Mar 22, 2021

Happy World Water Day!

Adao's spring restored!
Adao's spring restored!

Dear wonderful donors,

Happy World Water Day and we want to give you all a big shoutout for being a part of helping restore and protect water for dozens of farm families in our neck of the woods. And for thousands of downstream water consumers.

So, to celebrate water, we want to tell you a story about how our program got started. And it was no credit to us!

It all began with Adão. He is our next door neighbor and you can see his picture below. Adão has a large extended family living on his property, and for years he could never quite make ends meet. 

Now, Adão is a traditional farmer and had often been heard to remark that trees were for monkeys. In fact, he had cleared his steep mountain slope so he could plant more coffee, and, like everyone else, he cleaned the ground between the coffee bushes so that the weeds didn’t compete with the coffee.

We get a lot of rain around here, and soon the bare soil around his coffee bushes started eroding. Precious soil was carried down into the creek. And then disaster struck.

His spring ran dry.

Adão had heard the folks at Iracambi talk about planting trees, but to him it made no sense. As far as he was concerned, trees were taking up valuable space that could be used for coffee.

But he couldn’t figure out how to solve his water problem. He sent his wife down to the creek with a bucket. She didn’t think much of that, and what was a bucket when the farm needed so much water?

So he came to us for help. Iracambi offered to plant some trees on the steep slope above his spring. We explained that they would help control erosion, and that when the rains came his spring should run again.

In the meantime he figured out a temporary solution. He planted the trees and waited.

When the rains came, his spring recovered. And every year the water flow increased. 

That was the origin of our Forests4Water program. Adão became one of our most important ambassadors in the community. He started planting beans in between the coffee bushes. And now he produces some of the best coffee around.

Since then, thanks to your support, we’ve protected and restored springs on dozens of farms, and we’ve a long list of farmers wanting to join the program.

Thanks to you, and thanks to Adão, who had the courage to ask for a solution he didn’t even trust to work, we were able to start our program. Attitudes to tree planting are beginning to change.

Together we're planting trees, planting ideas and planting hope. 

Thank you! 

Happy World Water Day!

wirth rainforest love from the Iracambi Forestry Team  

Adao - check out the hat!
Adao - check out the hat!
Adao's coffee
Adao's coffee

Links:

Mar 9, 2021

A new cohort of Environmental Leaders!

Environmental leaders (not all have cameras!)
Environmental leaders (not all have cameras!)

Dear lovely donors,

Greetings from the rainforest, and we really hope you are doing well at the end of a long hard winter (if you’re located in the northern hemisphere!)

Here at Iracambi we’re still operating online (thank goodness for Zoom – where would we be without it?!) And yesterday we kicked off our second course for Environmental Leaders with 36 students from Amapá on the border with Venezuela in the far north to Rio Grande do Sul, way down on the borders of Argentina and all points inbetween.

After our very successful first course we decided to pre-record the lessons and upload them onto the platform to allow more time for moving into breakout rooms, having more in depth discussions, and coming together to figure out practical solutions to some of the challenges that are raised in the small group discussions. And, judging from the feedback on Whatsapp today, the students love our new structure! 

Here's how it works. There are 15 lessons in five modules and students have one week to complete each module which contains a pre-recorded class, additional materials and videos, an ebook which covers all the modules, and a "live" online class where they come together to debate the topic of the week. We’ve also ensured that students cannot proceed to the next module until they have completed their assignments in the current one!

Topics covered include an introduction to the course, an introduction to Iracambi and the work of an environmental non-profit, climate change, covid 19 and its effects on environmental protection, soils and environmental degradation, forests and water, biodiversity, the impacts of mining, how to structure and execute an environmental project, how to lobby your local government, and how environmental leaders can contribute to society.

Sad as we are not to be able to work with the local schoolchildren – the teachers assure us that in this rural area with its precarious internet access it simply isn’t feasible for local children to work remotely – we are thrilled at the enthusiastic response to our online courses, and excited to see the energy and interest of the students from across the country. If we are to save the extraordinary biodiversity of the rainforests, we’re going to need all the environmental leaders we can find!

Thank you so much, dear donors, for your unwavering support for our education program. We couldn’t do it without you!

Please take care of yourselves, and we’ll tell you more in our next letter,

Rainforest love from

Yasmin and the Iracambi team

Yolanda loved the first lesson!
Yolanda loved the first lesson!

Links:


Attachments:
Mar 9, 2021

Big news!

Site of the forest corridor
Site of the forest corridor

Dear wonderful donors,

We have lots of exciting news for you today, and we’d love to do a couple of things upfront. First, to send you a big vote of thanks for supporting this project. Over the past few years your donations have enabled us to plant 26,000 trees, restoring water and restoring hope to dozens of farm families. Thank you, thank you!  

Next, we want to unveil our ambitious new plan to plant 55,000 trees in honor of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration! We've told you a little before now, so here is the backstory.  

As you know, the original focus for this program was to reforest on family farms in response to the water crisis.

Both the uptake from farmers, and the support  from you, dear donors, have been magnificent. So much so that, after consulting our friends and neighbors, we have decided to launch a unified community response to the climate crisis, starting by linking existing forest fragments into a big, beautiful forest corridor that will store carbon, protect water, conserve biodiversity and create habitat for wildlife!

Now for a bit of background about the Serra do Brigadeiro mountains where we live. It’s a wonderful area of rugged terrain, and one of the highest priority conservation areas in the whole state. Much of the area above 1000 meters is protected in the Serra do Brigadeiro State Park, and we are located within the buffer zone – a 10 km radius surrounding the park. It’s a treasure house of endemic and endangered species – in fact species previously unknown to science are still being discovered! It's also an important watershed whose waters feed into two of the major rivers in southeastern Brazil: the Paraiba do Sul and the Rio Doce. And as you know, it's an area of family farms. Restoring and regenerating forest cover in these mountains will have a direct impact, not only on the local communities, but also on thousands of downstream consumers of water and electricity (hydropowered.)  

And we don't have to tell you that planting trees is one of the quickest, most economic and most effective ways of combatting climate change. (IPCC, 2019) 

Check out the Google Earth map so you can see where we’ll be building the forest corridor. Two of the plots are named Iracambi and Iracambi 2. These are on areas that are being purchased for Iracambi specifically to be restored. If you look at the bottom LH corner of the map you’ll see a forest patch with a house in it. This is an area previously donated to the NGO and we’re enclosing a picture of the forest restoration that has already been done there, in less than seven years. The remaining areas marked Kyvia, Ariele, Dudu and Rubens are also scheduled for forest restoration, making a total of 30 hectares. At the top of the google map you’ll see an area of forest which adjoins the State Park, and you’ll also see other cleared areas that are ripe for restoration.

So, with encouragement from the local community and from each one of you, we’re starting the next big adventure. And we’re thrilled to have you with us!

More news soon, in the meantime, please take care!

With rainforest love from Alfredo and everyone at Iracambi.

20 years of reforestation
20 years of reforestation
 
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