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Fundación Selva Negra, Founded by Mexican Rock Group Maná, Named PAHO "Champion of Health"

Environmental group supports conservation and development projects around the world.

Washington, D.C., April 7, 2008 (PAHO)Fundación Selva Negra ("Black Forest Foundation"), a nonprofit environmental organization founded by the Mexican Rock group Maná, was today named a "Champion of Health" by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), during an observance of World Health Day 2008 at PAHO headquarters in Washington, D.C.

PAHO Director Dr. Mirta Roses presents the award to Selva Negra's Augusto Chacón and Mari Carmen Casares.

The PAHO designation honors Selva Negra's efforts in environmental conservation and social development, causes that are being promoted as part of the 2008 World Health Day campaign, "Protecting Health from Climate Change."

"I want to congratulate and to thank the Fundación Selva Negra for their social and environmental responsibility," said PAHO Director Dr. Mirta Roses Periago after presenting the award to Augusto Chacón, Fundación Selva Negra's executive director, and Mari Carmen Casares, deputy director.

Fundación Selva Negra supports conservation, environmental education, sustainable farming and related projects in Mexico as well as other countries in Latin America and abroad. Founders Fher Olvera, Alex González, Sergio Vallín, and Juan Calleros-members of the Grammy-award-winning rock group Maná of Mexico-also serve as Goodwill Ambassadors for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Founded in 1995, the foundation focused initially on reforestation projects in Mexico and other Latin American countries. Since then, its work has included protection of endangered sea turtles, recycling projects, environmental education projects, support for communities affected by natural disasters, and programs to prevent violence and substance abuse among young people.

One the foundation's newer projects is "The Growing Connection," which promotes high-yielding, water-conserving household vegetable gardens aimed at improving the nutrition of women and children, in particular. The project is currently being carried out in 11 countries, including Ghana, Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua, and the United States.

"We learned not long ago that all the environmental work we do will be useless if we do not include the human beings who interact with threatened species and regions," said Casares. "We know today that the hope for marine turtles on Mexico's costs is inevitably linked with the economic and cultural salvation of the communities that surround them."

"Health and environment are two parts of the same thing: the quality of life of humans and of all the species with which we share this planet, and the viability of earth, at least as we know it," said Chacón.

PAHO, founded in 1902, works with all the countries of the Americas to improve the health and quality of life of their peoples. It also serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization.

For more info, materials, PSAs, or graphics, please visit PAHO's World Health Day 2008 web page.

Please also visit: Fundación Selva Negra.

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