Hello Dear Friends of Forest for Water!
Three more months have passed since our last report. Time flies when you're having a good time and working really hard! So it's time to let you guys know what's going on our growing forest.
At the end of last year, we invited the new agriculture secretary of Muriaé, to know our community reforestation program. Together, we visited one of our model farmers, Dona Lurdinha. You have probably seen some of her pictures receiving seedlings or checking her organic gardening previously.
He was impressed with Lurdinha 's family amazing job of recovering their springs, and transforming a once degraded dry land into a ranch full of life: trees, birds, gardening, coffee and even fish farming (the lady had no water in her property).
Robin and I explained that her farm was a model, and that when we got there, most of the hard work had already been done - we merely donated and helped her plant at least 500 trees. Lurdinha is a perfect example that investing in nature pays back, and when it does, it pays double.
The most important outcome of our meeting was that the municipality knows who we are, what we do, and they are now looking forward to a partnership. We explained that reforestation works perfectly, but in the long term context - people need water right now. One of his campaign promises was that Belisário would have its own machinery to build levels, ponds and other water reservoirs on people's property at no cost. We are familiar with many good people and families that need this assistance- by working together, we can help him carry out his promises.
In addition to this good news, Muriaé is also launching a PES (Payment for Environmental Services) program focusing on water. Though they will only pay small monthly sums, the municipality has already selected 18 farmers that will receive monthly incentives to preserve their springs; that means more people will be willing to take good care of their water and plant trees!
Besides politics and partnerships, we have concluded all the planting efforts. We surpassed our "20 families goal" - Forest 4 Water worked with 22 families in 2016 and only due to the lack of rain throughout the month January were we unable to achieve our goal of planting 5000 seedlings. However, we delivered a bit more than 4600. Now, we are busy visiting many local enthusiastic farmers and preparing the list for this year's planting.
A gigantic thank you for those who believe that if you plant trees, you'll harvest healthy ecosystem services.
From Gui, Fagner, Arielle, Robin, Binka, Toni, Lurdinha and a ever growing family of Forest 4 Water Supporters
Hello, dear friends of Forest4Water!
Everything is running smoothly here on our side of the mountains.
We have a whole lot to share and even more to be grateful for - where should we begin?
Let’s begin with the rain J
Summer rains have finally come! With them, our intense reforestation work has begun. Time has been a priceless ally; right after we’d finished preparing all the reforestation plots the first drops started falling from the sky. In the past three weeks, we’ve delivered 2500 tree seedlings to 12 different rural properties. We are more than half way through meeting our main goal of reforesting 20 different plots by the end of December. As our tree nursery keeps expanding and curious rural farmers wish to follow the good steps of theirs neighbors, we’ll easily meet our second goal of 2016: donating a minimum of 5000 tree seedlings to at least 25 different rural families.
As if these were not enough good news already, our Forest4Water Project was approved for a partnership with BVSA (Bolsa de Valores Sócio-Ambiental)! This means our initiative has guaranteed one more year of activities. In addition, in 2017, we will have the chance to work with more families and plant more trees in the buffer zone of Serra do Brigadeiro State Park: home of good people, pumas and the great Wooly Spider Monkey.
Once again, we’d like to express our gratitude to all our dear friends, donors and supporters who make our dreams come true day after day. Together we are helping to protect the water, the people and Atlantic Forest’s endangered biodiversity. Not bad at all, right? ;)
Lots of work to do and trees to plant, so let the pictures speak!
Gui, Fagner, Toni, Arielle, Luiz, Binka and all ReforesTeam!
Hello, dear friends of Forest 4 Water!
Expectations are high for this year's reforestation, and we've been working hard on the preparations to make sure we are ready when the time comes. It's time for the news!
On last Friday, Project Coordinator Gui invited all Iracambi staff members for a meeting where he presented this year's family farmers, the strategies adopted in each property and proposed a logistic planning to make things happen. It might surprise you, dear reader, but reforestation is not only about riding motorcycles through idyllic scenarios and loosing the count of how many cups of coffee you've taken with different family farmers - though we must admit these things are an important part of the process around here. Reforestation demands a lot of hard work, team effort and a good deal of planning.
