Regenerate the Amazon!

by Camino Verde
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Regenerate the Amazon!
Regenerate the Amazon!
Regenerate the Amazon!
Regenerate the Amazon!
Regenerate the Amazon!
Regenerate the Amazon!
Regenerate the Amazon!
Regenerate the Amazon!
Regenerate the Amazon!
Regenerate the Amazon!
Regenerate the Amazon!
Regenerate the Amazon!
Regenerate the Amazon!
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Regenerate the Amazon!
Regenerate the Amazon!
Regenerate the Amazon!

Project Report | Jan 2, 2024
A year of Amazonian regeneration with Camino Verde

By Robin Van Loon | Executive Director

Part of our team at CV Baltimori
Part of our team at CV Baltimori

Dear friends of Camino Verde,

We’re sitting in awe of all that 2023 has brought.

For Camino Verde, the year was marked by new challenges and growth opportunities. A cycle that ended with international accolades for our organization – but began with national political turmoil for Peru. CV’s 2023 saw disparate native communities brought back together after generations of estrangement – and endangered species brought back from the brink. It was a year of trees and a year of bees, historic occurrences and record-breaking events.

Which is why, in this year-end Report, we’ll be covering quite a bit of ground: highlights of the year and updates from the last few months. How we’re ending up and what’s next on the horizon for 2024. Plus, we’ll give the latest on the political situation in Peru, which started our 2023 with an unpleasant bang.

These are all stories that were co-written by you. For the last 15 years, our growth and evolution, our resilience and our innovation, are thanks to you. It’s no exaggeration to say that we couldn’t do it without your support. For all those who have sent in a year-end contribution or made a donation to CV in years past, Thank You!

And it’s stll not too late to help us usher in the New Year on the strongest footing, with the financial stability that allows us to plan our 2024 programs with confidence. Please consider donating to Camino Verde today. We are honored to have your support!

In gratitude and celebration,

Robin Van Loon and the whole Camino Verde Team

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Year-End Updates & Highlights: Global

Global Accolades:  In 2023, Camino Verde was selected as one of Global Landscape Forum’s local Latin American chapters, called GLFx Amazonía Peruana. Thanks to our innovative approach and collaborative spirit, CV’s communications manager Clemencia Pinasco was the winner of a competitive scholarship to be flown in to the GLF annual conference in Nairobi, Kenya. We are proud of how capably Clemencia represented CV in plenary sessions and on expert panels.

International Kudos: We are honored to announce that in the last quarter, CV was selected as one of the World Economic Forum’s Uplink Top Innovators in biodiversity. CV joins a cohort of a dozen initiatives from around the world building conservation and regeneration solutions with real legs. With access to expert consultants and a network of innovative organizations, Camino Verde is psyched to be selected and glad for the visibility it will bring. 

Hometown Support: Camino Verde operates in the Peruvian Amazon. But did you know that it was originally registered as a non-profit in Massachusetts? In celebration of Camino Verde’ 15th Anniversary, in November we got together and had a ball in the Bay State in support of CV. And the hometown crowd of over 100 people responded in incredible fashion, breaking our record for a single night of fundraising in our whole 15-year history! To all of you who made it out and contributed to the event’s success – Thank you! Highlights included our ED’s keynote speech and a silent auction of CV’s own Blair Butterfield’s amazing Amazonian plant art.

Moena Botanicals – Our Brand Goes Global: From our reforestation areas, we create value added products now sold around the world. Check out www.moenabotanicals.com today and order your Amazonian essential oils direct from our reforested trees! Bring the scents of the rainforest into your home. Now shipping in the US.

Cutting Edge Carbon Research: In addition to volunteers and interns from around the world, CV also hosts researchers. After their first visit in 2021, UK-based carbon research firm Sylvera was back with us in Peru for a second round of marathon data collection. With laser scanners (lidar) on tripods, hung from drones, and even on a helicopter, Sylvera took state-of-the-art tree measurements. All this, to obtain the highest accuracy carbon calculations for a variety of forest types – including our protected primary forest areas and our reforestation parcels. We hope to see Sylvera back again next year to continue to contribute to leading carbon research.

