It’s a great start to 2019 as our Eco Leader program that began last year continues to grow in leaps and bounds. Thanks to the funds raised, we have been able to deliver the program both in local schools and those in surrounding towns.
We believe that our method of teaching about the Atlantic Rainforest must be replicated in other regions so that more educators and even parents, can be trained to share our way of caring for nature.
This trimester we took advantage of the school summer holidays and focused part of our efforts on family visits. We received several visitors, but one that stood out in particular was that of Barbara and her family from Brasilia, the busy urban capital of Brazil which is the complete opposite of our Atlantic Rainforest.
Barbara brought her sons Téo and David, two children who did not like the outdoors, as they were used to playing only in their apartment and at school. The challenge was to get them to connect to nature and enjoy it!
We embraced the challenge, adopting the mission of the Eco Leaders program to inspire a love for nature in young people. It did not get off to a great start, as the children arrived to a very different environment from their city life and were soon protesting that they wanted to return home.
In the end, after helping to build campfires, frog hunting at night and birdwatching in the morning, everything changed, and two little boys who were once opposed to nature and the outdoors were now captivated by it. By the time they had to leave Téo and David were asking; "Mum, when are we coming back? Because next time we want to climb that tall tree!’’.
And so our mission impossible became a magical victory, because when a child expresses a desire to return, we generate an unconscious desire to protect and preserve the place where precious memories were made.
In addition to Barbara’s family, another highlight of the family visits was little Larissa. Larissa accompanied her family on her first trail through the forest that led to a beautiful stream of crystal clear water.
Larissa was so engaged and curious on her walk that she picked up the casing of a Cicada insect to study it under an electronic magnifying glass back in our laboratory. Both Larissa and her family were amazed by the perfect impression the cicada had left behind when it shed its shell.
During the visits there was no shortage of children expressing their excitement and wonder, Larissa exclaiming;” Wow! Isn’t it beautiful daddy? We cannot let people cut down the forests because there are so many cool things inside!’’.
The holiday season is drawing to a close here in Brazil, finishing with carnival which Iracambi will be sure not to miss! Did you know that in 2018 the world-famous carnival in Rio de Janeiro, produced more than 400 tons of garbage?!
This is a huge problem, but as always Iracambi is doing its part with the help of our good friend Rafael, from the town of Guarani. Rafael has created beautiful sustainable pieces from fallen leaves to decorate the rooms of Hotel Fazano in Rio de Janeiro during the carnival season, promoting environmental awareness to guests.
Rafael enlisted the help of the Eco Leaders team to deliver a workshop on the theme of preserving the Atlantic Rainforest in his town of Guarani. The workshop was carried out in the town square where in addition to helping create the hotel pieces, children were treated to various Eco Leader activities and connected with the theme of the garbage produced during carnival.
The workshop was a fantastic success, with the council’s Head of Education later informing us that it was the first activity on carnival and the environment, and that the children got so involved they did not want to return to their classrooms!
And so we conclude our first trimester of 2019, producing inspiring and sustainable decor, promoting sustainable alternatives for our everyday activities and transforming attitudes and families, such as those of Larissa, Téo and David.
We are so pleased to be completing our mission and happier still that you are with us, doing your part!
The Eco Leaders team is extremely grateful for all your donations.