Dec 3, 2019

As the year draws to a close, we are renewing our energies. Let's feel the energy!?

The end of the year is upon us and here in the forest we’re not short of rain. The trees are overjoyed with the amount of rain that has fallen over the past weeks, which adds to our happiness when we look back at another spectacular year.

The most recent news of the year is really inspiring - we’ve hosted almost a hundred children this past quarter, and our hearts are full of hope to see the new generation that is emergeing with an ever increasing understanding that our environment urgently needs protecting.

In addition to this we also participated in training sessions for local teachers, aimed at encouraging them to give more prominence to environmental issues in their classrooms. Twenty teachers took part in this training, carried out in partnership with the Regional Interagency Commission on Environmental Education.

Project activities this quarter focused on the human body and our relationship with the natural world, students were invited to take off their shoes, lie on the ground and feel the energy connecting them directly with the forest.

As they closed their eyes they could better hear the sounds of the animals in the forest, feel the wind on their faces, and learn that everything in the earth is energy and it’s that which recycles the nutrients in the soil and nourishes the trees. And it’s the energy from plants that feeds us too!

Along with their teachers, the students also learned about the medicinal plants in the forest and their uses according to traditional knowledge, and they painted their faces with anatto, just as our indigenous relatives do. You can imagine what a party it was with all those faces painted!

In this way all the students who visited Iracambi this quarter learned in practice that everything that we do to protect nature is returned to us through the energy and healing powers of plants. So once we know this we begin to understand that, it’s up to us to take better care of Planet Earth, right?

And. following this train of thought, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who support our project and are partners in raising a new generation of young ecoleaders. We’d love to count on your support next year too, and, of course, on Giving Tuesday (December 3nd.)

And so we send you our very best wishes for the holiday season, wishing you the same abundance that the rains are bringing to the forest!


Dec 2, 2019

Planting trees to save the planet

one tree at a time!
one tree at a time!

Greetings to you all from the rainforest! 

I bet you want to know what’s happening in the forest, now that the rains are here? 

Let’s start with results of the monitoring of the 2018 planting – survival rates of the trees are around nearly 70%. Survival rates vary a lot between different farmers -  in some cases nearly 100%, in others considerably less. When we analyzed these results, we came to the conclusion that the greater part of losses was due to lack of maintenance. Not weeding around the seedlings, attacks from leaf-cutting ants, cattle breaking down the fences in the dry season, and so on. 

This is a huge challenge! We know that a farmer’s life is tough and it’s hard for them to take time out from planting, fertilizing and harvesting their crops and devote time to their reforestry areas – where they don’t anticipate any financial return.  

But the good news is that it’s raining hard here – in contrast to the water crisis that we had in 2014 and 2016. 

Of course people have very short memories, and forget that during the water crisis they had no water for drinking, cooking and bathing, and they lost a lot of their crops - so we’re working hard to help them understand the simple equation: without trees there is no water, and without water there is no life. 

It’s more than simply a question of springs drying up, it’s also a question of agroforestry. We’re already doing that by interplanting fruit trees with our native trees, encouraging the farmers to take better care of their reforestry plots, so that they can harvest the fruits for themselves (as well as the birds!)   

Agroforestry clearly shows that it’s possible to grow food crops in the forest: shade coffee has the advantage of attracting birds and pollinators, helping fix nitrogen in the soil and even producing natural fertilizers.  As you know, agroforestry uses organic and natural pesticides, herbicides – but hat conerns us is that we’ve even seen farmers using glyphosate (Roundup) around their springs. 


Do they have any idea what they are doing? Or what the consequences will be? Things are much more serious than we thought. These chemicals are banned in many countries.   

Glyphosate controls weeds and it saves farmers a lot of time, so they love it. What they don’t know is that studies show that it can affect food, soils and water, can affect human health and has been linked to cancer, obesity, diabetes, heart problems, infertility, gluten intolerance and more. 

So, in addition to reforesting with 50 different species (we want to increase biodiversity!) and in addition to planting new forests and restoring springs, we’re also bringing as much information as we can to the farm families who don’t have access to facts like these. 

Now – are you keen to hear about this year’s planting? 

Come with us, let’s roll up our sleeves and get muddy! 

This year our financing comes from YOU, our wonderful supporters who have been with us since 2015.  And we’re also working with a company in Hong Kong, which is very exciting! So we’re extremely grateful to our donors and cannot begin to express how happy we are that you are by our sides doing this amazing work.  We hope that some of you may be able to see it for yourselves one day!

Remember I told you we had a reasonable rate of survival and, in the areas that weren’t well cared for, we’re returning to help out, explaining more about maintenance, about the importance of water, and other environmental questions. 

We have a great team working with us, Mateus, Hercules, Deivid the nursery manager, Mauricio, Derli, Fagner (our former nursery manage – remember him?) And these guys have cleared, weeded, dug the holes and fertilized the soil.

And now we come to the exciting part: delivering the seedlings and planting!

It’s been raining like crazy so we’re planting in the rain. After delivering the seedlings we’re adding more fertilizer (cow manure) and getting our hands dirty. Literally! 

We look forward to telling you more about the planting, about what we’re learning, about the wildlife we’ve seen, about the farmer’s stories, but all this will have to wait for the next report. STAY TUNED!  

But, before we go, we have another novelty to tell you. We’ve made some changes in the nursery. We’ve enlarged the composting area, we’ve made a roof over it so it won’t get wet and we won’t have to use tarpaulins. We’ve also fixed up the fence – sometimes dogs have been getting in and trampling the seed beds which drives our nursery manager to distraction! 