Nobody really nows when the rain season will start, especially during these Climate Change times we are living. If rain season is unpredictable, so is our planting season. Planting trees is like running against time. Baby trees must take advantage of the seasonal humidity in order to survive the most stressful moment of their lives: leaving our cozy nursery and adapting to the real world. For this reason, we must have a solid ReforesTeam prepared to take action at the first drop of water, and their work must be fast and efficient. We are beginning the reforestation plot preparation next weekend, so when the rain comes every seedling will have a place on the ground to call their own. It will save decisive time and energy of our ReforesTeam. In the last tree count at our nursery, we had more than 6000 seedlings, which will be planted in 25 properties in two different municipalities.
This year, besides planting seedlings, we shall also test different recovering techniques such as inoculating Efficient Microorganisms (EM) collected in the forest in all seedlings, spreading bromelias - famous to be natural water tanks - on the reforestation plots and also using fast growth stem cuttings to protect slower growth native trees - all cheap techniques already familiar to our local family farmers. We are all happy and excited for the chance to partner with the local community in finding a respecful way to preserve Forest and Water.
In this decisive moment we must, once again, ask for your kind generosity. We still lack the resources to hire two extra staff member for our ReforesTeam. After all, we will need all the help we can get and creating job oportunities during the planting season is an important way of valuing people from the local community, the true guardians of both Forests and Water!
With our best forest Regards,
Gui, Fagner, Toni, Arielle, Luiz, Binka, Robin and all "Forest 4 Water" ReforesTeam
Hello, dear friends and supporters,
Half a year far from the rain season and reforestation efforts, we have amazing news to share.
First, we've been choosen (among more than 1500 other initiatives in Brazil) for a partnership with "Brazil Foundation", which will support our reforestation program for 12 months. Though the grant is not enough to cover all expenses, it shall be sufficient to guarantee 20 plantings at the end of the year. All the family farmers have been selected already, mainly based on their urgency, and their seedlings are vigorously growing in our tree nursery while you read this report.
Furthermore, last week, our friends from the Franciscan Association of Belisario told us that our project for building sustainable sceptic tanks in rural communities next to the State Park Serra do Brigadeiro had been aproved for a church's grant. It will be a great chance to improve the life quality of rural communities living by the park's mountain range, protect their water and biodiversity resources and also work with strategic local communities.
As you can see, we ve been keeping our hands busy, working hard with the surrounding communities to make sure we have the maximum positive impact with the resources available. Still, none of this would be real without the support of our friends and collaborators from GlobalGiving, our first succesfull partnership. It was your donation that initiated our "Forest $ Water" project when all we had was a problem with our springs drying up and a 1983 motorbike.
We invite you to celebrate our acomplishments with us!
March has just begun, but here at Iracambi, we are already celebrating the successes of our reforestation program!
In the past two months, we have been able to connect with 28 farming families interested in rehabilitating their springs through the process of reforestation. Of these, we have chosen to collaborate with 12 families based on the urgency of their land/water/situation. By the end of the month, we plan to establish partnerships with a total of 17 families located throughout eight rural communities and two municipalities of Serra do Brigadeiro. This more than doubles the reforestations we had in 2015. By 2017, we want to expand to reach out to all families willing to participate in our initiative.
February’s non-stop rainfall came as a surprise to all of us. We worked hard to replant seedlings which survived the transition from the forest nursery and fended off hungry ants in the field. Within the month, we hosted two reforestation efforts and for the first time in 16 years, we made sure there were no spare seedlings left in Iracambi’s forest nursery.
So, supporters – what does Iracambi want?
First off, we must thank all of you whom have generously helped us reach our goals. We owe everything to the international donors who provide resources for our seedlings and gas in our tanks.
Secondly, we would like to tell you that our project has been creating a much bigger impact than we expected. Reforestation is an important step – but it is only one of many that needs to be taken in order to ensure the people of Serra do Brigadeiro have access to clean water and have nature as a partner who brings both income and life quality. This demands simple items such as environmental friendly septic tanks and rainfall storage systems as well as more complex, structural changes towards organic farming, community planning and increased environmental education. The community connections and data collection made through the reforestation project have been essential in transitioning ideas from abstract possibilities to attainable goals, both for Iracambi and other agents of our community (schools, church, local authorities).
For all these reasons, our sincere thank you from all the people whose lives Forest4Water has somehow improved,
Gui, Toni, Fagner, Binka, Arielle
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