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1000 trees a year 1000 acres of rainforest forever

by Camino Verde
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1000 trees a year 1000 acres of rainforest forever
1000 trees a year 1000 acres of rainforest forever
1000 trees a year 1000 acres of rainforest forever
1000 trees a year 1000 acres of rainforest forever
1000 trees a year 1000 acres of rainforest forever
1000 trees a year 1000 acres of rainforest forever
1000 trees a year 1000 acres of rainforest forever
1000 trees a year 1000 acres of rainforest forever
1000 trees a year 1000 acres of rainforest forever
1000 trees a year 1000 acres of rainforest forever
1000 trees a year 1000 acres of rainforest forever
1000 trees a year 1000 acres of rainforest forever
1000 trees a year 1000 acres of rainforest forever
1000 trees a year 1000 acres of rainforest forever
1000 trees a year 1000 acres of rainforest forever
1000 trees a year 1000 acres of rainforest forever
1000 trees a year 1000 acres of rainforest forever
1000 trees a year 1000 acres of rainforest forever
1000 trees a year 1000 acres of rainforest forever
1000 trees a year 1000 acres of rainforest forever
1000 trees a year 1000 acres of rainforest forever
1000 trees a year 1000 acres of rainforest forever
1000 trees a year 1000 acres of rainforest forever
1000 trees a year 1000 acres of rainforest forever
1000 trees a year 1000 acres of rainforest forever
1000 trees a year 1000 acres of rainforest forever
1000 trees a year 1000 acres of rainforest forever
1000 trees a year 1000 acres of rainforest forever
1000 trees a year 1000 acres of rainforest forever
A newborn tree seedling from our nursery in Peru.
A newborn tree seedling from our nursery in Peru.

Dear Friends,

It’s been six months since our last missive.  This has been a period of tremendous growth and opportunity for Camino Verde, and I’m happy to finally catch my breath and share with you some of what’s been going on with us in the Peruvian Amazon and beyond.  Let’s catch up.

We’re raising the bar on tree planting. Those of you who have kept up on our Missives know that we’ve maintained a pace of planting one or two thousand trees a year at our reforestation center in Tambopata.  Not to mention many others planted with small farmers and native communities elsewhere.  We’ve learned from these experiences, and we’re ready to do more. With our new partner, solar provider Viridian Energy we’ll be planting over 3000 trees in January 2016, in addition to the couple thousand trees we already have lined up for the end of 2015.

…And raised it again.  A generous pledge for 2016 means we’ll be able to hit an amazing first time milestone - 10,000 trees planted in a year! For now, suffice to say that the number of trees isn’t the only awesome thing about next year’s campaign. I can’t wait to share with you more about this incredible opportunity in future missives. A teaser preview? Let’s just say it involves rising to our region’s greatest challenge: planting trees in some of the most degraded areas in all of the Amazon.

10,000 trees celebrating our 10th year of reforestation work in Tambopata!

And, we’re keeping more forest alive.  
I’m proud to announce the creation of the Sherblom Family Forest, an additional 40 acres of primary rainforest that we will protect in perpetuity.  Many thanks to the Sherblom family for helping prevent the deforestation of this virgin area’s incredible trees. We only regret not acting in time to avoid the felling of a 7 foot diameter giant kapok tree, whose destruction may somehow be redeemed as the inspiration for keeping this area wild.

It’s time – sharing our experiences to inspire more reforestation.  The proof is in the pudding. For the first time ever we’re measuring every single one of the thousands of trees planted at our reforestation center.  With over 300 Amazonian species planted, this unique body of knowledge will grow annually along with the trees themselves and provide reliable data to demonstrate the viability of planting trees that nobody is planting.  Biodiversity preservation… in action!  The research is being carried out alongside thesis students from our local university UNAMAD, with participation from respected Lima universities La Agraria and Cayetano Heredia and the Peruvian Amazon Research Institute (IIAP)

More Camino Verde news at a glance (or, There will be bullet points):

•Our consultation branch continues to grow.  Many of you asked, and I’m happy to share that it’s now confirmed that we’ll be back in Uganda before the end of the year, working with our allies at Wild Forests and Fauna and Mon Ma Ryek (Wise Women of Uganda) to establish a tree nursery with capacity to provide an astonishing 100,000 native tree seedlings a year.  (Did I mention we’re raising the bar on tree planting?)  We’re currently seeking partners interested in collaborating with us to develop the carbon offset potential for this work.  Know anyone trying to “buy” a few tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere? Drop us a line.

