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Young EcoLeaders of the Brazilian Rainforest

by Iracambi
Young EcoLeaders of the Brazilian Rainforest
Young EcoLeaders of the Brazilian Rainforest
Young EcoLeaders of the Brazilian Rainforest
Young EcoLeaders of the Brazilian Rainforest
Young EcoLeaders of the Brazilian Rainforest
Young EcoLeaders of the Brazilian Rainforest
Young EcoLeaders of the Brazilian Rainforest
Young EcoLeaders of the Brazilian Rainforest
Young EcoLeaders of the Brazilian Rainforest
Young EcoLeaders of the Brazilian Rainforest
Young EcoLeaders of the Brazilian Rainforest
Young EcoLeaders of the Brazilian Rainforest
Young EcoLeaders of the Brazilian Rainforest
Young EcoLeaders of the Brazilian Rainforest
Young EcoLeaders of the Brazilian Rainforest
Young EcoLeaders of the Brazilian Rainforest
Young EcoLeaders of the Brazilian Rainforest
Young EcoLeaders of the Brazilian Rainforest
Young EcoLeaders of the Brazilian Rainforest
Young EcoLeaders of the Brazilian Rainforest
Young EcoLeaders of the Brazilian Rainforest
Young EcoLeaders of the Brazilian Rainforest
Young EcoLeaders of the Brazilian Rainforest
Young EcoLeaders of the Brazilian Rainforest
Observation of insects in soil
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
Carlos showing the cricket found on the way
Eco Leaders learning animal names in English
Eco Leaders learning animal names in English
Visit of the Ecolideres in different environments
Visit of the Ecolideres in different environments
Eco Leaders visiting a clean stream
Eco Leaders visiting a clean stream
Visiting a seedling nursery for the first time
Visiting a seedling nursery for the first time
Launching the competition to collect batteries
Launching the competition to collect batteries
Visit from CRAS students
Visit from CRAS students
Volunteer giving the first native English class
Volunteer giving the first native English class
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Meeting with students to talk about Mining
Meeting with students to talk about Mining

The EcoLeaders activities were completed at the end of October, due to school vacation and the beginning of the rainy season. Regardless Iracambi’s environmental education efforts did not stop there.

In reality, Rosário da Limeira is in the midst of an environmental threat - Bauxite mining. We are working with the city to organize a general assembly and discuss this with the population. There is nothing better than to inform our youth and explain the potential consequences of the presence of mining companies in their city, as well as how to contain the unfettered consumption of aluminum by our modern society.

We held a meeting at the Municipal School of Rosario da Limeira with some of the members of the EcoLeaders program. Afterwards, they decided to make posters with impact phrases demonstrating their opinions about mining. These posters will be used during the General Assembly on Mining that will take place in April of this year.

And we didn’t stop there...during school vacation, we were visited by a couple with their children and nephew. Our Director of Educational Environmental Education gave them a magical tour of the forest: they walked along the Trail of Medicinal Plants and at some points were greeted with a light rain. “It was an incredible experience to hear the rain falling on the leaves and the forest floor. I think that this will stay in our memory forever!” said Viviene, the children’s mother.

Along the way, they played a game of treasure hunting, during which they found a molting cicada in a tree and mosses hidden amongst the rocks. Afterward, we returned to the Forest House, where they were able to use our electronic magnifying glass to see everything in greater detail.

The children had their first experience of bathing in a stream, and Clara - about six years old - climbed a tree for the first time. The visit ended with a delicious picnic on Iracambi’s front lawn, where everyone with muddy feet shared their adventures in the Atlantic Forest.

Creation of awareness posters on Mining
Creation of awareness posters on Mining
Family for a day in the forest
Family for a day in the forest
Clara, climbing the tree for the first time
Clara, climbing the tree for the first time
Students observing a moss
Students observing a moss
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Journey of discovery
Journey of discovery

Dear friends and supporters,

What an amazing year, and what a lot we have achieved together! Thanks to you we’ve been able to set a whole lot of rainforest kids on their way to becoming forest champions. We’ve  hosted several large school groups for their first ever adventure day in the forest, we’ve made presentations in local schools and citizen associations, we’ve involved parents, teachers and school support staff, and of course we’ve been running our regular Eco Leaders Program, and reaching more students all the time. .

And this year we've been doing it a little differently. We hope you love our new approach as much as the students do! Here's how it works. Since our objective is to introduce them to the amazing world of the rainforest - and become future environmental champions and EcoLeaders - we’re focusing on helping them learn not only with their heads, but also with their hearts and all their senses.

