Dear wonderful donors,
It's time to send you an update from our neck of the woods, and this quarter has been all about getting our hands dirty. Which is something that kids love to do - as do many of us who are kids at heart!
As you may have noticed, the weather patterns have been unusual lately. "Unusual" in our part of the world has meant that the rains arrived a full three months late - which is serious if you live in a rainforest. As a result, our students, their friends and families, and everyone they could rope in, have been getting their hands dirty planting out native tree seedlings from our forest nursery while the rains are with us.
Together we've been working with local farm families in the Environmental Protection Areas to reforest in catchment areas around springs and on stream banks, and, in order to ensure that those young trees have the best possible start, we've been making organic fertiliser. Using the Bokashi method of composting, we create a rich mixture based on living micro-organisms (yeasts, bacteria and fungi collected from the forest floor) fermented with rice, water and molasses. It's easy, it's fun, and it's effective. It speeds natural decomposition of organic matter, helps plants absorb nitrogen, and creates a healthy micro-environment for the young trees. Practical, hands-on science in the field, and the students love it. So do the young trees.
And it's because of your support that we're able to raise a new generation of committed young scientists - we couldn't do it without you. So please accept a big thank you to each one of you!
Toni, Arielle, Gui, Binka and the Young Eco Leaders
March has just begun, but here at Iracambi, we are already celebrating the successes of our reforestation program!
In the past two months, we have been able to connect with 28 farming families interested in rehabilitating their springs through the process of reforestation. Of these, we have chosen to collaborate with 12 families based on the urgency of their land/water/situation. By the end of the month, we plan to establish partnerships with a total of 17 families located throughout eight rural communities and two municipalities of Serra do Brigadeiro. This more than doubles the reforestations we had in 2015. By 2017, we want to expand to reach out to all families willing to participate in our initiative.
February’s non-stop rainfall came as a surprise to all of us. We worked hard to replant seedlings which survived the transition from the forest nursery and fended off hungry ants in the field. Within the month, we hosted two reforestation efforts and for the first time in 16 years, we made sure there were no spare seedlings left in Iracambi’s forest nursery.
So, supporters – what does Iracambi want?
First off, we must thank all of you whom have generously helped us reach our goals. We owe everything to the international donors who provide resources for our seedlings and gas in our tanks.
Secondly, we would like to tell you that our project has been creating a much bigger impact than we expected. Reforestation is an important step – but it is only one of many that needs to be taken in order to ensure the people of Serra do Brigadeiro have access to clean water and have nature as a partner who brings both income and life quality. This demands simple items such as environmental friendly septic tanks and rainfall storage systems as well as more complex, structural changes towards organic farming, community planning and increased environmental education. The community connections and data collection made through the reforestation project have been essential in transitioning ideas from abstract possibilities to attainable goals, both for Iracambi and other agents of our community (schools, church, local authorities).
For all these reasons, our sincere thank you from all the people whose lives Forest4Water has somehow improved,
Gui, Toni, Fagner, Binka, Arielle
Dear Friends of Forest 4 Water,
We´ve finished 2015 having accomplished six reforestation efforts in our community. Reforestation took place on 5 properties owned by farming families as well as in a substance abuse rehabilitation center, planting more than 2 000 seedlings in total.
It is important to say that it was the first time an initiative like this happened in our area. For the first time an environmental organization not only donated native seedlings to the farmers, but also planned the reforestation efforts with them making sure the action was both good for farmers and the environment.
In our planting efforts, we made sure we involved all the international force present in Iracambi, and also the youth of our local community, such as students from the state school of Belisário as well as the Young Eco-Leaders group of Rosário da Limeira. This way, young people from all over the world showed local family farmers how important their land is for the conservation of the environment, and that they are willing to work with them side by side to recover and protect the Water and the Atlantic forest. Forests and water are not just goods that we share, but essential needs for a healthy and sustainable society, and we are all responsible for them.
The rainy season is almost over, and we have only one big reforestation of 500 seedlings to go. In the meanwhile we are contacting local family farmers and studying their land, so we can plan the reforestation efforts of the next rainy season. Things have worked pretty well for us, the community and our team are really excited with Forest 4 Water and we are sure we can double our reforestation capacity in 2016.
We owe all these great accomplishments to you, our dear friends and supporters, who believe in our initiative and help us keep up the good job. Our sincere, thank you, from the Forest 4 Water Team.
We wish you a happy and environmentally-friendly 2016! Gui, Toni, Fagner and all Forest 4 Water Team