Dear wonderful donors,
Isn´t it amazing? The year is almost over and we´re all getting ready for the holidays. And for us, down in the rainforest, it´s time for the summer break - lots of sunshine, lots of rain, and a break after all the ups and downs of this very eventful year! And f course it´s time for us to catch you up on what has been going at Iracambi during the last quarter.
Our main focus this quarter has been pollution. No, it´s not something you associate with the rainforest, with our clear skies and sparkling water, but it´s still very much part of our lives - whether through atmospheric pollution, or pollution of soils and water. When we talk atmospheric pollution, our first thoughts are probably connected with carbon emissions - from industry, vehicles and even from burning the forest. Then we might consider the increasing amounts of garbage generated by the developed and developing worlds. Yes we do have a recycling plant in the local village, and yes we do separate our garbage, but we are still generating a lot of waste. So we decided to hold a round table with the students to reflect on the subject of pollution and waste, together with their causes and consequences. At the end of this module we held a workshop where the students used their creativity to make all sorts of useful objects from recycled materials. A new take on waste.
Buoyed up by this success we then turned our attention to pollution and degradation of soils and water, and as true scientists the students started figuring out solutions. Together with staff, students and local community members they took part in our Forests 4 Water program, rolling up their sleeves and planting seedlings from our forest nursery to protect springs and stream banks. A proactive approach to protecting soils and water before they get degraded and polluted.
Next we learned about Syntropic Agriculture, as introduced into the region by well known Swiss scientist Ernest Gotsch. This form of agriculture seeks to reintroduce native vegetation without the use of agricultural chemicals. One of the secrets is to create ground cover, covering the soil with a thick blanket of organic matter such as leaves and branches of trees that have been pruned. This reproduces the forest environment, stimulates interactions between pl.ants, and prevents soil erosion during the rainy season - which is right now. It didn´t take the students long to understand the logic behind this activity, (which is contrary to traditional practices that encourage clearing ground cover to discourage snakes and other forms of wildlife.) They were happy to share the reasons behind it with their family members who work on the farms - thereby spreading the good news and impacting ever more people.
All this inspired us with an idea. In our isolated rural area with a shortge of reliable transport and our precarious dirt roads (which can easily become impassable in the rains,) how can we reach more potential ecoleadersit? We decided to use the faithful Kombi van - bought a couple of years ago thanks to a Giving Tuesday campaign. Starting in the New Year, our doughty little Kombi, now baptised the IracaKombi, will be equipped with books, tools, games and, best of all, Iracambi staff and students, and will pay monthly visits to schools and community centers in the region, bringing environmental education to places that we haven´t yet been able to reach, and helping us discover ever more young ecoleaders.All this in conjunction with our regular programs held at Iracambi.
So that is the plan, and we couldn´t wait to share it with you. And of course thank you once again for your amazing support on our recent Giving Tuesday campaign. We don´t yet have the final figures to include matching funds raised that day, but as soon as we know we´ll be sure to update you!
Have a wonderful holiday season, and we´ll look forward to talking again soon,
Ari, Luiz, Ana Paula, Leandro, the Eco Leaders and the IraKombi