We hope you are doing well, and can share our joy at the return of our foreign students after nearly twenty months!
As you may remember, our program of students and volunteers welcomes people from across the world to get involved at the intersection between biodiversity conservation and sustainability.
And that basically adds up to two main themes - forest restoration and education for sustainability.
The return of our foreign students coincided with the middle of the rainy season - a great time for working in the nursery and going into the field to roll up their sleeves and plant some trees.
Over these past weeks, we were able to plant on several local farms, always wth the objective of restoring forest cover and protecting springs and streams. Some sites are planted, some are monitored and maintained, and in some cases we replant in the case of losses.
We`re working hard to complete our target of planting 20,000 trees this rainy season, and the rain is really helping us. In fact we`ve had several days when it`s been altogether too wet to plant - the roads turn to mud, the rivers rise, and we have to work in the nursery or in the office instead of planting! But we are super flexible, and heavy rain days give us the opportunity to upload our data and plan out our forestry activities for 2022.
So thank you, thank you for your support. Together we`re restoring the forest - and that benefits everyone!
with much love, and we`ll talk soon,
Luiz and the Iracambi Foresters
Happy New Year to all our wonderful donors and friends across the world!
And may 2022 bring us health, happiness and many new adventures!
And as we sit here in the rainy rainforest, and plan for 2022, we hope you will forgive us if we start with a few reflections and updates on where we have come together, and the amazing things that your support has enabled us to do in 2021.
We´ve expanded our forestry team, which now consists of Luiz, Alfredo, Deivid and Fran as well as eight other members of the local community who lend a hand when required - which is nearly all the time!
We're completing our 2021 goal of planting 20,000 beautiful rainforest trees.
We're expanded the capacity in our forest nursery and are already propagating seedlings for the 2022 planting season - with a goal of planting 35,000 trees.
And the backroom boys and girls have been hard at work maintaining our website, improving data collection for our Geographical Information System, working in communications and fundraising, cataloging our medicinal plants, running education courses, and coordinating our wonderful volunteers who come from far and near to help us fulfill our mission of Saving Forests and Changing Lives.
Thank you, dear donors, from the bottom of our hearts. None of this would have happened without you.
And we can't wait to see what we can do together in 2022!
Have a wonderful New Year, and please look after yourselves,
with rainforest love from
the Iracambi team
Dear wonderful donors!
Before we go any further we want to share with you a message that popped into our mailbox five minutes ago. It’s from one of our new donors, and it really brought a smile to our faces. Here´s what he says.
“Rainforests are hugely important to our global climate, and their protection comes from the people that live amongst them. Increasing ownership, knowledge and awareness of their importance amongst future generations is going to be key to driving the regional & global policy change that will protect them at scale.”
Yess! Right on. We couldn´t agree more. And every aspect of our forestry program emphasizes the importance of protecting the rainforest. Especially when we are working with community members and young apprentices.
So here’s a quick update from the field. Yes, it’s raining and yes we are planting just as fast as we can. But we also wanted to take a moment to update you on progress in the nursery, because we are really happy about how things are shaping up.
Of course, nursery work never ends – and that’s just the way we like it. But we have hit some milestones… First we have completed our Seed House. As you can see it’s a low-tech operation, using bamboo for the walls. It’s a place for storing seeds and working with seed preparation. Already two different team members have expressed an interest in living there - but we had to explain that it’s designed for seeds, not for people!
The other building project involves a barn – a shelter for nursery equipment, vehicles, organic fertilizer, and the like. Just what we needed. And incidentally, no one has yet demanded to live in it. Something to do with having no walls, perhaps?! Plus we have totally reorganized the toolshed. (Check the photo.)
We've also expanded the area used for hardening off the seedlings before they are planted out. And we’ve included our medicinal plants education area in the nursery compound. So we’re going to start 2022 in really good shape – which is just as well since we´ll be completing the planting of the 20,000 seedlings for 2021, AND we´ll be planting another 35, 000.
So this comes with lots of love and appreciation, and please take care of yourselves!
