About Us

Vision Statement

To provide life changing experiences and to rediscover one's sense of wonder. We hope to inspire people to cultivate mutually beneficial relationships between their environments and their own communities based in cultural traditions, environmental harmony, and long-term sustainability.

Mission Statement

Through a combination of education, inquiry, conservation, and life changing experience we will assist in forging synergistic relationships between human and ecological communities by
  • Helping to bring people into the field and rediscover their sense of wonder
  • Demonstrating to people ecologically viable means of living
  • Teaching people important tools for establishing or fostering the growth of sustainable systems for life on the planet
  • Educating people on how ecological communities work and the role humans play within it
  • Providing a forum for people from different cultures to exchange knowledge, experience, and perspectives
  • Assisting in creative hands-on solutions to complicated problems
  • Becoming a source of inspiration or a model for others to take action in their daily lives
Humans in past centuries have lived in harmony with nature, only using what they needed to survive and giving back to the land more than they took from it.  At Rancho San Gregorio or at the Vermilion Sea Field Station, visitors can relive this world view and experience the natural environment as a humble ally and riveting teacher.  We hope their experiences will inspire people to rekindle that relationship with their environment and to share the principles they learn in Baja California with their communities at home.
flow chart

El Canto de la Tierra has evolved over several decades of work in conservation ecology and education. Lane McDonald began taking classes to the Vermilion Sea Field Station (VSFS) in the early 1970's as a site to host college-level students for field programs in marine biology and ecology. Classes were typically hosted annually for 4-weeks through his efforts and eventually extended to groups from other colleges as colleagues and former students became inspired by his work. Following his retirement from a fruitful teaching career in 2005, his passion for the unique biologic systems along the Baja Peninsula led him into the desert where he met a kindred spirit and new friend, Rafael Villavicencio. Their dream for restoring healthy relationships within human communities and restoring their bonds to the environment took on a will of its own. Shortly thereafter, El Canto de la Tierra was formed in order to provide an infrastructure for this work to be done and provide the opportunity for the public to contribute if they think it worthwhile.

The Vermilion Sea Field Station and Rancho San Gregorio have active projects addressing sustainable and restorative approaches to ecologic systems, conservation efforts that support endangered species, medicinal applications of ethnobotany, scientific research in biology and geology and facilitate several educational field programs that cover those subjects.  Further information on what is offered at these locations is available at the Rancho San Gregorio and VSFS tabs, including more information on current and past programs.

We encourage people to generate ideas and are always enthusiastic to provide new services groups may want to see in these areas. If you would like to participate in our programs, visit facilities, contribute, or would like to see a new kind of program or service please email us.