Earth Month Wrap Up: Invest in Our Future to Empower the Next Generation of Conservationists

As Earth Month comes to a close in these final days of April, we want to share some of the inspiring ways that supporters like you have helped empower future generations of conservationists. Whether we’re talking with local students who have grown up surrounded by rainforest or classrooms of students continents away, we have seen how enthusiastic young people in the Amazon and around the globe are about protecting the planet and its forests. 

At Amazon Conservation, Investing in Our Future means encouraging this appreciation for the Amazon and supporting future conservationists by:

  1. Supporting local programs that help ensure today’s youth have the space and resources to learn about and feel inspired to protect their local forests. Programs like the Children’s Forest in the Bolivian community of Motacusal help safeguard spaces where communities can pass on local forest knowledge to their children and ensure that future generations have the opportunity to continue living healthy lives in the Amazon.

    Your contribution of just $25 can help safeguard 15 acres of forest to protect the home and resources of local Amazonian communities like Motacusal for future generations.

  2. Creating opportunities for local youth to learn about the importance of their local forests and species and how to keep the Amazon standing. We believe environmental education is fundamental in inspiring young people to become conservationists, like the recently inaugurated Andean Bear Interpretation Center at our Wayqecha Conservation Hub in the cloud forests near Cuzco, Peru, located in an area encompassing a uniquely biodiverse landscape that bridges the Andes Mountains and the Amazon Rainforest. The Interpretation Center is an important space for connecting local youth with the nature and science of their region and empowering them to support local conservation efforts and become stewards of their forest.

    Your contribution of just $50 sponsors one local student to take part in an environmental education program that utilize resources like the Andean Bear Interpretation Center at Wayqecha to teach them about the local ecosystem, wildlife species, and the important role of protecting local habitat and resources to conserve the larger Amazon.

  3. Providing new tools and resources for local students in the Amazon to observe and interact with their forests and native wildlife in new ways. These tools, paired with environmental education programs in local schools, help empower and inspire future generations of conservationists.

    Last December, we delivered 7 new high-quality binoculars to a school in the Municipality of Puerto Rico in the northern Bolivian Amazon and hosted a workshop with the school of 26 students between 4 and 16 years old to demonstrate how to use the binoculars to observe and record wildlife in the forests around their community. For many of these students, the experience provided new insight into the importance of preserving the forests in and around their community.

    Your contribution of just $100 can provide one set of new high-quality binoculars to local youth like those in Puerto Rico to empower them to learn about their forests and local wildlife in new ways.

  4. Ensuring field experience and opportunities for local scientists to contribute to ground-breaking research and local conservation efforts at our Conservation Hubs. In 2022, supporters like you funded research scholarships to 4 young Peruvian scientists through the Catto Shaw 2022 internship program to spend seven months with Team Ukuku working to restore Andean bear habitat and food sources at our Wayqecha Conservation Hub. These scholarship programs are central to our work because they provide local scientists with competitive field experience, space to explore their home country’s ecosystems and biodiversity, and opportunities to better understand the importance of their local forests for the larger Amazon region.

    Click to learn more about Yessenia’s work with Team Ukuku.

    Your contribution of $1000 can help provide a scholarship for one local student to conduct field work and gain valuable biology experience at one of our research stations, thus inspiring future generations of local scientists to help conserve the Amazon.

  5. Encouraging young supporters globally to get involved and help save the Amazon. Earlier this year, we partnered with Year 4 students at Avonwood Primary School in the United Kingdom to put together a fundraiser to raise £100 to raise awareness about the Amazon and our Los Amigos Conservation Hub in Peru. The 8-year-old students learned about the important species that depend on the rainforest and created wildlife portraits to fill a virtual gallery that they centered in their fundraiser to spread awareness and raise more than £170 for the Amazon, surpassing their goal by 70%!

    Thanks to these young students eager to make a difference and their family and friends for supporting them, we know the future of the Amazon and the planet depends on supporting our youngest conservationists today.

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Peru Shares RAMI Technology and Training Against Illegal Mining with Brazil

Experts from Conservación Amazónica – ACCA in Peru hosted a training workshop in the use of the RAMI (Radar Mining Monitoring) tool at an event with the goal of building capacity and transferring technology to specialists in environmental monitoring at the Ministry of Environment and Sustainability (SEMAS) in the Brazilian state of Pará.

Peruvian and Brazilian monitoring teams during the workshop.