Did somebody say rosewood? In February 2016 we’ll be back in Brillo Nuevo, the native community that’s home to 500 Brazilian rosewood trees, with the intention of doing our first ever distillation of essential oil from these trees, planted with and cared for by our native Bora allies.  Our search for more rosewood seeds continues— and this year we’ll continue experimentation with vegetative propagation, to help bring back this IUCN Red List endangered species. 

And rosewood’s cousins?  We’re currently distilling several liters a month of essential oil from one of our flagship trees – Moena alcanforada – a close relative of rosewood.  We are the only producers of this essential oil in the world!  Many thanks to our first round partners in demonstrating the oil’s value, from the fragrance alchemy of L’oeil du Vert to the aromatherapy expertise of Wisdom of the Earth and now, Floracopeia.  Securing a market for this oil means we can plant more of these trees.  We’re starting next year with an additional 1000 of them on the farms of two of our longtime farmer allies in Tambopata. A better income from planting trees than from cutting them down— that’s our goal in a nutshell.

GlobalGiving’s Sustainable Development Goals.  In celebration of the launch of the new Sustainable Development Goals at UN Week, GlobalGiving is highlighting three projects working to achieve each new goal. They’re featuring our Carbon Footprints project because we’re one of their highest-ranked partners that’s committed to learning and effectiveness.  This will mean more exposure for our organization to a broader network individual, corporate, and institutional supporters looking for a meaningful way to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals. Find out more here

A growing family.  You may be scratching your head as to how all this growth has come about. The answer is our amazing team.  I can’t tell you how grateful I am to be working with the inspired, inspiring crew that is the la familia de Camino Verde.  And we’re growing, welcoming new staff, interns and allies into our midst.  

Now, I know you’ve heard this before, but the other key member of our team is you. People are often amazed to hear that our number one source of funding is the individual donors who believe in our cause. We truly couldn’t do any of this without your support.

Thank you so much for contributing.  

It’s Amazonian springtime, and the blossoms are outrageous. Kaleidoscopic parrots feast on fiery Erythrina flowers, themselves looking like exotic birds.  The deciduous trees of the rainforest are dropping their leaves or barely budding out once again, adorned with what looks like yellow foam here or purple gauze there, made of thousands of tiny blooming trumpets.  The night is a tapestry of voices and stars.  That’s what I mean when I say, greetings from the Amazon.  Thanks for helping to keep alive this place that I love so much.

Gratefully,

Nurseryman Manuel Huinga
Nurseryman Manuel Huinga
Research maestra Olivia Revilla
Research maestra Olivia Revilla
Piher Maceda, tree whisperer.
Piher Maceda, tree whisperer.
Registering each species in the nursery
Registering each species in the nursery
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Camino Verde team members by the Tambopata River
Camino Verde team members by the Tambopata River

Dear friends,

I don't usually like to sound the drums for fundraising events-- it's always a little intrusive, and I apologize if I'm committing a similar annoyance now.  What I want to share is a most unique opportunity to make your support of Camino Verde and our Amazonian reforestation work count extra.  This Wednesday, July 15, all donations to Camino Verde through GlobalGiving will be matched! 

The link is right here: 

http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/cv-1000-trees-a-year-1000-acres-of-rainforest-forever/

We've worked with GlobalGiving for 5 years now, and since we're a Superstar Organization in their book they're offering 50% matching funds for all donations received while matching funds last.  Please consider taking advantage of this rare chance to make your donation count more!  If you give once this year, please make it the morning of July 15.  

