Trees and Education Protect Rainforest in Brazil

by SALVEASERRA. Grupo Prot. Amb. Serra da Concordia
See the happiness of our visitors
See the happiness of our visitors

Dear donors and project friends, The project “Trees and Education Protect Rainforest in Brazil” continues to take local students to visit the Concordia Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary and to participate of the environmental education course “A Day in the Forest”. Please see some attached photos of the last group. For us it is always a pleasure to be able to do these walks and to have this wonderful and unique possibility to take students to visit our forest and the farm’s agroforestry demonstration areas. As you already know, for most of these students it is the first time they visit a forest and I can say that it is an unforgettable experience and I am sure that after this excursion they will have a much better understanding of the environment and the need of forests to maintain the water sources. You can see through their faces how much they like it. We continue the agroforestry systems experiments and the plants and trees are growing nicely, due the very good rain season we had this year. The dry season approaches and with the irrigation system we have now it will be possible to irrigate all the new plants that suffer very much during the dry period. This year we have planted again more than 2000 seedlings of trees, palm tree and fruit trees. I would like to say that without you support none of this would be possible and I am very grateful to all of you. Thank you. All the best, Roberto

On the trail
On the trail
A Day in the Forest ecological tour
A Day in the Forest ecological tour
Group at the entrance of the Wildlife Sanctuary
Group at the entrance of the Wildlife Sanctuary
It is the first time they visit a forest
It is the first time they visit a forest
On the trail we can discuss with them
On the trail we can discuss with them
A trail in the forest
A trail in the forest
The road to the Wildlife Sanctuary
The road to the Wildlife Sanctuary
For the teachers it is also a great experience
For the teachers it is also a great experience
A bath on the creek before coming back
A bath on the creek before coming back
The filming crew
The filming crew

Dear project donors and friends, last December, we had the visit of a film making team from Canada, working for Lato Sensu Productions that is preparing a documentary series entitled "Architects of change". As I said in the last project update, I was invited to participate in this series that has the aim to explain and highlight the possible solutions to many different environmental and social issues, through the examples of people and experiences that already apply sustainable development principles in their daily lives and work. They expect that these examples will give hope for the future and encourage other people to do something of their own to try to change and improve their lives and communities. Please visit this site to have a better idea of the project: http://www.filmsdocumentaires.com/portail/artisans.html. As this is the second series of documentaries, you can also see on this site, who has accepted the invitation for the first series: http://artisansduchangement.latosensu.tv/. For us it was an unique opportunity to be able to participate in this series and to have our projects chosen to be shown and broadcasted in France (TV5-Monde, Ushuaia TV) and Canada (Radio-Canada and TFO) and to know that talks are under way with Discovery Channel and NHK Japan as well as UNESCO. It was also a fantastic experience to follow, produce and work with this team of professional Canadian filmmakers. We will see these new series of documentaries in the beginning of 2011. Please see attached photos of the filming. We are preparing to start our field operations for 2010 with the local schools and as echo of the interest the “Day in the Forest” ecological guided tour in the city of Valença, it is possible that we will obtain some support from the Secretary of Education in order to establish a partnership with them to take this program to more schools in different parts of the County. The plantation season is almost over and we planted again some 2000 trees, palm trees and fruit trees, half of then bought with GlobalGiving donations. Thank you all for your support, donations and good wishes that make all this come true and possible. All the best, Roberto

Students on the road
Students on the road
Students, old tree and Canadians
Students, old tree and Canadians