The main objective of the training workshop held this past April 12-14 was to replicate Peru’s gold mining monitoring system in Brazil’s Tapajós River basin, located in Pará, using detection with radar images. In addition, it focused on improving SEMAS staff’s capacity to use free and open-source resources to process large amounts of data using the Google Earth Engine platform.

Conservación Amazónica – ACCA’s Director of GIS and Conservation Technology Sidney Novoa highlighted the similarities between Brazil’s and Peru’s territories, such as the presence of Indigenous territories, conservation and environmental protection areas, and national parks, which at times overlap with miners’ rights and mining licenses, generating land and resource conflicts. Because of these similarities, valuable lessons learned in Peru related to the implementation of monitoring technology may also be applicable in the Tapajós region. In addition, Sidney added that the technology transfer used to fight illegal mining in Peru was made possible thanks to the support of the Institute of Forest and Agricultural Management and Certification (IMAFLORA), which works closely with authorities from Brazil’s Ministry of Environment and Sustainability (SEMAS) who have also hired a local specialist to adapt the methodology to the region’s needs.

The RAMI tool, developed through a collaboration between Peruvian experts from Conservación Amazónica – ACCA and SERVIR-Amazonia, is a new geospatial technology tool that has been successfully implemented in the Madre de Dios region of Peru to help detect illegal gold mining activities. During the recent training workshop, our monitoring specialists shared their knowledge about RAMI’s programming language, data interpretation, and data qualification with the Brazilian environmental monitoring specialists.

Sidney Novoa shares Madre de Dios’s experience with implementing RAMI.

SEMAS Secretary Mauro O’de Almeida explained that the Tapajós region was chosen for the RAMI operation because of the high levels of illegal gold mining activity. He hopes that this tool will help address the problem of illegal mining, which is a major challenge for environmental management in Pará and negatively impacts the region’s economy and natural resources.

RAMI will be a critical tool in reinforcing SEMAS’s environmental control and monitoring strategy by helping combat illegal mining, supervising licensed companies, and protecting the environment and communities that depend on these natural resources. In addition, this technology will be shared with other federal agencies in Pará to strengthen the fight against illegal mining and help ensure the sustainability of the Amazon.

RAMI is implemented by Conservación Amazónica – ACCA thanks to support of the SERVIR-Amazonia, a program developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the United States Agency for Development International (USAID).

Celebrating the First Anniversary of the First Protected Area in Cobija in Northwestern Bolivia

This April, the Municipality of Cobija in the Department of Pando along with our sister organization in Bolivia, Conservación Amazónica – ACEAA, celebrated the first anniversary of the city’s first and only protected area. The Arroyo Bahía Conservation Area (known by the acronym ANGICAB in Spanish) protects 8,952 acres (3,623 hectares) of forests and critical water sources. The area has also been identified by the Bolivian government as a priority for biodiversity conservation.

ANGICAB was established in April 2022 thanks to support from the Andes Amazon Fund with the goal of protecting the Arroyo Bahía stream and watershed, which provide freshwater to more than 80,000 people including residents of Cobija, surrounding communities in the Department of Pando, and communities neighboring Pando in Peru to the west and in Brazil to the north and east. The conservation area also protects a range of flora and fauna, including more than 351 plant, 35 amphibian, 13 reptile, 185 bird, 32 mammal, and 30 fish species.

Since the 1980s, the Arroyo Bahía watershed has steadily lost forest cover due to a growing demand for land to raise livestock, which has progressively led to greater erosion, soil compaction, and sedimentation that clogs streams. This in turn has impacted forest regeneration, water and soil pollution, and a drop in water quality and potability for local residents. Local forest harvesters in the region have also noted a decrease in the production of Brazil nut trees in recent years in relation to these changes in the local forests and watershed.

Thanks to the establishment of ANGICAB, the local government of Cobija and Conservación Amazónica – ACEAA are optimistic that local residents will engage more in taking care of their local conservation area and protect the watershed from contamination and deforestation for their own health, the health of the ecosystem, and the health of the larger Amazon region. Conservación Amazónica – ACEAA continues to work together with the local government and local communities to complement sustainable land and water management through ANGICAB with programs that support sustainable livelihoods for local families and promote strategies that help mitigate floods, fires, pollution, and the effects of climate change.

Photos from the anniversary event in Cobija celebrating the town’s natural beauty and featuring murals by local artist Alvaro Huayllas.