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  • Today is a hot day in Mexico and a film team and I stand in the sun next to a wharf on Muyil Lake at the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site, awaiting a boat that will help us explore the cool waterways. We are surrounded by thousands of butterflies while we wait. They swoop and dive, they race and fly, they make us smile with the pure joy of seeing nature up close.

    In 1986 Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve was formed as a division of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program. Visiting the 1.3 million acre World Heritage site is mind blowingly exciting for all of us. Sian Ka’an is the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean, with over 100 known mammal species, 336 known bird species, and is the nesting site for two endangered sea turtle species. It has an annual rainfall of over 44 inches and comprises almost one third of the Riviera Maya coast on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.

    Right now we are only interested in the butterflies. We stand, fascinated, in their midst as they fly around us. Mario Salazar, my cameraman, distributes his weight with a wooden board because the area in front of him and surrounding his feet is quick sand. He would sink without balancing his weight over the ground while filming the butterflies.

    As we watch, hundreds of the butterflies land on the quick sand and sup the salts, then twirl skyward in a dance of nature more beautiful than words can express. We do not want to leave for our boat trip. It is an amazing moment in time.
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