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Mar 14, 2018

When talking about conservation, we don't stop!

Meeting with students to talk about Mining
Meeting with students to talk about Mining

The EcoLeaders activities were completed at the end of October, due to school vacation and the beginning of the rainy season. Regardless Iracambi’s environmental education efforts did not stop there.

In reality, Rosário da Limeira is in the midst of an environmental threat - Bauxite mining. We are working with the city to organize a general assembly and discuss this with the population. There is nothing better than to inform our youth and explain the potential consequences of the presence of mining companies in their city, as well as how to contain the unfettered consumption of aluminum by our modern society.

We held a meeting at the Municipal School of Rosario da Limeira with some of the members of the EcoLeaders program. Afterwards, they decided to make posters with impact phrases demonstrating their opinions about mining. These posters will be used during the General Assembly on Mining that will take place in April of this year.

And we didn’t stop there...during school vacation, we were visited by a couple with their children and nephew. Our Director of Educational Environmental Education gave them a magical tour of the forest: they walked along the Trail of Medicinal Plants and at some points were greeted with a light rain. “It was an incredible experience to hear the rain falling on the leaves and the forest floor. I think that this will stay in our memory forever!” said Viviene, the children’s mother.

Along the way, they played a game of treasure hunting, during which they found a molting cicada in a tree and mosses hidden amongst the rocks. Afterward, we returned to the Forest House, where they were able to use our electronic magnifying glass to see everything in greater detail.

The children had their first experience of bathing in a stream, and Clara - about six years old - climbed a tree for the first time. The visit ended with a delicious picnic on Iracambi’s front lawn, where everyone with muddy feet shared their adventures in the Atlantic Forest.

Creation of awareness posters on Mining
Creation of awareness posters on Mining
Family for a day in the forest
Family for a day in the forest
Clara, climbing the tree for the first time
Clara, climbing the tree for the first time
Students observing a moss
Students observing a moss
Mar 13, 2018

The Other Side of the Coin

Toninho and his family
Toninho and his family

Are you curious to know what happened in the forest at the end of beginning of another year?

In addition to the end of spring and the arrival of summer, with its sudden rains, we finished delivering the seedlings, a journey with many adventures and discoveries!

To begin the journey, we helped Fagner separate the various types of seedlings!

We had: Pata de Vaca, Sangue D’ Dragão (which is being studied as a healing plant by the Federal University of Viçosa), Jussara (under threat of extinction due to cutting down of palms), Mango, Guava, Embaúba, 4 types of Ingas, Ipês, and Quaresmeira, among others. It’s always interesting to separate the seedlings and learn how to identify more plants in their initial phases of growth.

In all, we had 67 different species of trees, most native to the Atlantic Forest with a few other fruit-bearing trees that are useful in reforestation.

A total of 4,131 seedlings were donated to 23 landowners in the communities of Rosário da Limeira, Belisário and Ervália! All of these towns make up part of the buffer zone of the Serra do Brigadeiro State Park.

If you want to look at the project’s complete report for more information about the trees we planted, the landowners that we worked with, and the challenges that we faced, click here.

We began our deliveries in Rosário da Limeira, MG, where the Secretary of Agriculture provided us with a pickup truck, and we were able to do all 8 deliveries in one day.

After this, we did the deliveries to Belisário with the Irakombi (Iracambi’s van). Luiz, our do-it-all handyman, adapted the van for delivering the seedlings, using bamboo and wood to fit more seedlings without damaging them. It ended up fitting over 450 seedlings per trip!

During our adventure, we met many new, amazing people. One of these was Luiz, who told us many stories about his farm and the work he was doing to recover his water sources. He is a very wise man.

We also went to Dé, a producer who did a planting in 2016 as well! He was planting rice, something we hadn’t seen in quite a long time! Do you know the best place to plant rice?...the swamp!

We also visited Toninho and Maria José, who have a beautiful home! It was the first year of partnering with them. They ordered 520 seedlings, which made us so happy! They also made us a delicious meal! We will work hard to restore their spring.

Another family that made its mark on me was that of Edivaldo. Actually a tiny village of 8 families, they do incredible agroecology work without the use of pesticides. They are a great example! I couldn’t believe that something like this existed so close to us!

But the news doesn’t stop there! We also visited our friend Lourdes Calais and planted 200 trees with the help of five volunteers to restore their second spring.

It was a day of getting our hands dirty, literally! As always, we were received with hugs, coffee, delicious food, and work! Smiles, holes, happiness, seedlings, jokes, sun, earth, sweat, tiredness...a lot of work! And how gratifying to see the seedlings that we planted in previous years growing and full of life! Nothing compares to seeing our hard work beginning to pay off.

Lourdes and Faustino always take us on a tour and show us all of the work they’ve put in over the past 15 years! 33 years ago, there was no water on their property. (That's right, believe me!).