Dear donors and project friends, I am glad to say that project “Trees and Education Protect Rainforest in Brazil” continues well and its sub projects and programs are in full expansion. As you know, we take School groups to visit the Concordia Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary regularly to follow the environmental education course “A Day in the Forest”. You will see some photos of the last two groups. It is always a blessing and pleasure for us to be able to do this kind of programming and to have this wonderful possibility of taking these students to the forest and the agroforestry demonstration areas. You can see through their faces that it is delight for them. The new SALVEASERRA CARAVAN project has started its mission of taking information and to bring knowledge directly to the fields, upcountry to farmers, families and communities. We do presentations also for non rural groups. We are now in the middle of the planting season and we have already planted some 800 seedlings of many different species of trees, fruit trees and palm trees. We have also bought 1200 other saplings with some donations money and some more will still be acquired this year. I want to communicate to donors that I was invited to participate, now in December, of the second series of documentaries on sustainable development called "Architects of change", and produced by a Canadian-French team. http://www.pvp.ca/. Each series will feature 3 "Architects of change" from different cultures and economic sectors from all over the world and the aim of the series is to explain and highlight solutions to environmental and social issues, presented through people who already apply sustainable development principles in their daily lives and work. This documentary series will be broadcaster worldwide. Of course that I am very much honored and proud to be among one of the "Architects of change" and I hope that the examples of what we are doing here in Valença, Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil, can show that it is possible to change the ways of dealing, caring and treating our planet Earth, and mainly to encourage other people to do their own changes and have their own projects to improve their lives, communities, countries, all over the World. I will show then what we do here: 1. the 3 agroforestry systems experimental areas and the coffee under shade plantations, 2. the "Day in the Forest" ecological guided tour we offer to municipal public school students, 3. the irrigated organic vegetable gardens donation project, Project Oasis, 4. the SALVEASERRA Caravan Project meant to bring information and to take knowledge to rural and urban communities, and two of the training courses we offer to local communities, in this case, one of how to make a good vegetable garden a another one on banana plant fiber handcrafting. Thank you all those contribute to make this project possible and please see bellow the invitation letter and some links to documentary trailers. Roberto Lamego, director.

Documentary on sustainable development Dear Mr. Roberto Lamego, I am writing you today to find out if you would be interested and available to participate in a documentary series on sustainable development. Last year, the French TV producer Lato Sensu and the Productions Vic Pelletier from Canada, co-produced a documentary series entitled "Architects of change". And we now currently working on the second season. The documentary series consists of 10 X 52 minutes episodes, each featuring 3 "Architects of change" from different cultures and economic sectors all over the world. Again, the series will be broadcasted in France (TV5-Monde, Ushuaia TV) and Canada (Radio-Canada and TFO). Talks are under way with Discovery Channel and NHK Japan as well and UNESCO is one of our partners. The aim of the series is to explain and highlight solutions to environmental and social issues, presented through people who already apply sustainable development principles in their daily lives. We discovered your work as the founder of SALVEASERRA and would be honored to count you among our "Architects of change". Individuals such as you give hope for the future and encourage people to do something of their own. Please let me know if you are interested in participating in this series. We plan to film between November 2009 and April 2010. You can go on this site so you will have a better idea of our project: http://www.filmsdocumentaires.com/portail/artisans.html And on our site, you will see who have accepted our invitation last year: http://artisansduchangement.latosensu.tv/ All the best, Geneviève Bougie Scénariste-Writer Les Artisans du changement (Architects of change) Les Productions Vic Pelletier inc. Pleae see also at : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMvbh8D8aeo http://www1.radio-canada.ca/emissions/les_artisans_du_changement/

Marisa Glassman is GlobalGiving's Business Development Manager. She recently traveled throughout Brazil and visited a number of GlobalGiving projects. On May 4th she visited "Trees and Education Protect Rainforest in Brazil." When asked what she would tell her friends about this project, Marisa said: "Great: They are making a difference."

"With just a short time in as large a country as Brazil, I was afraid I wouldn´t be able to see enough of the country. And while I´ll almost certainly never be able to see as much as I´d like to, today´s visit to Roberto Lamego´s forest in Valença gave me a welcome complement to all of the city-based work I´ve seen. Now I can leave Brazil happy. While finding a way to get there was tricky to say the least, I can´t imagine this trip being complete had I not been able to go. The forest I visited was a two-hour drive outside of Rio de Janeiro city, where most of the land is now rolling hills where vast forests once stood. When man cleared the land to plant coffee trees and other produce, the forests were decimated. And although the crops thrived for a short time, they eventually disappeared because the land could not maintain them without the cover and moisture the forest had provided. Left with almost nothing, most local residents turned to other uses for their land, such as cow farming. With many animals throughout the area, the forests have not been able to grow back.

"On a plot of this land, Roberto Lamego´s family had a farm. The land was eventually abandoned while Roberto was living abroad, but he decided to return to Brazil to try and salvage it. Since 1993, Roberto has planted hundreds of thousands of trees and other crops on his family´s land, and his forest now thrives among the surrounding barren hills. With proper care and attention, he and his dedicated staff, who live on the forest grounds Monday through Friday, have grown a forest which not only houses tall trees such as palm trees, which will no longer grow on their own in most of the surrounding area, but also houses crops such as passion fruit, mangoes, limes, coffee, and various other fruits I wish I could spell in English - some of which I tasted right off the trees.