Help us become a Frontrunner on GlobalGiving to earn extra visibility and prize funds.

Thanks so much for your support.  Read on to find out more about what we're doing now.  And don't forget to join us on Wednesday, July 15th on GlobalGiving.
Recent News
1. Camino Verde research team -- For 8 years, Camino Verde has planted trees that no one else has.  And now our unique experiences in Amazonian reforestation will be documented as never before-- with the help of experience scientists and local students.  Starting this year, expect to see Camino Verde in research journals and practical manuals.  
2. The CV/CACE connection -- For those of you have followed our work closely, you know of how we reforested rosewood trees with the good folks of Brillo Nuevo native community and the Center for Amazon Community Ecology (CACE).  Now CACE and CV are working closely together to share some of the unique gifts of deep Amazonia.  CACE's upcoming Amazon Store will pioneer the way for socially-responsible direct trade, funneling profits towards ecologically sustainable best practices that truly align with community goals.  A highfalutin way of saying helping farmers in the Amazon make a living by planting trees.  We're excited to soon offer a few little products of the Camino Verde reforestation at the Amazon Store.  We'll keep you posted.
3. The CV/Uganda connection -- Many of you asked, and yes, Camino Verde consultation work in Uganda appears to be on track to continue in coming years.  We're grateful to be able to help the effort to plant trees in this remarkable country.  Don't be surprised if you see a Camino Verde / Wise Women of Uganda project up on GlobalGiving soon.
For more frequent updates, check us out on facebook.
Thanks again for your interest and support.  Kind regards from Tambopata,
Camino Verde research team advisors
Camino Verde research team advisors
Blooms of the rainforest
Blooms of the rainforest
Tambopata frog
Tambopata frog
Bark of one of our many trees
Bark of one of our many trees
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Wise Women of Uganda - traditional healers' co-op
Wise Women of Uganda - traditional healers' co-op

Dear Friends,

I recently had the great fortune to visit and work in Uganda, a place with a powerful sense of identity— and a very different landscape and climate from our project site in the Peruvian Amazon.  What brought me there was the opportunity to share some of our tools for participatory conservation in a totally different context.  An important outcome of the trip was the creation of a community reforestation project with a particularly compelling backstory.  

But first, you may be wondering what Uganda has to do with the Amazon?  Doesn’t Camino Verde plant trees in Peru?  The answer is that this trip represents the first gig for Camino Verde Consulting (CVC), a new branch of the organization that is just one of the ways that we reach out to other communities and share our strategies on a broader platform.  Successful reforestation projects are few, and CVC is one avenue to replicate the successes we’ve had in new and different contexts.

And different is right.  Though both Peru and Uganda regularly top lists of biodiverse countries, climate and landscape of Northern Uganda is a a far cry from the Amazon rainforest.  Dry is the word that comes to mind.  Remarkable native tree populations have been greatly compromised by pressure for firewood for cooking, and the overlap among ecological, cultural, and economic factors is evident.  A perfect opportunity to test Camino Verde’s toolkit.

And let’s talk more about that cultural component I just mentioned.  The recent history of Northern Uganda is like few places in the world— the region has enjoyed the past few short years of peace after almost half a century of ongoing conflict.  The last twenty years of that war-torn period were characterized as one of the world’s most pressing humanitarian crises— over 1 million people displaced to camps, an estimated 60,000 children abducted for enforced conscription and enslavement.

Extraordinary to me was the profoundly optimistic and nearly universal perspective that it’s time to put the conflict behind us and build a better future, starting today.  And few people were more articulate in this perspective than the Mon Ma Ryek, the “Wise Women of Uganda,” a community-based organization of women traditional healers with whom I had the honor to work.  Think shamans, medicine women.  And then turn your wow factor up by ten notches.  These women are cultural knowledge keepers who have shown astonishing resilience in the face of decades of scapegoating and persecution by violent rebel groups and government alike.  And now we’re going to be planting some trees together.  

