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Dec 18, 2017

You're changing the world. Thank you!

Journey of discovery
Journey of discovery

Dear friends and supporters,

What an amazing year, and what a lot we have achieved together! Thanks to you we’ve been able to set a whole lot of rainforest kids on their way to becoming forest champions. We’ve  hosted several large school groups for their first ever adventure day in the forest, we’ve made presentations in local schools and citizen associations, we’ve involved parents, teachers and school support staff, and of course we’ve been running our regular Eco Leaders Program, and reaching more students all the time. .

And this year we've been doing it a little differently. We hope you love our new approach as much as the students do! Here's how it works. Since our objective is to introduce them to the amazing world of the rainforest - and become future environmental champions and EcoLeaders - we’re focusing on helping them learn not only with their heads, but also with their hearts and all their senses.

You can't love something that you don't really know. And to know it is more than reading about it or hearing your teacher talk about it. If you want to get to know the rainforest you need to get out of the classroom and into the forest.  You need to roll up your sleeves, take off your shoes, get your hands in the dirt. Feel the cool air as you step into the forest, place your cheek against the rough bark of a tree or the soft velvety smoothness of the moss. Smell the earth after the rain, and the scents of the flowering trees. Stay quiet and listen to the tiny sounds of the forest – the leaves moving, the sound of the birds and the insects. Lie on your back and look up at the leaves dancing in the breeze. Look and really see the colors and shapes of the leaves and the flowers. Watch a hairy caterpillar or a brightly colored bird. Understand that you yourself are a part of nature.

And once you understand that, you'll be far more interested in learning the whys and wherefores. It seems to be working. You only have to loook at the big smiles on the faces of the kids as they jump out of the school bus or the Iracambi Kombi, run back into the forest and then settle down for a discussion.

With your help we're reaching more Eco Leaders, one child, one parent, one teacher, one visitor at a time. Thank you so much for being a part of such important and exciting work. We couldn't do it without you! 

Rainforest love for a wonderful holiday season, 

Marina and the Eco Leaders  

Links:

Nov 22, 2017

Busy times in the rainforest

Arielle and Fagner in the nursery
Arielle and Fagner in the nursery

Dear friends and donors,

Can you imagine what happened in these past three months? We have lots to tell you: good things and sad things. But mostly good!

We recently joined forces with the network Water People, a group that works with local farmers to spread technology on soil and water conservation. This network is currently operating in sixteen municipalities, and we are delighted to be able to expand our reach and partner with others to save our forests and help protect the water supplies in this important watershed.

Now for a farewell. Our Forests4Water project coordinator Gui is saying goodbye to us so that he can focus all his attention on finishing up his master’s degree. But it’s not really goodbye because, after finishing his degree, he plans to settle in the neighborhood and work with acai and honey and other natural products. We’re delighted that through Iracambi he discovered his passion in life and wish him every success.

His place has been taken by Arielle, who has accompanied him on several plantings, and is eager to continue the good work. As we mentioned in our last letter, our partnership with Brazil Foundation has come to an end, and while we are waiting for funding to come in from the São Paulo stock exchange, things have been tight financially. But we did achieve our goal of donating 5,000 seedlings to 22 local farmers, and, now that the rains have come, we are starting to deliver the seedlings for planting. We are also extending our reach to include a third county: Ervália.  

To keep up with increasing demand we are expanding our nursery with a goal of producing 10,000 seedlings for next year, and our nursery coordinator, Fagner, has doubled his workload. There are now 70 different species in our nursery, so as you can imagine Fagner has his work cut out to keep up!

 A related project which is going strong is our shade coffee plantation; which is designed to show that high quality coffee can be grown without the use of agricultural chemicals. This year we are delighted to report that our coffee achieved a high grade (85%) in terms of quality.  

So, as you can see, there’s been a lot going on down in the rainforest, and we wanted to make sure to keep you up to date. We want to send a big thank you to our donors, especially Oliver, David, Theresa, Elisabeth, Chris and Jonathan  who have supported us faithfully throughout the year of 2017. We couldn’t do it without you, dear donors. You are changing the lives of many families – thank you! 

Look at these beautiful young trees!
Look at these beautiful young trees!
Look at these great new tables!
Look at these great new tables!
Seedling of acai jucara
Seedling of acai jucara

Links:

Oct 23, 2017

Silence in the forest

Discovering nature in a new way
Discovering nature in a new way

Dear donors,

Thanks to you this quarter we were able to bring more children into our Eco Leaders program. Yaay! 

 Our current cohort of Eco Leaders, nine and ten year olds from the local school, was selected by posing them a challenge whereby they were asked to solve an important environmental problem in our region. They were invited to reflect on the challenge, and submit an illustrated text. Those who came up with the most original ideas were asked to join our program.

Students began by walking a forest trail in silence. They were able to see coatis, red headed woodpeckers and even squirrels which are hard to spot in our forests. They used their sense of touch and smell to discover the texture, the scents and the temperature of the forest, to feel the rough bark of the bigger trees, the cold water of the river, and to observe the tiny creatures that live on the forest floor. While listening to the sounds of the forest they made their own sound maps and learned that it’s impossible to be silent in the forest for more than ten seconds without hearing a bird, the sound of the river, or the wind in the trees.

The students learned a lot about the different biomes in Brazil, and found out that the earth under their feet belongs to the biome Atlantic Forest and that they live on the borders of an important State Park called the Serra do Brigadeiro which is constantly under threat from deforestation, fire and mining.

Our Young Eco Leaders still have a long way to travel and many discoveries to make. And it’s only possible because of you. Thank you!

with much love, 

Marina and the Eco Leaders   

Cold water!
Cold water!
rough bark
rough bark
mapping the sounds
mapping the sounds
Looking and seeing
Looking and seeing
Here
Here's where we live!
My solutions!
My solutions!

Links:

 
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