Experiencing Interruptions?

Protecting The Heart of Mexico

In its 34th year of legal protection, the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve remains the most eco-diverse natural area in Mexico. Though rich in unique flora and fauna, many organisms are in danger of extinction. Some of these threatened species include Bromeliads, Butterflies, Salamanders, Macaws, and Jaguars. This special ecosystem is threatened by forest fires, illegal logging, poaching, and the impacts of climate change. The Reserve continues to exist thanks to a devoted team, the partnership of the World Land Trust, and the steadfast leadership of a mother and son.

  • Kristin Gates
  • Jeremy Là Zelle
  • Jeremy Là Zelle
  • Dan Bradbury
  • Claire Whittenbury
  • Laura Pérez-Arce
  • World Land Trust
  • Roberto Pedraza Ruiz
    Key Cast
  • Martha Isabel Ruiz Corzo
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Genres:
    Environment, Human Rights
  • Runtime:
    22 minutes 19 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    August 22, 2019
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Distribution Information
  • https://www.worldlandtrust.org/
    Country: Worldwide
Director Biography - Kristin Gates, Jeremy Là Zelle

KRISTIN GATES: Kristin Gates is a filmmaker who uses documentary film to tell stories that pertain to environmental and human rights issues. Her most recent work has been with the World Land Trust in Kenya and Mexico, the Wild Tomorrow Fund in South Africa, and around the world on a pole to pole expedition with the Citizen of the World Team. Much of her documentary work has also focused on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Kristin has lived in Alaska for the last ten years and has become an expert in expedition travel. She has traveled hundreds of miles by dog team across the Arctic and Subarctic. She is best known for becoming the first known woman to trek solo across Alaska's Arctic on a 1,000-mile route through the Brooks Range that she mapped out herself. She then followed up her Arctic Refuge thru-hike by kayaking 2,000 miles down the Yukon River from the Chilkoot Trail to the Bering Sea. She was also the youngest woman to complete thru-hiking's 7,000+ mile Triple Crown. She has completed numerous other thru-hikes in the US, Sweden, and Greenland.

JEREMY LÀ ZELLE: Jeremy Là Zelle travels around the world filming and documenting exciting projects for TV Networks, Nations, NGOs, Charities, and Businesses who make a positive social impact on their communities. Jeremy has written, directed, & produced for National Geographic Channel, History Channel, Animal Planet, incredible nations such as the Kingdom of Bhutan, Kingdom of Eswatini, Ethiopia, Peru, and many more.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Produced in coordination with the World Land Trust for the organization’s 30th Anniversary, "Protecting The Heart of Mexico" features renowned conservationists of Mexico’s Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, Martha ‘Pati’ Ruiz Corzo and Roberto Pedraza Ruiz.

A collaboration between award-winning filmmakers Kristin Gates, Jeremy Là Zelle and Claire Whittenbury, the short film debuted during Climate Week 2019 in New York City.

The film follows the story of a mother and son who, through shared hope and determination, have protected over 946,000 acres, conserving 15 different habitats including evergreen and deciduous tropical forest, shrubs and cacti, oak, pine and cloud forests. Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve is owned and managed by WLT partner, Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda (GESG).

Executive Producers: Dan Bradbury & Claire Whittenbury