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Mar 6, 2019

Transforming Hearts and Minds With Magical Nature

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.  

Thank you!

Links:

Mar 6, 2019

The Power of Partnerships for Preservation

With the generous contribution from BVSA (Bolsa de Valores Socioambiental) and 363 individual donations, 2018 was a fantastic year for the Forests for Water Project and we made great progress.

Iracambi planted 6,000 NATIVE TREES of 65 species in 30 PROPERTIES in 3 municipalities in the Muriaé River Basin and the surrounding Serra do Brigadeiro area to combat water scarcity.

In addition to involving local and international STUDENTS and VOLUNTEERS, the Forests for Water project placed 30th in the water category of the Latin America Green Award, which selects the 500 best socio-environmental projects in Latin America.

New regional partnerships have strengthened the project with the delivery of two courses; "Protection and Recovery of Springs" and  "Water Planters" provided by  SENAR and the We are Water Network, which together trained 33 people.

In local partnerships, DEMSUR (Department of Basic Sanitation of Muriaé) donated 700 fence posts to the local community involved in the project.

In addition, we analysed the water of the springs to be reforested by the project using the following parameters:

  • Total Coliforms
  • Fecal Coliforms
  • Color
  • Turbidity
  • pH
  • Aspect

Of the 30 samples, only ONE SPRING complies with all the safe levels required for human consumption.

Feedback from our project beneficiaries:

"When I was younger, my father did not care much about water, now that the farm is in my hands, I want to protect our most precious resource: water. After the crisis we experienced in 2014/2015 we can see the importance of this natural resource! Without it family farming, animals, plants would simply not exist".
Antônio - Ervália.

"in 2014/2015 our spring dried up! My brothers had to walk 3/4 miles with a wheelbarrow to collect drinking water and water to wash my crochet to sell at the market. Many of our neighbors made artesian wells, but we did not want that. We decided to plant some trees around the spring, and the spring returned and never dried up again! Since then we take as much care as possible to protect the spring, because we learnt the hard way the challenges a lack of water bring".
Maria - Ancorado, Rosário da Limeira.

The challenge for 2019 is to plant CILIARY FOREST (on the banks of the river) that work like eyelashes, preventing flooding, silting, erosion, and has the capacity to retain nutrients and contaminants.

Reducing the pollution of water sources, besides creating habitats, forms forest corridors which facilitate the movement and propagation of wild animals and flora.

Most importantly, WITHOUT YOUR HELP, NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE!

Whether you are donating, partnering, volunteering, promoting our work, encouraging people to be more environmentally sustainable, YOU MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE!

THANK YOU GUYS SO MUCH!

With love and Iracambi hugs,

Arielle Canedo, the Iracambi team, young people from R. da Limeira, Belisário, Ervália, farming families and mother nature! (Have you noticed we’re growing?!)

Links:

Feb 11, 2019

Thank you for supporting sustainable farming!

looks good enough to eat!
looks good enough to eat!

Agroecology at Iracambi  

This exciting project at Iracambi combines three things: producing seeds for green manure, cultivating and selling organic fruits and vegetables, and creating a line of natural cosmetics.  As an added bonus, we’re reforesting stream banks with trees native to the Atlantic Forest in an area that was formerly degraded pasture.  And we’re managing the whole system sustainably.

And the result? Producing natural cosmetics and organic foodstuff with the least possible impact on the environment. Creating and sharing a sustainable model that will generate income for rural communities. Giving field days and writing academic papers in order to share our experiences with the wider public.  

The background  

The current model of conventional agriculture has not served the rural community well – either economically or environmentally. This is evidenced by degraded lands, stressed water resources, and the rural exodus.  Family agriculture urgently needs to develop alternative models that enable rural families to remain on the land and care for the environment.

History of the area

Our agroecology plot was formerly a cattle pasture. Sugar cane had also been planted for the cattle, and the areas bordering the river have occasionally been flooded – although rarely. The area is 2.5 acres.

Development of the project

The Agroecology plot has been in existence for three months.

  • While the trees are growing, we have interplanted maize, manioc, and leguminous species for green manure, in order to increase soil fertility and produce seeds.
  • Simultaneously we are developing our range of natural cosmetics, and are currently testing a range of soaps.
  • We’ve strengthened our ties with the Natural Plants Working Group of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Brazil’s premier research center. We are also developing partnerships with universities and technical institutes to work together on techniques of agroecological production.  
  • The next stage will be to hold field days to work with local producers on best practice organic food production and creating natural cosmetics using low impact techniques that provide an economic return for low income rural families

Your part in this!  

With your help we’re raising rural living standards and helping smallholder farm families live better and more healthily than they do under conventional agricultural systems. Producing organic food and natural cosmetics is good for people, and good for the land. It’s a way of transforming lives.  Thank you for being a part of it!

Good looking field!
Good looking field!
planting with love
planting with love
healthy growth!
healthy growth!
 
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