Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon

by Center for Amazon Community Ecology
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Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon

Project Report | Sep 24, 2018
Amazing Volunteers in the Amazon

By Campbell Plowden | Executive Director and Project Leader

Dear friend of the Amazon,

I’d like to thank you very much for your donations to CACE’s project that has provided vital support to our project to empower forest communities in Peru since 2012. In this report, I’d like to tell you a little bit about some people who have supported us through in a different way through our Amazon Field Volunteers program. We created this special program in response to queries from people that usually sound something like this – “I’ve always wanted to visit the Amazon, but I don’t want to go as a tourist. I want to get a first-hand experience of the people who live there and somehow make a positive difference. I’ve checked out a few volunteer and service programs, but they can cost a lot of money to join, and the times they have trips don’t fit the times I can go. I’ve read about your group’s work in Peru and like what you are doing. Is there a way I can help you there?”

Since 2006, I have answered “yes” to this question to ten people who have joined us in the field for one to six weeks. Saying “yes” began with a process of first asking interested people to tell us something about their background, why they want to join us, and what skills they could share that would support our work or the lives of our partners. If it seems like we are a potentially good fit, I go on to explain in great detail what it’s like to work in the field in the Amazon and visit rainforest communities. This includes a full discussion of the risks and realities of insect and snake bites, eating all kinds of food, using gross outhouses, riding in boats of all sizes for many hours, and proper and improper ways to behave with forest people. Volunteers are generally expected to pay all of their own expenses, assume responsibility for their health, and make whatever donation they can to CACE to support our work. They also need to speak at least enough Spanish to communicate directly with our partners at a basic level. While some prospective volunteers seem great on paper, I ultimately have to decide three basic questions before feeling good about inviting someone to join us. 1) Can I see spending almost 24 hours a day with this person for the duration of their time with us in the field? 2) Will this person be able to handle and learn from whatever challenges they face? and 3) Will this person make a substantial contribution to our work or our partners while they are with us or afterwards?

Here are brief stories about the people who have joined us so far.

2006 and 2007: Marissa P. CACE’s first Amazon Field Volunteer was my daughter who joined me for my first two summers in Peru just before and just after her senior year in high school. We lived both times at the field station run by the Peruvian Amazon research institute outside the town of Jenaro Herrera. I spent most of my time going into the forest to conduct research on the ecology and sustainable harvest of copal resin and later began working with a few artisans who lived in town. Marissa was no stranger to the rainforest having lived with our family in a native village in the Brazilian Amazon when she was seven years old, but she found great satisfaction volunteering at the local health clinic in town. Ten years later, she completed a master’s degree in nursing and is now working at a hospital in Chicago. You can read three essays that she wrote about her experiences in Peru on her blog Marissa’s Amazon Memories.

2008: Greg H. Greg joined us just after graduating from Schreyer Honors College at Penn State University where he was studying videography. He brought his skills, professional camera and adventurous spirit with him to Peru where he documented everything we did on tape for six weeks. This included our first visits to the communities along the Ampiyacu and Tahuayo Rivers.  Before and after the trip, he also edited and co-produced several videos on our YouTube AmazonEcology channel. His essay I need this shot recounts one of his fun memories unexpectedly going downriver on a ferry when he was trying to shoot a water buffalo being loaded on board. Since then, Greg has continued to travel around the world making a wide variety of shows about people and the environment.

2009: Natalya S. Natalya was a Penn State student in journalism when she joined us in the summer of 2009. She was an easy volunteer to bring with us since she had previously ridden her bike all the way across Canada and spoke decent Spanish. Natalya focused her service with us interviewing many artisans in the communities where we were just starting our handicraft development program. We’ve incorporated many of her profiles in social media posts, videos and GlobalGiving reports. Check out her essay What it takes to be a journalist. I especially love this passage below.

  “Elvira had introduced me to this silence. I had arrived at her doorstep exhausted from folding and flipping my tongue in mangled Spanish for three hours with the other village artisans. Instead of asking the usual questions, I watched her weave a handbag out of chambira, a local palm tree. Her 16-year-old daughter, Lisbet, watched me, and I watched Elvira, and Elvira watched her hands. We listened to the rain on the thatched roof. By my United States cultural standards, the silence should have been awkward, but it wasn't.”

You can read more pieces by her in: Report from the Field: Natalya’s Log.

