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Jun 3, 2019

Kids in the forest today, eco champions tomorrow!

The end of the holidays arrived in March and the Ecoleaders project is back at work! So we’ve been taking our international volunteers to the local village school, where they got to share stories about the natural environment where they live - for example Jamaica and Florida. The volunteers and the kids had a blast- through a rich exchange of smiles and knowledge.

These kids also visited Iracambi and hiked our Atlantic Rainforest trails. During the forest hikes, they made many discoveries about the forest. They also had the opportunity to learn a few words in English while interacting with our volunteers- all native English speakers.

During this past trimester, school visits for the end of the year were also set up. The next activities, which will be in the schools will enormously enrich the Ecoleaders program, because we believe that if we start inside the classrooms, we’ll be able to get the kids excited about nature before they go into the forest. After the classroom activities aimed at  stimulating interest in the environment, the kids become more excited about taking part in outdoor activities, where they absorb much more knowledge from the forest.

Great things will be happening this year! Next week we'll be hosting a big school visit from Ervlália ( a neighboring town,) The students will  be hiking in our forest trails and learning about Mother Nature through fun activities, as well having the chance to interact with our international volunteers and a group of Brazilian students who will also be on campus. But the details of this visit we’ll be sharing in our next report which will be full of fresh new stories of the Atlantic Rainforest!

Iracambi and the children you have helped want to send you a big thank you for everyting you do  to support us. 

A warm rainforest hug to you all of you!

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May 10, 2019

Sustainable Agriculture: Changing Our Ways of Livi

The Sustainable Agriculture Project has been through important changes during this time, turning the activities very intense this trimester.

In this trimester, we set a time for the planning of our next actions, which include the management of an area planted 5 years ago which follows the model of Agroforestry- and visits to well-established local sustainable farmers.

The participation in community-work in local rural properties was also included in the planning, as well as the restoration of a previous pasture, and finally a meeting with farmers of the region to promote Iracambi's sustainable agriculture program and to exchange knowledge and ideas.

The activities planned which have already been started includes a walk to potential areas of new field experiments with agroecology in the property of the NGO, as well as the realization of a group-work in the area of test called AREA2, which was a previous pasture that it is now in the process of restoration, specially to contribute to the riparian forest which is located right beside. We chose crops that require minimum maintenance so we can better exemplify the reality of the local farmers of this region.

Another crucial action of this project is to compose and become part of groups of farmers to exchange field experiences. Last month, we started to participate in the Network of Farmers of the Federal Institute of Muriaé (IF-Sofocó). They give free agroecology lessons to the members. The entire staff participated in one of their courses and learned immensely with the class "Soil components and its utilisation on agro-ecological agriculture.", which was extremely an useful knowledge for the NGO for the areas in which we want to restore as for our work in the reforestation nursery.

We still have a long way ahead of us and we count with your donations to keep working with the Planet Earth in search for solutions for food production that respects the environment, with forests that provide a dignified life for wildlife and human beings.

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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!

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