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Planting 1000 trees, Saving 100 acres

by Camino Verde
Planting 1000 trees, Saving 100 acres
Planting 1000 trees, Saving 100 acres
Planting 1000 trees, Saving 100 acres
Planting 1000 trees, Saving 100 acres
Planting 1000 trees, Saving 100 acres
Planting 1000 trees, Saving 100 acres
Planting 1000 trees, Saving 100 acres
Planting 1000 trees, Saving 100 acres
Planting 1000 trees, Saving 100 acres
Planting 1000 trees, Saving 100 acres
Planting 1000 trees, Saving 100 acres
Planting 1000 trees, Saving 100 acres
Planting 1000 trees, Saving 100 acres
Planting 1000 trees, Saving 100 acres

Dear Friends,

Our project's humble title is "Planting 1000 trees, Saving 100 acres." But if you've been keeping up with us on GlobalGiving or facebook or on, then you probably know that we've far exceeded the numbers in our original project name.  We've planted over 1000 trees per year and been able to purchase around 180 acres of rainforest in the Peruvian Amazon.

Now we're getting ready for one of the most exciting times of year, one of my favorite seasons.  That's right, it's time for tree planting! With the beginning of the rainy season in November, we start getting our green allies out into the ground so they'll take advantage of the next four months' rains to get well established.  Our plant nursery goes from a crowded city of tree seedlings to an abandoned lot.  And then we do it all over again.

This year, we're planting some really exciting, extraordinary trees.  Among them are several of the aromatic trees related to rosewood that we've mentioned in past project reports.  Our nursery clearing means that we're planting around 20 species of trees. Over 2000 trees total.

This year, we're calling upon our volunteer allies from Carpe Diem Education to help us get the trees in the ground. And we hope that you'll support us at this important time of year. Your donation will help get these trees planted-- and acquire seeds to restock our nursery for next year!

And now your support counts more than ever-- we are less than $5,000 away from reaching our project funding goal. With your support, we're hoping to meet or exceed our total fundraising goal for this project by the end of the year! (And, coming soon... your small donation ($25 or more) will get you an Amazon-crafted holiday ornament. Stay tuned for more details.)

Warm greetings from the Peruvian Amazon!

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Dear friends,
The last 18 months have seen unprecedented growth for Camino Verde's work planting trees and protecting pristine Amazonian forests.  Among other developments, we’ve bought 55 more acres of rainforest to protect (in addition to the 100 acres you helped us secure last year!), planted 5000 trees, and completed 1500 square feet of new buildings to lodge our staff and frequent visitors.  

All this good work positions us well for the future, and we're looking for your help to keep our programs going strong through the end of 2013.  It's our goal this month to raise the remaining $7,711 in our Planting 1000 trees, Saving 100 acres project.  With your support, we'll be able to complete our fundraising through GlobalGiving with a bang (helping to keep Camino Verde ranked a Superstar organization on GG!).

I deeply appreciate any contribution you’re able to make.  (You can donate at )

Here are just a few of the program improvements you've helped us accomplish in 2012 and 2013:

-Completed our 2500 seedling tree nursery, with a well and water tower to keep our little friends growing strong.

-With help from two grants, purchased production-scale essential oil distillation equipment to create aromatic essential oils from endangered jungle hardwoods like rosewood and many others.  We are targeting this project to be an income producer within a year. 

-Created a network of monitoring trails to ensure no poachers or loggers enter the thousand acre preserve we protect.  (And now we’ve installed a motion sensor camera to take images of some of the amazing fauna!)

Thanks so much for your support of Camino Verde, now and always.  Together, we’re taking great strides to keep the Amazon green.

Warm regards,

Robin Van Loon

Executive Director, Camino Verde

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Greetings from Tambopata!  It’s been a while since I’ve had the chance to share the latest from Camino Verde.  And as always, I’ll be happy to provide an update.  But our Missives are so often about what we’re doing that I know many of you may be wondering who it is that’s actually making it happen.  So after a quick summary of what we’ve got going on, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to our team, the Camino Verde family.

We’re always grateful for your support, and now more than ever.  Your donation keeps our unique grassroots programs thriving and provides meaningful, fair employment to the folks I’ll introduce you to in a moment.  But first, a word about our work.

Update at a glance

1. The numbers are in.  The early 2013 season was our most intensive tree planting campaign ever.  We put close to 3000 trees in the ground in the first four months of the year, representing 25 vital and endangered species.

2. A new look.  Our infrastructure overhaul was a wild success.  Construction was completed in May on our new lodgings for staff, visitors, and volunteers.  If you haven’t checked it out already, take a look at the photo album here.

