We have lots of good news to share!The first one is, two days ago, we received two brazilian interns, who will help us to develop better agroforestry systems for our region. They are Felipe Dantas and Carlos Rubens, both agroecology students from the Federal Technology Institute, in Rio Pomba, Minas Gerais state. On their second day, they had a chance to climb up Itajuru, the highest rock in our area (1640m above the sea level), scorting a group of local youth who are part of Iracambi´s Environment Education Program "Young Eco-Leaders of the Rainforest" (check our project GG page below) There they had a chance to see forest fragmentation in action, and check the big picture of the scenario where they will implement their ideas.
Tomorrow we´ll visit our first local producer eager to reforest part of his lands. This is a special case, as this farmer already works with a big variety of fruits. The big issue is that he plants all of them conventionally, using lots of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and thus contaminating his water sources. Having a chance to reforest in his land, is also a chance to build a fruit agroforest system, and prove him that it actually works. So hands and minds on the job and fingers crossed!
On Saturday we´re visiting two other rural producers, but in this case our main task we´ll be recovering their springs. Carlos and Felipe have already given us awesome suggestions of how to plan our agroforest systems in a way that the local fauna help us to bring more tree´s diversity. Isn´t it cool?On next Saturday, August first, we´ll have a chance to present our project and interns in a local gathering organized by our neighboors from Serra do Brigadeiro State Park. We´re looking forward to meet local farmers and recruit more people willing to preserve their springs.
And it is also important to say that we´re studying a partnership between Iracambi and IEF (the State Park Institution in Minas Gerais) to sum up our reforesting efforts, and see if we can provide free fencing materials for the springs we reforest, as nowadays it is the biggest cost for the farmers.
All this good news wouldn´t be real if it wasn´t for surreal people like you, our friends and supporters, who have contributed to our program.
Thanks for all your help and keep it real!
Gui, Felipe, Carlos, Toni and all the Iracambi Staff
Hello, dear friends of the Young Eco-Leaders!
It’s been almost two months since our program started, and we have lots to share!
The first good news is that, in partnership with Belizario’s local church, we’ve managed to convince the water supply company to give the district the use of one of their big trucks twice a week so they can send their recyclable waste to a recycling association in Muriae. Recycling is of major importance for places like Belizario and Rosario da Limeira which lie above gigantic bauxite mines (the second largest in Brazil) – aluminum is the most profitable material recycled material, so the more that is recycled by the communities, the less mining companies will feel the need to exploit the currently untouched local resources. Iracambi´s community mobilization in a recent past was crucial to preserve natural resources and forest fragments. A strong society organization supported by Iracambi is therefore critical to deterring the mining companies.
And where do the Young Eco-Leaders fit in this initiative? Leading, of course. They are going to be part of the community mobilization, visiting houses and educating people on how to separate their recyclable waste and put organic waste in good use. Isn’t that cool? Our current semester is well underway, and we have just concluded our first theme: water. After some classroom learning on the topic, the students helped our volunteer Jacqueline Reu with her water quality project, carrying out practical research using bio-indicators in Iracambi’s streams. As part of this topic, we also took them to the biggest water treatment station in Muriae, so they could check out how the water flows in urban context. We also visited two rural producers: one who has no more water in his property after the hard drought and now depends on a good relationship with his neighbor to live and produce; and another one who believes his farm is a good model of how to effectively manage water resources. We wrapped up our water theme by discussing how climate change is impacting the rain cycle and our relationship with water. In just two months we have visited a lot of places and involved our students in a whole range of activities related to environmentalism and leadership. But this year has just begun, and we have much more ground to cover. The next topic will be food, an extremely important theme in a region mainly composed by rural family producers, and we’re all looking forward to have more practical activities as the program continues.
And, once again, it is important to say that all these wonderful things are only possible because of people like you, dear friends and supporters, who put your faith in us. With our rainforest regards, Gui, Binka, Robin and all the Young Eco-Leaders!
Hello, Dear Young Ecoleaders friends!Summer has oficially come and gone, as so did carnaval in Brazil. It means work time has finally arrived again, and of course our Young Eco-Leaders program is ready to kick-off!
So, what´s new this year?The first news is Diogo, our former Program Coordinator, has decided to migrate interely to agroecology´s path and will no longer be involved with Education for Sustaninability. The second is Guilherme, ex-Volunteer and Research Centre Coordinator, is more than happy to take over the Program, training his education skills and working closer to the community.
What else?This time, before starting the program, we decided to present it to the local community, so they could analyze it and share their perspective. The students, parents, teachers and local producers loved to be part of this semester´s planning, and the best thing is now we not only have a project for the community, but also a community group effort to educate our kids in Environmental Education. Isn´t it cool?Besides that, we´ll do our best to stress citizenship and leadership along all the course. We´re going to work with the "WEF (Water, Energy and Food) Sustainability Nexus". The idea is to bring hard science first, and then take them to a series of visits to observe how these global challenges are presented in local reality, urban areas and contryside. After each cycle they shall present their reports for the community (parents, teachers, local producers, politicians), pointing out challenges and discussing possible solutions. And what about experiments?There was already a science fair happening every semester in Limeira. Thus, we thought "What if we link the sciece fair to local challenges and our Young Eco-Leaders Progam?". And so it is, we´ll encourage the students to build their projects having in mind the WEFNexus, so when the fair comes our Young Eco-Leaders, who are already part of the event, will vote for the projects they´d like to put into practice with the local community. We´ll also give prizes for the teams which present the best ideas for local challenges. And of course along all the semester we´ll do our best to involve the children in local matters related to sustainability, citizenship and practical work, such as reforesting efforts and organized ecological walks. We want our young fellows active in the community, and we know they love action!And lots of other news really soon, as the program shall begin on next monday, 9th of March.With our best rainforest regards and enthusiasm,Gui, Binka and all the Young Eco-Leaders Team