My name is Joshua Niederman. I am an In the Field intern visiting GlobalGiving partner organizations in Brazil. Read here about my recent visit to "Junior Scientists Restoring Brazil's Rainforest"! This project brings hundreds of schoolchildren to a beautiful farm outside of Rosario de Limeira, Minas Gerais state to learn about soil and water quality and mapping the natural environment. Through learning new economically and environmentally sustainable methods of farming, the children appreciate the beauty of the environment and recognize the need to protect what is left of the Atlantic Rainforest. When I arrived at Iracambi, the night before the launch of the Junior Scientist program, I was immediately struck by the number and quality of the volunteers working on the project. Over twenty volunteers from around the world were entrenched in a discussion about how to best execute the school visit. These budding ecologists took control of the entire exercise, from which activities to conduct at which stations, in which time periods. I have never seen a business or non-profit organization that so enables and encourages its staff, much less its volunteers, to lead. Early the next morning, around 80 junior high-school children from two nearby schools walked into the farm, ate a quick morning meal, and headed out to five different stations around the site, which taught the children how to conduct soil, water and forest monitoring and evaluation. It became immediately apparent that at Iracambi, the staff and volunteers trusted and believed in the students to learn the ecological lessons discussed. Students asked questions about the acidity of different soils and the turbidity of the water from a stream that runs through the forest farm. After Tony, an ecologist from Barcelona, spoke about three different soils present in the area, I asked one of the students if he had ever seen organic compost before. He looked at me like I was from another planet. "Of course" he replied indignantly, "My family grows mango trees at home." This was an ecologically sophisticated and mature bunch. I couldn't help thinking, this is just the beginning. The children will come back to the farm throughout the month in shifts to make tree seedlings, plant and care for the young trees, and continue to study the water and soils. Binka, the project leader, stated that her intention with forming Iracambi was to "train future forest guardians." I couldn't think of better candidates then those young scientists. Congratulations to the staff and all of the volunteers at Iracambi for the start of a very special and unique program! The Mata Atlantica is a beautiful area of Brazil that is in danger of being destroyed. Iracambi is working to protect this area of natural beauty, and appreciates your continued support in order to do this. Contribute here on GlobalGiving today! To find out more about the history of Iracambi, check out the organization's website at www.iracambi.com.
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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