Planting 1000 trees, Saving 100 acres

Dec 30, 2013

We've reached our goal! Now help us grow again

One of our partner farmers showing off a tree
One of our partner farmers showing off a tree

Dear Friends of Camino Verde,

Happy holidays!  Thank you so much for including Camino Verde in your giving in 2013.  Since our organization is small by design, your contributions make a huge impact on what we're able to accomplish.  2013 has been a great year for us, and 2014 is looking to be even more exciting.  Thanks for helping us plant trees and save virgin Amazonian rainforest!

You may have noticed that our project on GlobalGiving is very close to reaching it's fundraising goal!  This is exciting news, and we couldn't have done it without you.  I want to give you a heads up that because we are soon to be reaching our goal, we have posted a new project on GlobalGiving, and we'd love to have your continuing support through this transition.  It will mean a few clicks to switch your donations over to the new project.  Please take a second to check out the new project page now.

In the meantime, we're celebrating the successes we've had through our partnership with GlobalGiving.  Thanks to your support, GlobalGiving has labeled Camino Verde a Superstar organization. It's their highest rank!  Here are a few more amazing facts related to our time on GG so far:

•Since our first donation was received through GlobalGiving on November 29, 2010, we've received over 900 donations totalling $50,000 

•Contributions through GlobalGiving have helped us to plant 5,000 trees and save 200 more acres of Amazon rainforest.  It doesn't take a math wiz to see that we dramatically upped our initial project goals.

•Great beginnings-- When Camino Verde signed up for GlobalGiving, we ranked in the top 10 new projects on the site, again thanks to your support and donations

•In order to keep up with your support, we expanded our project budget and goals three times in the past three years.  Finally it feels like it's time to retire this awesome project and start a new one! Join us in making the new project on GlobalGiving as big a success as our previous one has been.

•Did you know? Camino Verde also has another project on GlobalGiving as well: Turning Carbon Footprints Into Healthy Soils is our response to linking agricultural solutions for tropical farmers to exciting and practical technologies for carbon capture.  Passionate about climate change? Check this project out.

Thank You once again for your support of our Amazon restoration work.

Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful new year,

Robin Van Loon

Executive Director

Camino Verde

Seedlings arriving to be planted
Seedlings arriving to be planted
A volunteer getting ready to plant a tree
A volunteer getting ready to plant a tree
Discussing the tree planting campaign
Discussing the tree planting campaign
Taking seedlings into the field
Taking seedlings into the field
Planting in the field
Planting in the field
A volunteer getting ready to plant a tree
A volunteer getting ready to plant a tree
Meditating on new life- planting a tree
Meditating on new life- planting a tree
Dec 16, 2013

Seeding a new year

Bringing rosewood trees to Brillo Nuevo
Bringing rosewood trees to Brillo Nuevo

Dear friends,

What if everyone in the world realized that the best way to celebrate this season was to plant Christmas trees?  With the close of one year and the coming of another, it's a wonderful time to reflect on where we've been and where we're going, who we've been and who we're becoming.  Thanks to your support, Camino Verde has had an extraordinarily fruitful 2013, and we're looking forward to all that 2014 will bring.  When you plan your holiday giving, we're grateful for your consideration as a worthy project to support.  In fact, we're now less than $3,000 away from our total funding goal on Global Giving.  Help us get there.  We, and the trees, thank you!

A year in review

In 2013, Camino Verde broke new ground in several areas.  Here's a few of the highlights--

-In February, we planted 900 rosewood seedlings in the native community of Brillo Nuevo, Loreto, Peru in the parcels of indigenous farmers looking to establish a sustainable income from tree crops. (Photo 1, below.)  This brought the total number we planted in the first quarter of 2013 to 2,100 trees

-In April we inaugurated our new buildings at the Camino Verde reforestation center.  From the ground up, these new lodgings for visitors, volunteers, and staff are at the vanguard of sustainable architecture for the rainforest (Photo 2, below).  Thanks for making our new home so sturdy!  (And come visit.)

-In June we completed work on our tree nursery, which now allows us to propagate 2500 tree seedlings a year.  (Photo 3.)

-In November, with the first rains of the season we planted another 750 trees, our final tree planting of the calendar year.  These 750 trees represent a half dozen of the Amazon's most endangered, over-exploited trees.  Thanks to Carpe Diem Education for once again supporting our work in the world with volunteer visits and carbon offsetting donations!

What comes next?

In 2014, Camino Verde will ally with a diverse range of individuals and organizations to help transform our reforestation center into a world-class model farm of tropical agroforestry and sustainable agriculture.  Here are a few of the pieces of the puzzle to look forward to...