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Year-End Updates & Highlights: National

What’s the Latest in Peru? As you may recall from our first Report of the year, Peru had a rough start to 2023. An attempted coup, a jailed president, and an unpopular successor led to protests that rocked the country. Our home region of Madre de Dios was completely closed for close to 2 months, resulting in the total shutdown of its economy. January and February made the pandemic look like child’s play. Thankfully, life resumed to normal in March. But sadly, not much has changed politically, and Peru continues in a tenuous situation. We’re grateful to everyone who has reached out in concern and solidarity!

Tree Planting: In two regions of the Peruvian Amazon, Camino Verde continues to blaze trails in native tree planting. At our reforestation centers and in participating native communities, this year CV produced seedlings of over 100 Amazonian tree species – a powerful impact in terms of preserving and regenerating biodiversity! This year we planted over 50,000 trees and produced over 100,000 seedlings. (Special thanks to our funding partners in tree planting: Go Forest, Tree Nation, zeroCO2, and Forestmatic.)

Native Amazonian Beekeeping – Meliponicultura: Meliponas are Amazonian stingless bees, and their honey is a highly sought after medicinal delicacy. Starting in 2019, CV included beekeeping in our arsenal of regenerative strategies, and this year we took native beekeeping to the next level. In the Madre de Dios region, we held our 2 first ever native beekeeping workshops, with over 60 participants representing native communities, farmer associations, and NGOs. Our “Meliponario” now includes 10 species of bees!

And More Beekeeping! In the Loreto region, where CV team members have over a decade of experience raising bees with native community partners, we doubled our beekeeping cohort by incorporating 4 new native communities in our bee programs, via an extraordinary experience. (More on this later in “Our Favorite Memory of 2023,” below.) And our team members and project partners launched an amazing resource to the world: a tutorial series on native beekeeping in native communities. Check it out here!

Congresses of Native Federations: Starting in 2012, CV has worked closely with native communities in a Federation consisting of 14 member communities. And this year, we began a partnership with a second Federation made up of 4 communities. Federations are an important body of governance for 21st century indigenous people in the Peruvian Amazon, and Camino Verde is proud to support these organizations and participate in their institutional life. As of this year we work directly with 8 native communities (Bora, Huitoto, and Maijuna) in the 2 federations, but with indirect impact in a total of 18 member communities represented.

Consultations in Yaguas National Park: In 2023 CV was selected as consultant to carry out activities in Yaguas National Park in the Loreto region and neighboring native communities. We led a successful expedition to identify endangered rosewood seed trees in protected areas and interviewed local community members with living memory of the rosewood boom in the mid 20th Century. More than just another feather in our cap, this consultation marked the beginning of a productive ongoing collaboration with the National Park that will grow in 2024.

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Year-End Updates & Highlights: Local

Tree Nursery Training for Local & Indigenous Women: Starting in 2023, Camino Verde has a new program to train local and indigenous women in basic tree nursery work. The goals of the program are to generate nursery capacity in the region, thus supporting the scalability of restoration, and, importantly, to give local women the skills to start their own nurseries as seedling enterprises. As of this writing, our first two paid interns in the program have completed their two-month training course. More to come in 2024!

Urban Reforestation: Camino Verde’s headquarters is located in Puerto Maldonado, Peru, a city officially dubbed the nation’s “capital of biodiversity.” And CV has found an innovative new way to support that designation – by planting native tree species in the city. In 2023, thanks to a generous donor contribution, we delivered 10,000 seedlings representing over 60 Amazonian tree species planted in the streets and parks of the city, beefing up Puerto’s claims to biodiversity. And the best part? The Municipality wants to repeat in 2024!

Chocolate is in the Air: After years of growing cacao, for the first time ever Camino Verde has produced chocolate for sale! In the form of ready-to-eat bars and blocks of “pure cacao paste”, our chocolate is blowing up in Peru. Copoazú “chocolate” is also rolling out. (If you’re curious what copoazú is all about, hit reply and ask us!) We know you’re wondering, and unfortunately, no, we are not yet selling chocolate in the US.

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What’s Planned for 2024?