You can't love something that you don't really know. And to know it is more than reading about it or hearing your teacher talk about it. If you want to get to know the rainforest you need to get out of the classroom and into the forest.  You need to roll up your sleeves, take off your shoes, get your hands in the dirt. Feel the cool air as you step into the forest, place your cheek against the rough bark of a tree or the soft velvety smoothness of the moss. Smell the earth after the rain, and the scents of the flowering trees. Stay quiet and listen to the tiny sounds of the forest – the leaves moving, the sound of the birds and the insects. Lie on your back and look up at the leaves dancing in the breeze. Look and really see the colors and shapes of the leaves and the flowers. Watch a hairy caterpillar or a brightly colored bird. Understand that you yourself are a part of nature.

And once you understand that, you'll be far more interested in learning the whys and wherefores. It seems to be working. You only have to loook at the big smiles on the faces of the kids as they jump out of the school bus or the Iracambi Kombi, run back into the forest and then settle down for a discussion.

With your help we're reaching more Eco Leaders, one child, one parent, one teacher, one visitor at a time. Thank you so much for being a part of such important and exciting work. We couldn't do it without you! 

Rainforest love for a wonderful holiday season, 

Marina and the Eco Leaders  

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Discovering nature in a new way
Discovering nature in a new way

Dear donors,

Thanks to you this quarter we were able to bring more children into our Eco Leaders program. Yaay! 

 Our current cohort of Eco Leaders, nine and ten year olds from the local school, was selected by posing them a challenge whereby they were asked to solve an important environmental problem in our region. They were invited to reflect on the challenge, and submit an illustrated text. Those who came up with the most original ideas were asked to join our program.

Students began by walking a forest trail in silence. They were able to see coatis, red headed woodpeckers and even squirrels which are hard to spot in our forests. They used their sense of touch and smell to discover the texture, the scents and the temperature of the forest, to feel the rough bark of the bigger trees, the cold water of the river, and to observe the tiny creatures that live on the forest floor. While listening to the sounds of the forest they made their own sound maps and learned that it’s impossible to be silent in the forest for more than ten seconds without hearing a bird, the sound of the river, or the wind in the trees.

The students learned a lot about the different biomes in Brazil, and found out that the earth under their feet belongs to the biome Atlantic Forest and that they live on the borders of an important State Park called the Serra do Brigadeiro which is constantly under threat from deforestation, fire and mining.

Our Young Eco Leaders still have a long way to travel and many discoveries to make. And it’s only possible because of you. Thank you!

with much love, 

Marina and the Eco Leaders   

Cold water!
Cold water!
rough bark
rough bark
mapping the sounds
mapping the sounds
Looking and seeing
Looking and seeing
Here's where we live!
Here's where we live!
My solutions!
My solutions!

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Young EcoLeaders in the nursery of native trees
Young EcoLeaders in the nursery of native trees

Dear Iracambi Friends and Supporters!

Thanks to you, the Young EcoLeaders have started a new stage of discovering the mysteries and problems of our ecosystem!

This quarter these little thinkers were engaged in activities that expanded their perceptions about nature.

Beyond observing, they could touch the trees around them and found that each tree has its own texture, its scent and its secrets. So, the young could better understand why those trees should always be preserved.

Another unique experience was when they could see a new universe through their sense of touch and smell.

Then, the young made a fruit salad and discovered that nothing turns into rubbish - the seeds were planted and the peels became organic compost.  

But as life is not a bed of roses, they also visited a landfill, therefore, they tried to find out what was done with their town rubbish.  

So they realised that an action plan was essential for people to become aware of selective rubbish collection.

And the first step of the process was interviewing people involved in the subject. The result was a short documentary whose production is already an ongoing  process.  

The goal is to make it public soon so everyone knows the theme better, as well as free exhibitions at the schools themselves.

And this is only the beginning of the actions that these Young EcoLeaders intend to carry out throughout their lives, fulfilling the role of agents transforming the reality of their homes, school and community.     

So, dear supporters, it's been a joy to talk with you, and once again, a big thank you for being there for us.

Rainforest love to you, 

Marina and the Youngest EcoLeaders.  

Young EcoLeaders Monitoring the Forest
Young EcoLeaders Monitoring the Forest
Young EcoLeaders Visiting a Recycling Plant
Young EcoLeaders Visiting a Recycling Plant
Young EcoLeaders Recycling to Plant Trees
Young EcoLeaders Recycling to Plant Trees
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Organization Information

Iracambi

Location: Rosario da Limeira, MG - Brazil
Website:
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Project Leader:
Marina Silva
Rosario da Limeira, MG Brazil
$73,232 raised of $97,000 goal
 
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