--Gorka Atxuara from the Basque country in Spain is an expert in bio-fertilizers.  Think compost tea: rich plant nutrient formulas that include abundant beneficial micro-organisms. In 2014, Gorka will help Camino Verde set up a small production facility for use in our tree nursery.

--Biochar! You may have noticed that we have another project on Global Giving, found here:  In 2014 we're gearing up to implement this vital technology on our farm.  Check out the link to find out more.

--Allies from Earth University and the University of Guelph are helping us to implement solar power, biogas digestion, and other amazing green technologies on our farm.  With their help, we are aiming to become a living example of what's possible for our neighbors and farmer partners.

--And, of course, more planting trees!

Once again, we're grateful for your support in 2013.  Thanks for helping us to plant a greener world, one tree at a time.  

The new lodgings at Camino Verde
The new lodgings at Camino Verde
Our new tree nursery
Our new tree nursery
A jungle flower
A jungle flower
Nov 8, 2013

Big push coming up!

Dear Friends,

Our project's humble title is "Planting 1000 trees, Saving 100 acres." But if you've been keeping up with us on GlobalGiving or facebook or on, then you probably know that we've far exceeded the numbers in our original project name.  We've planted over 1000 trees per year and been able to purchase around 180 acres of rainforest in the Peruvian Amazon.

Now we're getting ready for one of the most exciting times of year, one of my favorite seasons.  That's right, it's time for tree planting! With the beginning of the rainy season in November, we start getting our green allies out into the ground so they'll take advantage of the next four months' rains to get well established.  Our plant nursery goes from a crowded city of tree seedlings to an abandoned lot.  And then we do it all over again.

This year, we're planting some really exciting, extraordinary trees.  Among them are several of the aromatic trees related to rosewood that we've mentioned in past project reports.  Our nursery clearing means that we're planting around 20 species of trees. Over 2000 trees total.

This year, we're calling upon our volunteer allies from Carpe Diem Education to help us get the trees in the ground. And we hope that you'll support us at this important time of year. Your donation will help get these trees planted-- and acquire seeds to restock our nursery for next year!

And now your support counts more than ever-- we are less than $5,000 away from reaching our project funding goal. With your support, we're hoping to meet or exceed our total fundraising goal for this project by the end of the year! (And, coming soon... your small donation ($25 or more) will get you an Amazon-crafted holiday ornament. Stay tuned for more details.)

Warm greetings from the Peruvian Amazon!

Aug 12, 2013

Calling all angels!

Dear friends,
The last 18 months have seen unprecedented growth for Camino Verde's work planting trees and protecting pristine Amazonian forests.  Among other developments, we’ve bought 55 more acres of rainforest to protect (in addition to the 100 acres you helped us secure last year!), planted 5000 trees, and completed 1500 square feet of new buildings to lodge our staff and frequent visitors.  

All this good work positions us well for the future, and we're looking for your help to keep our programs going strong through the end of 2013.  It's our goal this month to raise the remaining $7,711 in our Planting 1000 trees, Saving 100 acres project.  With your support, we'll be able to complete our fundraising through GlobalGiving with a bang (helping to keep Camino Verde ranked a Superstar organization on GG!).

I deeply appreciate any contribution you’re able to make.  (You can donate at )

Here are just a few of the program improvements you've helped us accomplish in 2012 and 2013:

-Completed our 2500 seedling tree nursery, with a well and water tower to keep our little friends growing strong.

-With help from two grants, purchased production-scale essential oil distillation equipment to create aromatic essential oils from endangered jungle hardwoods like rosewood and many others.  We are targeting this project to be an income producer within a year. 

-Created a network of monitoring trails to ensure no poachers or loggers enter the thousand acre preserve we protect.  (And now we’ve installed a motion sensor camera to take images of some of the amazing fauna!)

Thanks so much for your support of Camino Verde, now and always.  Together, we’re taking great strides to keep the Amazon green.

Warm regards,

Robin Van Loon

Executive Director, Camino Verde

Jul 22, 2013

Meet the Team! And more...

Greetings from Tambopata!  It’s been a while since I’ve had the chance to share the latest from Camino Verde.  And as always, I’ll be happy to provide an update.  But our Missives are so often about what we’re doing that I know many of you may be wondering who it is that’s actually making it happen.  So after a quick summary of what we’ve got going on, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to our team, the Camino Verde family.

We’re always grateful for your support, and now more than ever.  Your donation keeps our unique grassroots programs thriving and provides meaningful, fair employment to the folks I’ll introduce you to in a moment.  But first, a word about our work.

Update at a glance

1. The numbers are in.  The early 2013 season was our most intensive tree planting campaign ever.  We put close to 3000 trees in the ground in the first four months of the year, representing 25 vital and endangered species.