3. The Rosewood story continues.  Our brand new essential oil distillation equipment has landed in Lima and is being shipped to our Tambopata home as we speak.  Special thanks to Gary from Heart Magic Distillers for giving us such wonderful service to go along with his excellent equipment.

4. Camino veggies?  This year we’re stepping up our on-site production of vegetables, to eat healthy and share seeds with our neighbors.  We’re proud to report that our permaculture-style mulch gardens will focus on rare Amazonian tubers and greens, helping to preserve many crops that are closer to being lost each year.  It’s not just about the trees any more!

Meet the team

None of this would be possible if it weren’t for the folks I’m about to introduce.  The Camino Verde team is a group that loves the forests and farms of Tambopata and is working hard to preserve the region’s wonders.  It’s my honor to call them colleagues and friends.  And it’s my pleasure to present them now.  (In alphabetical order by last name…)

Born and raised in Puerto Pardo at the mouth of the Heath River on the Peru-Bolivia border, Livia Amurús (or “doña Kika”) joined Camino Verde just two months ago.  And we’ve been enjoying her cheerful sparkle and amazing cooking ever since.  After living in Santa Cruz, Bolivia for over 20 years, doña Kika returned to her native Madre de Dios eight years ago.  Here at Camino Verde, she provides the whole team with delicious meals and helps manage our vegetable gardens.

Though not a part of our permanent staff, Carlos Arimuyais a the friend and neighbor who built our new and improved lodgings.  A long time ally and native of the community of Baltimori, we’re sure to work with Carlos again in the future. 

Miguel Cardicel was born and raised in Puerto Maldonado, the capital of Madre de Dios.  Our longest running employee, don Miguel has worked as a fisherman, a lumberjack, a farmer, and a rubber tapper.  He is the grounds manager at our reforestation center and for over two years has been helping us keep the trees ahead of the weeds.


For the next three months, Sam Goodman is our intern here at Camino Verde.  After studying political science at Oberlin, Sam moved to Lambayeque, Peru for two years with the Peace Corps.  Currently in a joint program at American University in Washington DC and the UN-chartered University of Peace in Costa Rica, Sam is working on his masters in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development, focusing on how Camino Verde’s work helps mitigate the environmental impact of the Interoceanic Highway.  (You can read his excellent first paper on the Highway here.)


Manuel Huinga comes from a long line of Tambopata Huingas.  Born and raised on his grandfather’s farm on the Tambopata River, Manuel learned a love for the region’s flora and fauna at an early age.  Currently an Environmental & Forestry Engineering student at UNAMAD, Puerto Maldonado’s university, Manuel has worked at a tree nursery for the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT)’s Andes to Amazon project.  As part time staff for Camino Verde, Manuel compliments his university studies as the head of our tree nursery and inventories seed-bearing adult trees in the wild forests we protect.

Ursula Leyva is CV’s second in command and the executive director of Camino Verde Tambopata, our Peruvian legal organizational branch.  Originally from Lima, Ursula has lived in Madre de Dios since 2005.  She has worked as the administrator of an eco-tourist lodge, the director of a non-profit organization focusing on environmental education for children, and in the United States as a counselor at an alternative outdoor education program.  For over a year, this Permaculture design consultant has managed CV Tambopata’s legal presence and helped keep our reforestation center running smoothly.

Ever since Camino Verde began, Juan Rafaele has been a good neighbor and great friend.  Native to Apurimac in the Andean highlands, Juan has lived in Tambopata for over 20 years.  His farm is an extraordinary example of diversified agroforestry systems.  Two years ago, Juan sold Camino Verde 100 acres of his land on the condition that we’d hire him for any work there.  For the past two seasons, Juan has helped us plant over 2000 trees on this land.

Our newest employee, Ricsi Taborga has in less than a month proven herself as an incredibly hard-working, joyful addition to our squad.  Native to Puerto Maldonado, Ricsi is a mother of three with a wicked sense of humor.  Her favorite jokes are about how no man can match her weeding abilities with a machete.  And she’s right!

Then there’s me, Robin Van Loon.  But I think you know enough about me already.  But there are also animals!  They'll have to wait.  For now, meet Rosita...

I hope this Missive has helped to put a face, or faces, to go along with those trees.  And of course there’s one more member of our team who we couldn’t do it without: You.  Thanks for your support now and always.  Your interest and your contributions are what keep our work alive. 

Warm greetings from Tambopata!

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Dear friends of the Amazon,

In the past you've helped us to protect more rainforest and plant more trees. Now and until Mother's Day, we've found a special way to thank you for your contributions. Through GlobalGiving's Gifts for Good program, starting today, Monday, April 15th, for each donation of $40 or more we're pleased to offer you a beautiful palm-fiber handicraft created by our native friends and partners in the Peruvian Amazon.  (See photos below.)  

