Hello, dear friends and supporters,
Half a year far from the rain season and reforestation efforts, we have amazing news to share.
First, we've been choosen (among more than 1500 other initiatives in Brazil) for a partnership with "Brazil Foundation", which will support our reforestation program for 12 months. Though the grant is not enough to cover all expenses, it shall be sufficient to guarantee 20 plantings at the end of the year. All the family farmers have been selected already, mainly based on their urgency, and their seedlings are vigorously growing in our tree nursery while you read this report.
Furthermore, last week, our friends from the Franciscan Association of Belisario told us that our project for building sustainable sceptic tanks in rural communities next to the State Park Serra do Brigadeiro had been aproved for a church's grant. It will be a great chance to improve the life quality of rural communities living by the park's mountain range, protect their water and biodiversity resources and also work with strategic local communities.
As you can see, we ve been keeping our hands busy, working hard with the surrounding communities to make sure we have the maximum positive impact with the resources available. Still, none of this would be real without the support of our friends and collaborators from GlobalGiving, our first succesfull partnership. It was your donation that initiated our "Forest $ Water" project when all we had was a problem with our springs drying up and a 1983 motorbike.
We invite you to celebrate our acomplishments with us!
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