Book Launch in English – The Amazonian Pharmacy of Don Ignacio Duri: A document of a unique voice from the Peruvian Amazon, Camino Verde’s first book in English is coming soon in early 2024! Don Ignacio Duri (1930-2020) was an Amazonian herbalist who shared some of his life experiences and vast plant knowledge in recorded conversations with CV ED Robin Van Loon and co-author Camila Villalobos for the creation of this special book. After 2 editions published in Spanish, this year his words will become available to English readers for the first time. Illustrated with spectacular plant images by CV artist in residence Maisie McNeice and treasurer and past communications director, Blair Butterfield. Email us at info@caminoverde.org to pre-order a copy!

Collaboration with Conservation International: In 2024, renowned global NGO Conservation International becomes a major funder for Camino Verde’s programs in Loreto, Peru, where we work with 150 families in 8 native communities, growing endangered rosewood and many other species of trees (and raising bees!). We are pleased to work with CI and in so doing expand our rosewood program to a greater scale of impact.

First Rosewood Seedlings Going to the Maijuna: After a decade of planting rosewood trees with the Bora and Huitoto, in 2024 we are honored to plant our first rosewood (and 30 other species of trees) with new partners of the Maijuna nation. Expanding our Rosewood Farmer Livelihood Program and our productive base for rosewood essential oil, this program is destined to generate regenerative income for families in the 4 communities of the Maijuna people. Special thanks to our collaboration with NGOs La Restinga and One Planet, for making it possible to establish friendly working relationships with the Maijuna.

In Vitro Propagation of Rosewood: With highly endangered rosewood seeds extremely rare and difficult to come by, CV has been experimenting with alternative forms of propagation of the species. In addition to vegetative propagation trials in our own nurseries, we have formed alliances in 2023 with 2 Peruvian research groups to advance with in vitro propagation. The first round of trials have yielded promising results, so in 2024 we will multiple exponentially our production of rosewood seedlings, contributing directly to the conservation of a valuable species pushed to the brink of extinction by uncontrolled extraction from the wild.

Documenting Ancestral Rosewood Knowledge: It’s not enough to just plant more rosewood trees, although this is an important step. In order to truly preserve the species, it is just as important to sustain indigenous knowledge of the species into the future. Which is why, at the urging of tribal leaders of our native community partners, in 2024 CV will undertake the documenting of traditional cultural knowledge and history of rosewood.

Tree Nursery Training for Indigenous Women – Loreto edition: After the initial success of our paid internship programs for women in basic tree nursery production in Madre de Dios, we are now taking the program to our partner native communities in Loreto. In the program’s first year in a new region, we plan to train 10 indigenous women as nursery maestras.

Tree Planting, Of Course: At the time of this writing, we are gearing up for the rainy season, when seedlings go in the ground in the Amazon. As in years past, this year we’ll plant in our two impact regions, at the north and south ends of the Peruvian Amazon. Planting is already underway at CV’s two reforestation centers in Madre de Dios region, and just after the New Year we will begin distribution of seedlings to our community partner farmers in Loreto region. Over 50,000 trees are expected to be planted in the first quarter of 2024!

And much more! There isn’t enough room in this already long report to include everything we have planned for 2024.

Stay tuned for more updates, storytelling, and beautiful images in next year’s reports.

Thanks so much for reading! We are grateful for your support of Camino Verde!

CV's Clemencia as a speaker in GLF Nairobi
CV's Clemencia as a speaker in GLF Nairobi
The traditional Maijuna dance of the bees
The traditional Maijuna dance of the bees
Diverse cacao production at Camino Verde Baltimori
Diverse cacao production at Camino Verde Baltimori
Urban reforestation in Puerto Maldonado
Urban reforestation in Puerto Maldonado
CV team visiting the in vitro lab
CV team visiting the in vitro lab
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Sep 15, 2023
Five Jungles of Peru

By Robin Van Loon | Executive Director

May 23, 2023
Getting closer to the native bees of the Amazon

By Jose Carlos Garcia Morales | Regional Coordinator of Camino Verde Loreto

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Organization Information

Camino Verde

Location: Concord, MA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Blair Butterfield
Concord , MA United States
$37,222 raised of $250,000 goal
 
410 donations
$212,778 to go
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