These hotpads can go on your table or be hung on your wall as a work of art. They're made with nothing but rainforest ingredients, including the all-natural dyes.  And in honor of Mother's Day, each of these crafts was made by a mother, and a part of your donation will go to these indigenous master craftswomen and their communities.

(Click to visit our Gifts for Good donation page:

Thank you once more for supporting Camino Verde and our work reforesting the Amazon.  And enjoy the beauty of the Amazon's wise, skilled artisans while helping to plant more trees.

Warm greetings to you and an early salute to all the mothers in your life.

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Dear friends of Camino Verde,

It's my pleasure to bring you the latest news and stories from the Peruvian Amazon, our adventures in reforestation.  2013 has been a season of celebration and gratitude for Camino Verde, and we're especially appreciative of your interest and support. 

Let me explain what all our commotion is about...

Saving Rosewood, Part 2

Remember the appeal for support at the end of the last Missive you received in October?  Well, 2013 began with an auspicious start.  Camino Verde's funding proposal to purchase distillation equipment was met with applause from our perennial amigos at the Peruvian Society for Environmental Law.  They revealed that ScotiaBank, a major Peruvian bank, will be making a substantial contribution next month.  But we couldn't have hit our goal without the support of all of you who responded so quickly to our appeal for contributions.  Thank you!

With funding secured, we got to the fun part: planting the rosewood trees.  We planted 360 of them last week at our main reforestation center in Tambopata, Peru. 

And while the CV team was working hard at that, I was far away in northern Peru in the Bora native community of Brillo Nuevo, just off the Amazon River proper.  What was I doing?  Planting rosewood trees of course.  Members of the community and I planted 900 trees in just 3 days.  The community was excited about the trees, and so was I.  (See a photo here.)

One highlight was when we talked about just how quickly the rosewood trees will start to provide tangible benefits for the community: in 2 years.  That's faster than some pineapple plants produce their first fruit, faster than a cashew or a brazil nut or a starfruit or an ice cream bean or an umarí or a charichuelo produce their first fruits.  (A full report on this inspiring trip to Brillo Nuevo will be coming soon to and our Facebook page.)

To all of you who contributed to the rosewood project-- Thank you! Your donations have already sprouted tangible benefits for the Amazon and its human communities.  Please help us plant more rosewood trees next year, when I'll be back in Brillo Nuevo to visit with the community and check on the trees' growth.  I´ll be back again in two years to help with the first harvest of leaves and side branches to begin producing essential oil.  In the meantime, we're actively pursuing seed sources to expand rosewood reforestation in the community with our allies at the Center for Amazon Community Ecology, so that each time I return to Brillo Nuevo I will do so with more tree seedlings in hand. 

But rosewood work isn't the only thing we've been up to.

CV Behind the Scenes

If rosewood is our star story right now, there's also a lot worth talking about going on behind the scenes.  In fact, January 2013 was such a big month for Camino Verde that it felt like we had crammed a whole year's worth of program work into one month.  What was the big deal?

1.  First, the trees.  Since new year's we've already planted over 2800 trees.  The rainy season is underway (although it's been a very dry year so far), and we took advantage of the weather by rolling out the seedlings.  Most are coming from our very own on site plant nursery that you might remember hearing about last year.

2.  Our friends at the Hitchcock Bowart Daterra Family Foundation have done it again.  Making an overnight angel investment in the future of our forests, the Foundation single-handedly funded our acquisition of another 70 acres of rainforest, much of it untouched.  In fact, the new land abuts the Tambopata National Reserve.  This brings the total of Camino Verde-owned land to 250 acres (not counting our conservation partnerships). 

3.  Government bona fides.  The first land ever acquired by Camino Verde's founders (7 years ago!) is now certified as a Private Conservation Area by Peru's Ministry of the Environment.  The news brought a tither of attention: I appeared in local and national Peruvian newspapers as well as on a few websites.

4.  New infrastructure!  Our visitors' and volunteers' lodgings have just officially been upgraded.  Thanks to the support of, you guessed it, the Peruvian Society for Environmental Law plus donors like you, our new Visitor Center looks awesome.  Also, our new staff lodgings and mess hall are in the works this month!  We would love yoursupport to help finish this overhaul.

5. In other news, December's Sustainable Living and Ecological Design Course was a blast, and we've got the pictures to prove it.  Don't be surprised if we end up doing this again.

We are grateful for your support, and for caring enough to read about what we do.  Thank you!  And by the way, if you haven't already checked out the handsome new, what are you waiting for?

Warm greetings,

Robin Van Loon
Executive Director
Camino Verde

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Organization Information

Camino Verde

Location: Concord, MA - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Robin Van Loon
Concord, MA United States

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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