Yucatan is protected through permanent closure while at Quintana Roo the resource is controlled by catch quotas and closed season within protected natural areas. However, in Campeche the resource can be captured without any control. For this reason, Xel-Há and the Cinvestav-IPN, Merida Unit, joined several years ago to establish a scientific and educational agreement and the diffusion of science for the sustainable management of this important marine resource of the Caribbean Sea.
Groundwater conservation of Quintana Roo
The eco archaeological park Xel-Há has responded to national and regional concerns on water resources and has made a strategic alliance with the Water Network of the Mexican Academy of Sciences through a water monitoring project to determine the regional hydrogeology, same that feeds the wide variety of activities that make these parks in relation to this precious resource. Water Network convened a group of researchers from the Institute of Geophysics and Geology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and the Water Research Centre of Scientific Research Centre of Yucatan, A.C., to develop a monitoring system for karsts aquifers. Research work started in these two parks located on the coast of Quintana Roo. From there and some other points the dynamics that follow the water to establish as far as possible their origin and the possible effects that may occur due to human activities, has been studied.
Xel-Ha, eco archaeological park, has operated over 10 years under a sustainable model, serving 850 000 visitors annually. It is also a socially responsible company, distinctive given by the Mexican Centre for Philanthropy. The management of the company is geared towards environmental efficiency through water saving, treatment of all wastewater from the park, a system of solid waste recycling over 75% of the waste and the production of compost steadily. Research also supports the queen conch with CINVESTAV IPN.
Process established by CEMEFI is an auto diagnoses evidence based on trust, honesty and corporate transparency. Xel-Ha has revealed its operations on 120 indicators grouped into four main areas: quality of life in the company, business ethics, care and preservation of environment and community outreach.
Among the most important actions made by the eco archaeological park Xel-Ha that were taken into account by the organizers to give the distinctive ESR are: Research funding of the hydro geological system of Xel-Ha and surrounding areas together with the Mexican Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Geophysics of the UNAM and the Centre for Scientific Research of Yucatan. In 2005 its program of "urban rearrangement of Chemuyil Town" was awarded as one of the best business practices in the category of links with the community for their efforts in cleaning up the town with little more than 250 families, located 5 kilometres from the park , education programs in a formal and informal way for children and adults, promote culture and security. -Support and funding of research on queen conch (Strombus gigas) with the Centre for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute (CINVESTAV) of Merida developing techniques for the conservation of this precious natural and cultural resource and of Mexican Caribbean and the Antilles. -Free care to over 34 thousand children and teachers from public schools in Quintana Roo in environmental education activities since 1999. -The park Xel-Ha has the Gender Equity Model issued by the National Women's Institute which ensures equal opportunities for men and women for recruitment, promotion and internal training and the prevention of sexual harassment.
Gender Equity Model
The gender equity model synthesizes a process of awareness about equality between men and women, as well as the importance of taking into account gender issues in organizations, thus presenting a new challenge to improve the human resources administration. The purpose of the GEM is to enrich and improve working conditions for men and women through the visualization and elimination of discriminatory practices.
Corporate Social Responsibility
A company with social responsibility supports its social action based with internal and external commitments, giving transparency and certainty to their performance and their relationships, the internal covers shareholders, workers and management of natural resources in production affecting the environment; the external is referred to external partners, business partners, customers, consumers, suppliers, public partners, authorities and Civil Society Organizations.
The Great Place to Work ® Institute
Great Place to Work ® Institute is a research and consulting company dedicated to helping organizations understand and implement behaviours and qualities that result in excellent workplaces. This study is conducted in conjunction with the magazine Expansion.