2013: Luke P. and Amrit M. Luke is my son and was just finishing high school when he spent the summer with me in Peru along with fellow Quaker Amrit Moore who was studying for a master’s degree in Museum Studies at the     in New Orleans. As we traveled from village to village, Luke first shared a few lessons about climate change and the environment with young students and later found it more fun and satisfying to lead interactive classes in English. Amrit is a talented artist who devoted most of her time to preparing illustrations of the plants that artisans use to weave and dye fibers in their handicrafts. She also gave some artisans a basic lesson in drawing so they could do their own illustrations. Luke came away from the trip with a deep appreciation for the way that forest people pursue their lives with a positive attitude in spite of the harsh environment that can vex new comers to distraction. You can read five essays that Amrit wrote about her experiences in Artist in the Amazon.

2015: Tracy S. As Tracy approached her 34th birthday, she embarked on a remarkable journey to take part in at least 34 acts of service with different non-profit organizations around the world. I feel very fortunate that we were able to host her in Iquitos for several days where she helped us with the mundane but important task of classifying handicrafts and then sent her off to Jenaro Herrera for a week where she worked with our field assistant Italo to help him develop a better graphic way to collect data on resin lumps and the fruiting status of trees. The blog and Facebook page she created to report on her travels called 34tunate has now been converted to the timeless Be4tunate. Tracy epitomizes and has inspired many others to become “giving adventurers.”

2017: Donna and Chris M. Donna is a photographer who spent much of her career analyzing landscape photos taken from government overflights in international cooperative agreements and after retirement started using her skills to take quality pictures of pets seeking adoption at animal shelters. We first connected online via an announcement in VolunteerMatch.org. Two weeks after we met with the modest intention of discussing how she might help us edit some photos of handicrafts, she and her husband Chris arrived in Iquitos to join us for two weeks. During their stint, Donna took great pictures of our visits to several partner communities and trained our Peruvian media guy Tulio how to take great photos of crafts for our online store in a table-top studio. Chris applied his wizardry with equipment to clean and upgrade the grinder and distiller we were using to extract rosewood and copal oil. When they left, we gratefully accepted their gift of a Nikon SLR camera. Donna is now producing a range of lavender oil products and still edits photos for us from time to time.

2018: Alvaro M. and Natusha C. Alvaro is a Spanish graphic designer and visual researcher who contacted us while traveling through South America with his partner performance artist and video production assistant Natusha from Aruba. After numerous exchanges via Facebook Messenger, we met up in Iquitos during my last trip to Peru. Their energy, skills, and the timing was right to invite them to join Robin Van Loon and me on our trip to the Ampiyacu where we delivered hundreds of rosewood tree seedlings to families in Brillo Nuevo and Ancon Colonia. They recorded hours of video and sound of those activities and interviews with our partners which they are now turning into high quality videos to share what it means to these people to receive and care for these trees that connect them to their past and give them opportunities for the future. Stay tuned for links to their work.

Thank you again for your support that makes our work possible. Please contact us if you would like to learn more about the Amazon Field Volunteer program.

Marissa and co-workers at local health clinic
Marissa and co-workers at local health clinic
Greg and video camera in the rain with friends
Greg and video camera in the rain with friends
Natalya chatting with Bora artisan at Brillo Nuevo
Natalya chatting with Bora artisan at Brillo Nuevo
Luke measuring tree seedling with Bora woodsman
Luke measuring tree seedling with Bora woodsman
Amrit drawing with girl from Chino
Amrit drawing with girl from Chino
Thirty4tunate Tracy and Italo
Thirty4tunate Tracy and Italo
Donna with artisan Doris and animal friends
Donna with artisan Doris and animal friends
Chris adjusting shredder with CACE coordinator
Chris adjusting shredder with CACE coordinator

Links:

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Jun 26, 2018
Life along the Ampiyacu River

By Campbell Plowden | Executive Director and Project Leader

Apr 2, 2018
Ampiyacu and Chino artisans learn to make Amazon birds

By Campbell Plowden | Executive Director & Project Leader

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Organization Information

Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Location: Lemoyne, Pennsylvania - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Amazon Ecology
Project Leader:
Campbell Plowden
Dr.
Lemoyne , Pennsylvania United States
$169,979 raised of $200,000 goal
 
1,305 donations
$30,021 to go
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