"Once or twice every month, Roberto brings a school bus full of local children to the forest to learn about the landscape and work he and his coworkers have done. He realizes the community´s immediate need for income, and thus conveys the message that, not only does his forest help preserve the land, but provides a sustainable way to produce crops for many years by giving them the environment they need to thrive. It is often an uphill battle against a government that does not share his goals and local community members whose immediate financial needs make it difficult to maintain the long-term outlook necessary to follow Roberto´s methodology. But Roberto´s will and conviction make his efforts less of a choice than a natural path. I am so thankful I was able to visit the forest with a diverse group of local students who were also visiting for the first time. Their enthusiasm and curiosity were wonderful to see, and although the language barrier between us didn´t allow us to communicate fully, we did manage to find the one thing that saved us all from some unnecessary itching: the citronella plant Roberto showed us, which luckily is the same word in English and Portuguese."

"A Day in the Forest" Ecological Trekking
"A Day in the Forest" Ecological Trekking
"A Day in the Forest" Ecological Trekking
"A Day in the Forest" Ecological Trekking
"A Day in the Forest" Ecological Trekking
"A Day in the Forest" Ecological Trekking
Agroforestry plots and tree corridor.
Agroforestry plots and tree corridor.

Dear donors and project friends, once again thank you for your support and donations that makes all this possible.

As we are about to finish our year plantation operations we want to share with you what we are do with our forests and the donated seedlings. Since 1995, SALVEASERRA recovers forests with agroforestry plantations methods in an effort to attract and convince economically land owners and cattle ranchers to protect the environment with the use of these ecological and economical possibilities that brings profits to them and avoids deforestation. As farmers have very little information about these agricultural techniques and procedures, our pilot demonstration areas are used in courses and field training programs to show students and land owners that it is possible to preserve the forest, protect biodiversity and obtain income doing things like we do. We add value to the forest with our planting methods. All the work starts at the tree nursery and our nursery produces low cost seedlings and costs very little to maintain since it was built under the forest shade and with local materials. We have produced countless seedlings since we started planting and when we buy seedlings they are brought here until definitive planting. From the nursery the seedlings are taken to a place near the plantation areas and then separated by species before planting. Each tree species is planted in its best appropriate ecosystem condition. In our plantations, trees, palm trees and fruit trees are planted in squares that have 3 or 4 meters sides and a great quantity of new plants can be introduced in a small area. This year we opened three new areas for different agroforestry system planting plots. In two of them timber trees were mainly planted and the other one was directed to fruit trees. Remember that when you plant agroforestry systems you never stop planting and there is always room to plant something else in the same area. All plants must have an economical and ecological interest to be there and because these areas are ecologically balanced areas there are no pest attacks and ants are a rarely problem.

But maybe this is the easy part of the act of planting trees as people always forget that if we want these baby trees to become mature trees they have to be inspected and cared for at least 2 times a year and during 4 years. If you don't do this, there is an enormous chance that these very fragile seedlings will die, be it by drought, by fire, eaten by ants, crushed by branches or tree trunks, swallowed by lust vegetation or stepped up by cows. What I want to say is and it is absolutely necessary to have this always in mind, is that for at least 4 years, it is not possible to abandon these young trees after they are planted otherwise many plants will not survive and this international effort in resources and manpower to aid the environment will be useless and meaningless. I am very much concerned with this plant abandon situation because I have witnessed this happen many times here in Brazil and I would not like to see this happen with GlobalGiving Green so dearly donated trees. Donor must consider that in many situations one dollar one tree is not enough to make this sapling become a big, mature and reproductive tree. I am writing this update in the middle of GlobalGiving's fundraising campaign, “Give a Little Green" and you can be sure that if you want to contribute, every extra dollar our project can obtain from this campaign will become a nice tree, timber, palm tree or fruit tree. Who knows if some time donors will be able to visit the planting areas and plant a few trees with their hands?

Thank you all very much and all the best,

Roberto Lamego

Inside tree corridor with coffee plants.
Inside tree corridor with coffee plants.
4 years old agroforestry plantation.
4 years old agroforestry plantation.

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Organization Information

SALVEASERRA. Grupo Prot. Amb. Serra da Concordia

Location: Valenca, Rio de Janeiro - Brazil
Project Leader:
Roberto Lamego
Technical director
Valença, Rio de Janeiro Brazil