El Zapote Ecological Park used to be a dusty, half-abandoned sports park and “woods” on the edge of Santa Catarina. Today, it’s still a combination ecological park and sports training area. But it’s grown to be part of the protected area of the Sierra de Santa Catarina. It’s still used to run horses from the nearby neighborhoods on the southeastern slopes of the Tetlalmanche Volcano. But residents of the City benefitted from a smart restoration of the forest that has seen hundreds of new trees take route.
The planting of native species was intended to attract pollinators, among them bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. All them were planted to give trees a chance to achieve their full life cycles with careful attention to soil and drainage. This was all part of the broader initiative by the Mexico City Secretary of the Environment to improve the overall wellbeing of the Sierra de Santa Catarina. It’s a serious contributor of rainwater to the City’s water tables.
The overall project also improved ecological perimeter walls and vehicular access routes. This is so that the public, the owners of the property, can get in and enjoy it. There are also plenty of walking trails, a cactus garden, exercise and fitness areas, as well as lookout points and areas for food and seating.
The project was carried out in coordination with the nearby Zacatepec and Yecahuitzol parks in Iztapalapa. All of them are practically in the shadow of the important Yautlica Environmental Culture Center & Park, also not far away. Together, it’s not just a smart forest, but a vital part of Mexico City’s life and future.