The seedlings are more than 50 cm tall, and very well developed and strong. Deivid has sprayed them with the organic fertilizer we talked about in our last report. We’re also moving the seedlings from the tables onto the ground so that can harden off before being planted out. We’re watering them less, since once they’re planted they’ll rely on the rain for watering! This technique has been very successful for producing really healthy seedlings.

So, as you can see, there’s a lot going on and we’re not stopping here. If it wasn’t for you, this project wouldn’t exist. So we’d love to ask for your help once again.

Giving Tuesday  (December 3rd) brings people together to give something back. Every little gesture helps to change the world. It’s a call to action to encourage people to give!  Time, energy, cash, whatever you can! 

So please join us in saving more forests and changing more lives

December 3 is the biggest day of the year in terms of solidarity. Please mobilize your family, colleagues and friends to join us! Share, donate, spread the word. If everyone does their bit, we can do MUCH more together! 

In twenty years with lots of hard work and lots of help from friends and supporters here’s what we’ve done: 

  • 1200 acres of forests protected forever.
  • 12,500 acres of Environmental Protection Areas
  • 130,000 native forest trees planted 
  • 650 farm families through our programs  
  • 2000 students, researchers and volunteers welcomed from 65 countries 
  • 150,000 people impacted in the nine counties of the Serra do Brigadeiro 

Between us, with few resources, we’ve done a LOT! And there’s a lot more to do. There’s still the question of bauxite mining in the area, threatening the livelihoods of dozens of farm families and the water supply of thousands of people downriver. 

Please join us and be a part of this great family of people who fight every day to save more forests and change more lives.  May we count on you? . 

A great big thank you from all of us for what you’ve done, what you do, and what we hope you’ll continue to do! 

And hugs from the Forests 4 Water team – muddy but happy!

digging holes
digging holes
environmental education in action
environmental education in action
preparing the ground
preparing the ground
project leader Arielle
project leader Arielle


Sep 4, 2019

Forest Fire, and small actions changing the world!

Dear Rainforest Guardians,

Have you ever seen the sky darken, and DAY become NIGHT?

I bet you are wondering, HOW is this even possible?

Well unfortunately it is, and it’s happening right now in Brazil.

Right now, all eyes are on Brazil and the largest rainforest and biodiversity reserve on Earth. The reason could not be worse: the Amazon is on fire.

The biome is experiencing the largest surge of wildfires in Brazil in 7 years. There is nothing new in the phenomenon itself, the Amazon has always suffered from wildfires associated with land clearing. But how did it get so out of control?

According to data from INPE (National Institute for Space Research), the number of forest fires increased by 83% between January and August 2019 compared to the same period of 2018.

In the dry season, forest is fuel. At this time of year (July to September), a large number of fire outbreaks are detected from space by INPE.

Scientific studies show that the burning of this region usually results from the type of land use. It has become common practice to slash and burn vegetation to prepare the land for planting.

The events of 2019 have come as a surprise to specialists as the dry season is not as severe as in previous years, nor have extreme weather events such as El Niño warranted a considerable increase in fire outbreaks. In addition, the dry season is usually at its peak in September. In other words, mankind has contributed heavily to the devastation this year.

In addition, the smoke from the wildfires is causing a ‘kettle-effect’ and surrounding populations are suffering from the aftermath of the outbreaks of fire in the south of the state and the metropolitan region.

With these worrying developments, we need your support more than ever! We are becoming increasingly concerned and fearful about the next actions of the Brazilian government.

One thing is certain, we must never give up, we have to unite and act. We can't just stand by and watch!!!

We need everyone to do their part, because TOGETHER we are stronger!!!

And now, some positive news of the good deeds being done to protect our environment…

This quarter we continued to monitor the trees planted in 2018, and we have more information to share!


We have observed that a lot of seedlings are doing well, such as the Red Angico, a fast-growing, leguminous native tree that has medicinal properties. Another species doing well is Embaúba, a pioneer tree that is fast growing, attracts many birds, monkeys and bats and serves as a habitat for ants.

We always conduct an analysis of the area to be planted so we can plan the best species to plant and improve their survival rate.

Usually in pastures, we opt for pioneer species (fast growing, organic matter, etc.) to form a forest base. This prepares the area for primary and secondary species which are more demanding in terms of organic matter, fertile soil, water, shade, etc.

We also plant in places where there is natural regeneration, and / or forest fragments. However, care must be taken to ensure that the environmental conditions are adequate for the seedlings.

In recent months we have been monitoring with the help of 2 volunteers: Sien, from the Netherlands and Francesco from Italy, who are conducting research on our reforestation efforts, we are looking forward to seeing the results and sharing them with you!

We have found that some seedlings were varying greatly from producer to producer in terms of development, nutrition, growth and mortality. To address this, we donated R$100 to each producer so they can pay a third party to help with the maintenance of the seedlings.

We are currently using our findings to help us choose species and plan visits for the 2019 planting. We are now at the end of August and the wet season will soon be upon us.

In other good news, thanks to your support the nursery has been able to make some much needed improvements! The composting area has been transformed this past month, take a look at how it is doing! It is now bigger and has more partitions to allow more room for mixing and application of Effective Microorganisms (EM), the biofertilizer we talked about in the last report. We have also repaired the fence around the nursery to keep our seedlings safe and secure.

That’s it for now dear supporters, we are looking forward to the rains and to updating you soon!

With love, thanks and rainforest hugs,

Arielle, Deivid, Produtores & Mother Earth


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