One of the key outcomes of the trip (which was part of an ongoing initiative of US-based organization Wild Forests and Fauna, of whose team I’m a part for this project) was the development of a reforestation action plan and a native trees nursery to generate seedlings for the Wise Women to plant.  We’re starting out with 15 key conservation target tree species and researching ways to include a non-timber forest product component— African essential oils anyone?  The first round of species are multipurpose trees facing over-exploitation for use as charcoal or fuelwood but that are also important medicines.  

I’ll be sure to follow up in the future with more news from Uganda.  In the meantime, heartfelt thanks to the whole WFF family and trip team who brought so much heart and expertise to the project.  It's an honor to be a part of this work.

And back in the Peruvian Amazon…

…Amazing things are happening.  Here are the first quarter milestones:

•1200 trees planted representing over 30 species as part of our Living Seed Bank, which was recently featured in Rodale’s Organic Life.

•Camino Verde field research team Manuel Huinga and Piero Maceda spent January through March documenting and gathering seeds of important, rare Amazonian trees.  Six thousand seedlings sit in our nursery now, growing to be planted out next rainy season.

•Forestry engineer thesis candidate Olivia Revilla has begun the labor of love of documenting the trees of Camino Verde— all the trees planted here in the last 9 years.  Her ongoing long-term data collection of our reforestation center will provide a unique body of information from our 280 tree species on farm: over 15,000 individual trees.  

•In parallel with our bio-regional partners in the northern and central Peruvian Amazon, Camino Verde has planted an “oil polyculture agroforestry system.”  This ecologically sound answer to the disastrous oil palm monocultures impacting tropical forests around the world focuses on native species and helps prove that ecological agriculture is ultimately more economically attractive to farmers that plantation serfdom and forest degradation.  Thanks to the New England Biolabs Foundation for their generous support of this initiative.

It’s always a pleasure to share with you about what’s going on with Camino Verde, and there’s always more going on than I can mention in these brief missives.  Please follow us on Facebook or reply to this email and request to subscribe to our Bulletin, which provides more detailed information on Camino Verde program work for our board and advisory council.  

Thank you, and kind regards from Tambopata,

Seeds of native trees of Northern Uganda
Seeds of native trees of Northern Uganda
Julian Moll-Rocek with an African mahogany
Julian Moll-Rocek with an African mahogany
WWU march
WWU march
WWU herbal workshop
WWU herbal workshop
Camino Verde seed experts Manuel and Piero
Camino Verde seed experts Manuel and Piero
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Distilling essential oil in Tambopata, Peru
Distilling essential oil in Tambopata, Peru

Recently I read that here in the Peruvian Amazon, an illegal thousand-hectare oil palm plantation was detected in satellite images.  (You can read the article here.) Oil palm plantations mean deforestation and tremendous biodiversity loss in many areas of southeast Asia, and the news of their arrival to Peru is a scary omen.  Alarmingly, it's estimated that in Peru over 13,000 hectares of rainforest have been leveled for oil palm so far.  

Grappling with problems of this magnitude can feel hopeless, and I've seen many activist friends grow embittered through years of "tenuous, temporary victories and permanent defeats" (as one of them described the environmentalist's predicament).  Especially at a time of year when we've recently honored the power of gratitude, it feels important to focus not on what's wrong, but rather on the possibility of doing something about it.

But back to the oil palm plantation nightmare.  With the brainstorming energy of several allies, and in keeping with the permaculture maxim that the problem is the solution, we sought out an alternative vision to the oil palm monoculture; the result is what we've been calling an oil polyculture.  Think of a forest rather than a plantation-- native trees that branch out to meet ecological goals as well as diverse and reliable productivity in order to provide decent livelihood for the human caretakers of the system-- in this case, farmers rather than plantation hands.  

