Observation of insects in soil
For more than four years Brazil has been suffering with economical and political instability, notably scandals of corruption involving important political figures with a blatant disregard for Brazilian citizens.
As a result of this, the year began with much insecurity and discontent for the majority of Brazilians, who suffer on a daily basis with rising inflation, economic inequality and unemployment.
Last month, Brazil came to a standstill. A demonstration by truck drivers representing the working class and supported by public school teachers, resulted in the paralysis of food and fuel deliveries and the closing of several schools throughout Brazil.
Iracambi was also affected, as the crisis left the local council unable to offer transportation to young people.This interrupted and delayed several activities with our Eco Leaders in recent months.
Despite the crisis Brazil is currently experiencing, Iracambi continues to make every effort to maintain its activities with the Eco Leaders in the Atlantic forest. At the beginning of this last quarter we received our first group of Eco Leaders, 40 students from the 5th grade from two public schools in the municipality of Rosário da Limeira.
The visits introduced the students to a fantastic new world of adventure and discovery in the Atlantic Forest, for many it was their first visit to a natural environment full of amazing animals and plants.
The students observed every detail on their visit, from the number of different colored butterflies to an infinity of different types of ants.
We laughed a lot when one of the students, known as Carlos, was startled by a cricket that jumped from a plant directly onto his shoulder! Marília,a student living in the countryside, knew a lot about the forest and was curious to learn the names of several plants as we walked.
The students discovered, each in their own way, the easiest and most exciting form to observe and catch the small insects of the Atlantic Forest.
"A lot changed in the class after the students visited Iracambi, they became more curious in class and are enthusiastic to return to the reserve" - reported their school teacher Edna.
Another group that partook in Environmental Education activities at Iracambi came through our partner CRAS (Rosário da Limeira Social Services). Almost 100 children participated in the Easter hunt we held, hunting for natural treasures. Through these activities the students were able to learn more about the forest animals, walk along trails that keep the treasures of the medicinal plants, and to end, each was gifted with a delicious chocolate egg.
The volunteers at Iracambi did a great job in leading and organising the event, inspiring the children on their quest for knowledge. Scott, one of our volunteers, had so much fun with the children remarking that the experience was one he would never forget.
Scott was a very important volunteer for the children from Rosário da Limeira community. Through him we were able to offer 60 students from the 6th grade the fantastic opportunity of English classes with support from a native. This was the first time this had happened in any of the public schools in Zona da Mata region. It was three weeks of dynamic and fun English classes that offered students a unique experience in their classes with their English teacher Aline.
"The students were so excited when Scott came to teach, they arrived to classes already complementing everyone in English and using new sentences they had learnt. They said their names, their age, where they lived, etc. I never thought they would react in this way, it was truly moving to see" reported English teacher Aline.
In other great news, we have recently partnered with DEMSUR (Municipal Department of Urban Sanitation) in Muriaé, a neighboring city with more than 86,000 inhabitants. Together we have launched the first competition to collect batteries that are harmful to the environment.
The competition began in May and the prize is a day filled with fun and immersive activities in the Atlantic Forest demonstrating the importance of discarding batteries at the appropriate collection sites so that rivers and soil are not damaged by the chemical components of such materials.
Iracambi was the first entity to carry out environmental education activities in the region and is the only one that does this work, to stimulate the direct contact of the children with the animals and plants of the Atlantic Forest, encouraging them to appreciate, learn more about the forest and consequently to love nature and all that it offers us human beings.
We know the importance of the local communities, which are gradually decreasing along with a little bit of our beloved forest and therefore, despite the various crises in Brazil, we are working to expand our services to other schools in the region.
There are more than 2,000 public schools in our region and our focus is to be able to welcome all students who belong to these schools to partake in activities that awaken their senses and reinforce the idea that our mission of "saving forests and transforming lives" is the way forward.
Carlos showing the cricket found on the way
Eco Leaders learning animal names in English
Visit of the Ecolideres in different environments
Eco Leaders visiting a clean stream
Visiting a seedling nursery for the first time
Launching the competition to collect batteries
Visit from CRAS students
Volunteer giving the first native English class