2. A new look.  Our infrastructure overhaul was a wild success.  Construction was completed in May on our new lodgings for staff, visitors, and volunteers.  If you haven’t checked it out already, take a look at the photo album here.

3. The Rosewood story continues.  Our brand new essential oil distillation equipment has landed in Lima and is being shipped to our Tambopata home as we speak.  Special thanks to Gary from Heart Magic Distillers for giving us such wonderful service to go along with his excellent equipment.

4. Camino veggies?  This year we’re stepping up our on-site production of vegetables, to eat healthy and share seeds with our neighbors.  We’re proud to report that our permaculture-style mulch gardens will focus on rare Amazonian tubers and greens, helping to preserve many crops that are closer to being lost each year.  It’s not just about the trees any more!

Meet the team

None of this would be possible if it weren’t for the folks I’m about to introduce.  The Camino Verde team is a group that loves the forests and farms of Tambopata and is working hard to preserve the region’s wonders.  It’s my honor to call them colleagues and friends.  And it’s my pleasure to present them now.  (In alphabetical order by last name…)

Born and raised in Puerto Pardo at the mouth of the Heath River on the Peru-Bolivia border, Livia Amurús (or “doña Kika”) joined Camino Verde just two months ago.  And we’ve been enjoying her cheerful sparkle and amazing cooking ever since.  After living in Santa Cruz, Bolivia for over 20 years, doña Kika returned to her native Madre de Dios eight years ago.  Here at Camino Verde, she provides the whole team with delicious meals and helps manage our vegetable gardens.

Though not a part of our permanent staff, Carlos Arimuyais a the friend and neighbor who built our new and improved lodgings.  A long time ally and native of the community of Baltimori, we’re sure to work with Carlos again in the future. 

Miguel Cardicel was born and raised in Puerto Maldonado, the capital of Madre de Dios.  Our longest running employee, don Miguel has worked as a fisherman, a lumberjack, a farmer, and a rubber tapper.  He is the grounds manager at our reforestation center and for over two years has been helping us keep the trees ahead of the weeds.


For the next three months, Sam Goodman is our intern here at Camino Verde.  After studying political science at Oberlin, Sam moved to Lambayeque, Peru for two years with the Peace Corps.  Currently in a joint program at American University in Washington DC and the UN-chartered University of Peace in Costa Rica, Sam is working on his masters in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development, focusing on how Camino Verde’s work helps mitigate the environmental impact of the Interoceanic Highway.  (You can read his excellent first paper on the Highway here.)


Manuel Huinga comes from a long line of Tambopata Huingas.  Born and raised on his grandfather’s farm on the Tambopata River, Manuel learned a love for the region’s flora and fauna at an early age.  Currently an Environmental & Forestry Engineering student at UNAMAD, Puerto Maldonado’s university, Manuel has worked at a tree nursery for the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT)’s Andes to Amazon project.  As part time staff for Camino Verde, Manuel compliments his university studies as the head of our tree nursery and inventories seed-bearing adult trees in the wild forests we protect.

Ursula Leyva is CV’s second in command and the executive director of Camino Verde Tambopata, our Peruvian legal organizational branch.  Originally from Lima, Ursula has lived in Madre de Dios since 2005.  She has worked as the administrator of an eco-tourist lodge, the director of a non-profit organization focusing on environmental education for children, and in the United States as a counselor at an alternative outdoor education program.  For over a year, this Permaculture design consultant has managed CV Tambopata’s legal presence and helped keep our reforestation center running smoothly.

Ever since Camino Verde began, Juan Rafaele has been a good neighbor and great friend.  Native to Apurimac in the Andean highlands, Juan has lived in Tambopata for over 20 years.  His farm is an extraordinary example of diversified agroforestry systems.  Two years ago, Juan sold Camino Verde 100 acres of his land on the condition that we’d hire him for any work there.  For the past two seasons, Juan has helped us plant over 2000 trees on this land.

Our newest employee, Ricsi Taborga has in less than a month proven herself as an incredibly hard-working, joyful addition to our squad.  Native to Puerto Maldonado, Ricsi is a mother of three with a wicked sense of humor.  Her favorite jokes are about how no man can match her weeding abilities with a machete.  And she’s right!

Then there’s me, Robin Van Loon.  But I think you know enough about me already.  But there are also animals!  They'll have to wait.  For now, meet Rosita...

I hope this Missive has helped to put a face, or faces, to go along with those trees.  And of course there’s one more member of our team who we couldn’t do it without: You.  Thanks for your support now and always.  Your interest and your contributions are what keep our work alive. 

Warm greetings from Tambopata!

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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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Camino Verde

Concord, MA, United States

Project Leader

Robin Van Loon

Concord, MA United States

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