Charity Spotlight: This post was provided by Jana Bell, President and Chair of Amazon Rainforest Conservancy, as part of our ongoing charity spotlight series.
The jungle is so unreal.
When I first stepped off the boat, deep in the Amazon Rainforest in Peru, the colours, sounds, and smells assaulted my senses. The heat and the humidity were incredible. There was so much noise: macaws screeching, monkeys howling, insects buzzing. There were multi coloured butterflies fluttering around me, leaf cutter ants marching below me, towering trees being strangled by thick vines that looked like big snakes. It was an unbelievable and wonderful scene.
Before this adventure in April 2011, my knowledge of the Amazon was limited to what I had seen watching Hollywood action movies. When I arrived, after two plane rides, a bus ride and a long boat ride, I felt like I was on one of those Hollywood movie sets.
But it was also peculiar. As I stood in the thickness of the vegetation, sweating, the strangest feeling came over me – although I had never been to the jungle before, and in spite of all the dangers, it seemed familiar and like a safe place.
When I returned to Canada, I felt really sad. I felt the same sadness I had felt all through my first summer at sleepover camp when I was 10 years old I was homesick, this time for the jungle, and I knew I had to go back.
And back I went – eight times in the last three years. On these subsequent trips I enjoyed the magic of the jungle, but I also became aware of the destruction that is still occurring. Ancient primary rainforest trees are being cut down.
Rivers are being poisoned by the use of mercury in gold mining.
Newly built roads slice through the rainforest and the territories of uncontacted indigenous tribes. I felt an overwhelming responsibility to do something.
PROJECT BRAZIL NUTS AND MACAWS.
Amazon Rainforest Conservancy (ARC) is a team of Canadians and Peruvians working together to purchase threatened tropical rainforest habitats in Peru. Our first project is a 616-hectare parcel of land in Tambopata, Madre de Dios. 603 hectares of this land is an intact ancient primary rainforest ecosystem sheltering an abundance of flora and fauna species. We are very excited because this land contains cedar trees, which have been logged to extinction in most parts of the Amazon due to their economic value. The land also contains mature ironwood trees – an endangered hardwood species that is essential for the survival of the macaw. These trees take centuries to grow large enough for cavities to form in their trunks, creating the dry nesting sites macaws need and use for many decades. The land also contains approximately 100 mature brazil nut trees which can be harvested annually by the local indigenous communities. We will work with the local communities on using the land in additional ways for sustainable livelihood practices.
We plan to build a small biological station on the land to be used for education and research in biodiversity and tropical conservation. We will invite volunteers, graduate students and researchers from around the world to stay here. We plan on creating partnerships with universities to work together with the communities on conservation, environmental education projects and collaborative research opportunities. We hope to encourage the next generation to enter into tropical field research and conserving global biodiversity.
We can do this, and so much more, with support. If you have a passion for the natural world and a dedication to protecting the amazon rainforest, come and join us!
To learn more about Amazon Rainforest Conservancy, visit their charity profile page>>>