Plan­ta Madre is a group com­mit­ted the con­ser­va­tion, cul­ti­va­tion, replant­i­ng of cac­tus and med­i­c­i­nal plants in the Bernal area of the state of Querétaro. The work in the pro­tect­ed area of the Peña de Bernal and have a large pro­duc­tion green­house in San Anto­nio de la Cal. The group has been in exis­tence for 6–7 years and is real­ly doing great work. They fund them­selves through plant sales. Sarah was intro­duced to the woman who start­ed the group, and we were invit­ed to vis­it this past week­end. We’re hop­ing to start col­lab­o­rat­ing with them  in what­ev­er ways we can, most like­ly ini­tial­ly by build­ing them a web­site and pho­tograph­ing all their cac­tus species for a cat­a­log. I’m excit­ed to work with them, and not just because of their prox­im­i­ty to the climb­ing at Bernal. Sarah and I took our climb­ing gear to the vis­it, but we did­n’t even end up climb­ing after our vis­it because it has been just such a sat­is­fy­ing day. Noth­ing like tak­ing the gear for a walk. Hope­ful­ly it won’t be too long before we have a web­site up and run­ning for them, and I will cer­tain­ly post the link when it is ready.

In addi­tion to a tour of their green­house, we had a walk­ing tour of the local area. It is amaz­ing what you can learn to see with a good guide. Know­ing what to look for is always the trick, and there was no excep­tion even in the semi-desert envi­ron­ment. The vari­ety of cac­ti and learn­ing to spot the young cac­ti as they are bare­ly above ground was eye-open­ing. The final thing that I can say is some­thing that I try to adhere to but that was dri­ven home on this hike: Stay On The Path! Don’t go tram­pling if you can help it. You are step­ping on baby cacti.