The oil polyculture we envision includes over 20 species of trees providing a diverse range of edible, medicinal, and aromatic oils.  Remember rosewood?  Think of those richly perfumed trees interplanted with cacao, native palms, brazil nuts, and more.  The seedlings that make up the first 2-hectare oil polyculture demonstration site are literally on the boat right now on their way to our reforestation center.  We are celebrating the holidays and the coming of our rainy season by planting over 2500 trees in the next two months.  This first model plot will pave the way to planting the oil polyculture with participating farmers in coming years.  Can you tell I'm excited?

This is a time of great productivity and growth-- and is also a time when organizations like ours receive the great majority of our funding.  It's my pleasure to share some of our many advances and to reach out to our supporters and friends to ask that you include us in your holiday giving this year.  Plant a tree (or ten) in honor of a loved one and help us keep the Peruvian Amazon diverse and resilient. 

And now, for a limited time, donate $30 or more and get a Camino Verde t-shirt, or donate $50 to receive a dram of our completely unique Amazonian essential oil of moena alcanforada, distilled on site at our reforestation center-- the only source in the world of this essential oil. 

Thank you for helping us grow!  Warm greetings from Tambopata,

Fruits of sinamillo, Oenocarpus mapora
Fruits of sinamillo, Oenocarpus mapora
Essential oil from the Amazon
Essential oil from the Amazon
Vanilla in flower
Vanilla in flower
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Our team in Tambopata, Peru
Our team in Tambopata, Peru

Dear friends,

I'm often reminded of the many reasons I have to be grateful for the support Camino Verde receives from you, our donors.  Just today I was reflecting on the fact that our team planting trees in the Peruvian Amazon is the strongest it's ever been-- the folks in that first photo you see there are a crack squad of reforesters.  The working relationships we build are more than just a checklist for basic ethics-- yes, we provide wages and benefits that are far beyond the average in our region of Peru, hire women as well as men, and are one of the few operations in our area providing jobs in rainforest regeneration, rather than rainforest destruction.  But even more meaningfully, we are a team, a family, a group that shares a common vision.  And-- I say with tongue in cheek-- we finally have a uniform.  

For the first time ever, donate $30 or more and receive a Peruvian made Camino Verde t-shirt of 100% pima cotton-- an ancient Peruvian heirloom variety.  (And yes, heeding the advice of a team that's half female means that the women's shirts are cut differently than the men's!)  

As the title of this report suggests, the tree you wear on your chest is a tree we've planted together.  That's right: for every t-shirt we give out to a donor, we'll be planting a tree in the Peruvian Amazon.  

Which brings me to our most exciting bit of news: planting season is on its way!  Here's a quickshot series of bullet points to let you know some of the other exciting things we've got going on:

  • This year, we'll be installing agroforestry systems (read as "planting trees") including an Amazonian oil polyculture as a response to big ag plans for oil palm monocultures where once the world's most diverse ecosystem stood.  
  • We're also doing the groundwork for a study on analogue forestry systems for our region. Analog forestry is a scientifically rigurous agroforestry strategy we're pursuing with our partners at ArBio Peru. 
  • Thesis students at our nearest university, UNAMAD, in Puerto Maldonado, will begin research on the carbon sequestration rates for various species we've planted at our site.
  • Our essential oil-producing hardwood trees are growing better than ever.  Rosewood, moena alcanforada, Amazonian cinnamon and others are hitting their growth stride.  One species is already providing meaningful quantities of essential oil.  This year, we'll be planting another couple of aromatic species, hundreds of trees per species.
  • And more planting of endangered Amazonian trees! 280 species, 17,000 individual trees and counting.

Though there is no end in sight for our planting of trees, t-shirt supplies are limited.  Donate today!  We're so very glad to have you on our team.

Warm greetings from Tambopata,

Friends of Camino Verde
Friends of Camino Verde
CV volunteer
CV volunteer
Camino Verde staffer don Juan and son
Camino Verde staffer don Juan and son
Springtime in Tambopata
Springtime in Tambopata
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Organization Information

Camino Verde

Location: Concord, MA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Robin Van Loon
Concord, MA United States
$117,413 raised of $125,000 goal
 
1,690 donations
$7,587 to go
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