Luiz, Alfredo, Deivid and the Iracambi forestry team
Dear donors, supporters and forest lovers across the world,
We hope you are all holding up in this complicated world, where it seems that covid refuses to let us get on with our lives?
We, too, have had some of personal plans affected, but, nonetheless....
Today we have lots of good news to relate!
First of all and thanks to those of you who were able to donate on the day, we raised over $13000 on Giving Tuesday.
Enough to plant and care for 3662 beautiful rainforest trees.
Or to take us 65% of the way towards the vehicle we so urgently need.
And on the forestry front. First we took delivery of 15000 seedlings. Yes, we have been enlarging the capacity of our forest nursery, but we didn't have enough seedlings ready for planting right now.
And now we do. They took a lot of downloading but they are now safely hardening off ready to be planted out soon.
Seedling delivery is an operation with a lot of moving parts. The truck has to be available. So does the driver. So does a team to load and another team to unload. Much depends on the weather since some of our roads are dirt, and trucks don't like mud. It also depends on the driver having a cell phone signal and remembering to warn us of his arrival. (He didn't.)
But the work never stops. We've been preparing nearly two hectares on a steep slope in Ruben's place. When the trees are planted they will stabilize the soil, regulate the water supply and extend habitat for wildlife.
Another area on Rosana's property is all ready to plant. Her place adjoins Leandro's on one side and Iracambi's Pico da Graminha reserve on the other, forming a forest corridor. We are planting nearly 50 different varieties, one of which, Solanum sp, provides fruits and flowers which are much appreciated by the woolly spider monkey which is one of our keystone species. Although critically endangered, they appear to be flourishing in our area, which is really good news.
So it's all go down here, and we really want to thank you for your amazing support. Together we really are saving the planet!
with love and appreciation from
Luiz and the Iracambi foresters
I hope that you are all staying well and, for those of you in the US, getting ready for Thanksgiving?
And may we just remind you that after Thanksgiving, comes Black Friday, Cyber Monday and then… Giving Tuesday!
And this year, it's going to be amazing because.....
GlobalGiving has $1,000,000 in matching funds. So please kick in a donation if you possibly can, and encourage your friends, relatives and work colleagues to join you!
Just post the project link on your social media, and be sure to tell them that, thanks to the matching funds, their donations will go even further.
So now for a quick update on the planting. It’s been raining steadily and, as you know, that´s great for planting.
We’ve finally finished planting on Bruno´s place, and we were delighted to discover that there are some areas on his property that are already in the process of regeneration. In these cases, all we need to do is enrichment planting with key species that will attract pollinators, speed up the process of forest growth and increase the rate of biodiversity. And it underlines the fact that forests really want to be forests, and that with the right care, and so long as they haven´t been paved over, they recover!
After finishing on Bruno's land, we started work on Luiz’ place, where we planted seedlings from our own forest nursery as well as others from one of the community forest nurseries. At the same time, some of our team worked on a neighboring property that is particularly steep and difficult of access. There´s no way that any of our vehicles can make it up there, so the seedlings have to be carried in beer crates. Happily, with cloud cover, if not actual heavy rain, it isn’t too hot, although it can be muddy. And it’s great exercise!
It’s rewarding work, but we can´t pretend it isn´t hard, and we are always delighted to have help from wherever it comes. We hire planting teams from the local community, and they are joined by volunteers who come to us from different parts of Brazil. These volunteers are usually biologists or scientists of some sort, and often they join us after enrolling in our environmental leaders course. And they love it! We frequently hear them say how excited they are to be out of the classroom and into the field, getting dirt under their fingernails.
We are so lucky to have them! And, in the meantime the nursery expansion is going really well, New seedling tables are in place, the seedling shed is complete, and we are building a barn.
Thankyou so much dear donors, for your support, have a great Thanksgiving and when Giving Tuesday rolls around, please don't forget Forests4Water!
With love and appreciation from
Luiz and Alfredo
PS Did we mention that one of the things we are urgently raising money for is a really sturdy vehicle? You can see how much time and sweat that would save!
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