Since they moved to the site, they have committed to planting trees and making several small ponds, which capture rainwater and infiltrate it into the soil,. This helps to avoid erosion, and increases the water table supply, making healthier, stronger water sources. Where once they lacked water, today they are able to raise fish!!!

Using all of these strategies, they were able to recover a spring that had dried up! Today, we are working together on a second one. All of us at Iracambi are proud to say that we have been part of this beautiful story since 2015!

Unfortunately, as in life, everything is not flowers...We were summoned by a friend to visit a place where an environmental crime is taking place right before our eyes. The farm is located in a rural area near Belisario, on a property that was previously owned by Mr. Joaquim Rodrigues.

Look at this absurdity!

The State Forestry Institute, the State Park of the Serra do Brigadeiro and even the Environmental Police have already been notified, but deforestation was still ongoing. A group of 22 people, including several from Iracambi, went to find out more information and pressure local organizations into action. The tractor was removed at dawn, and we immediately sent a complaint to the Environmental Police.

What a contradiction!! While we were planting trees, nearby thousands were being cut down! It’s very sad to see something like this…

Reflecting upon this, I realized: It’s not just enough to mourn, we have to fight!

Whether by protesting, planting more trees, or sharing ideas, everyone should help however they can!

You, our dear friend, are doing your part! You are helping us to plant more water and fight back against the incalculable actions of third-parties,

If not for you, none of this would be possible.

To close, it has been a wonderful journey filled with wisdom, love, learning, and ending in success! It caused us to reflect more and see that happiness is truly in the simple things. We saw as well that when everyone does their part, we can make a better world.

Like Ghandi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

We are very THANKFUL.

From Iracambi, Belisário, Rosário da Limeira, Ervália, the Serra do Brigadeiro State Park, the Atlantic Forest, and Brazil: An immense thank you for all of the support given! You are a hero in the Atlantic Forest of Minas Gerais!

Full wheelbarrow
Full wheelbarrow
Emily and Marina helping with separation
Emily and Marina helping with separation
Rice plantation
Rice plantation
De helping to unload the Irakombi
De helping to unload the Irakombi
Deforested Land (area: 4.569 hectares/perimeter)
Deforested Land (area: 4.569 hectares/perimeter)
Deforested Land (area: 4.569 hectares/perimeter)
Deforested Land (area: 4.569 hectares/perimeter)
Deforested Land (area: 4.569 hectares/perimeter)
Deforested Land (area: 4.569 hectares/perimeter)
Planting team
Planting team
IraKombi full of seedlings
IraKombi full of seedlings
Luiz receiving seedlings
Luiz receiving seedlings
Some separated seedlings
Some separated seedlings
Fagner and I carrying seedlings
Fagner and I carrying seedlings
Volunteers planting seedlings
Volunteers planting seedlings
Drilling holes
Drilling holes
IraKombi full of seedlings
IraKombi full of seedlings
Our nursery full of seedlings prior to the deliver
Our nursery full of seedlings prior to the deliver
An example of one of the ponds at Lurdinha
An example of one of the ponds at Lurdinha's farm
Luis working on the van
Luis working on the van
Edivaldo, family and friends receiving seedlings
Edivaldo, family and friends receiving seedlings

Links:

Dec 18, 2017

Rainforest thank you from Ramon!

Ramon
Ramon

Dear friends and supporters,

What an amazing year - and what a lot we have achieved together! Thanks to you we've been able to expand ouur forest nursery, deliver thousands of seedlings, make dozens of new friends, watch young forests flourish, and see dried out springs running again.

Of course we've had our ups and downs: just this past week when we were delivering seedlings, our Kombi broke down on a muddy road in the back of beyond. Then it came on to rain like you wouldn't believe. So of course we all got soaked to the skin, and covered in mud. But you can always laugh about these small disasters afterwards, right? And it all worked out in the end. We managed to get the Kombi going and when we got to the first farm, which belongs to our friend Ramon, we had such a warm welcome that we forgot all our troubles!

Ramon is a new friend. He lives across the mountains, and when he heard about our Forests4Water program he was determined to join. He has worked with us throughout the year on planning, mapping, and selecting the variety of trees to be planted. And he's always ready with a cup of coffee and a slice of cornbread when we make it to his property Here's what he told us.     

"When I bought my farm I didn't think twice about reforesting it. It's become more urgent than ever to plant trees to protect and restore our springs, and it was a lucky day for me when I heard about Iracambi's work. You guys were with me from the start, and I want to thank everyone involved in the project. I pray that ever more people come to understand that what we do today will affect future generations.  

I believe that the world is changed one deed at a time and that every day we can make large changes."

With your help we are changing the world one deed at a time, one tree at a time. So here's a big rainforest thank you and may you have a wonderful Christmas and holiday season.

with love and all things wonderful for this season and for the New Year,

Arielle, José, Luiz and the folks at Iracambi  

 

 

 

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