A windy and cloudy Saturday full of activities as the Education Officers of the Guapiaçu Grande Vida team held a student training course.
They are being taught to use the water-monitoring kit which they will use in the Macacu and Guapiaçu rivers. Arriving in the morning for breakfast they left after lunch with a certificate acknowledging they had completed this twenty hour course in three sessions.
The syllabus included topics such as river basin management, mapping, environmental education and it’s relevance as a tool for conservation, use of trails and open public areas with an educational approach, water cycle and water sampling for physical and chemical analysis.
Another successful day with enthusiastic students and tutors.
The latest news on our second GGV Project from REGUA’s Vice-President, Raquel Locke:
The much expected rain has finally arrived and the entire landscape has been relieved from a near two-month drought.
The GGV Petrobras funded project aims at restoring a further 60 hectares of degraded land with native trees over a two-year period. (The first project restored 100 hectares).
On average, 1667 trees will be planted per hectare by a team of six Rangers who are very keen to start with their work. An array of 100 native Atlantic Forest tree species will be planted in this area. Tree matrices in REGUA´s forests provide the template for our planting of species.
The young trees are grown in REGUA’s nursery. The seeds are carefully brought down from the forest by our nursery staff. Once in the nursery, seeds are either stored or sown in seed beds according to their characteristics and demands.
It is interesting to note that some tree species need shade all through their time in the nursery, whilst other species need half or full exposure to sunlight. Their pioneer, early secondary, late secondary and climax species characteristics dictate these requirements.
The rainy season heralds the start of our planting season, beginning in October and ending late March.
Staff and tree saplings will be transported to the planting sites which are on average some six kilometres from REGUA´s Conservation Centre.
The much-improved road access to Pai Velho area in Areal vicinity has just been completed which should make the task more efficient.
Guapiaçu Grande Vida (GGV) Petrobrás funded project is back at REGUA!
On September 11th the GGV team gathered at REGUA to start the work which will be carried out during the next two years.
With the restoration of a further 60 hectares of degraded land and the monitoring of water quality in the Guapiaçú and Macacu rivers (at six fixed points in both rivers upstream and downstream), the GGV project aims at contributing to the safeguarding of a healthy forest ecosystem and fresh water availability for human consumption.
The innovation of the GGV second phase is the inclusion of Cachoeiras de Macacu County Council as a formal partner with the assignment of a teacher and a biologist to assist the GGV Environmental Education staff.
The GGV official launch took place on September 21st at the County Council headquarters in Cachoeiras de Macacu town. Petrobras representatives, local authorities including the Council´s Mayor and civil society representatives attended the ceremony.
The GGV monitoring of 100 hectares planted in 2013 will be included as part of the forest restoration programme. A training course for this purpose will be held for the tree-planting staff at REGUA’s Conservation Centre. Growth rates and biomass are to be measured by the students.
The GGV Environmental Education programme based on the monitoring of water quality in the Guapiaçú and Macacu rivers will select 40 students from one County Council run school and one State run school in Cachoeiras de Macacu town. The selected group of students are currently undertaking their first and second year of secondary school level education. The students will be selected according to their grades and their interest to take part in this innovative water quality monitoring of the Guapiaçú and Macacu rivers. The GGV Environmental Education team will use rented vehicles to transport the students from their schools to the water monitoring sites.
The Environmental Education programme will also organize a teacher training course and a training course for nature guides. These two courses envision the use of the wetland trails maximising their educational potential for school and group visits.
REGUA have been invited to attend meetings of the Eastern Bay of Guanabara Watershed Committee (held in Niteroi city) which is gaining momentum and reputation. The Group discuss and plan the future requirements of water use for the general public, government and industry.
This is an important committee to have representation in, as the concept of payments for ecological services is gradually being discussed and could possibly soon be implemented. REGUA may be eligible for future payments as we protect the water of the Guapiaçu river and restore forests in the watershed.
Raquel Locke, REGUA’s Vice President and Lorena an independent mapping consultant working with REGUA, will attend these meetings. The Rio de Janeiro Government accepts and understands the strategic importance of the eastern Guanabara bay area for the provision of clean drinking water to eastern Rio de Janeiro and its metropolitan areas.
The Guapiaçu and Macacu rivers have their sources in Cachoeiras de Macacu Municipality. Together they provide water to over 3.5 million people in Metropolitan Rio de Janeiro and the inclusion of REGUA within this initiative enables us to encourage the replication of our model within this vital area.
REGUA’s collaboration in the Guapiaçu Grande Vida Project brought many long-term advantages to the Reserve. A team made up of professionals with experience in project management, forest engineering, public engagement, education from school to local authority level, mapping, publicity and media promotion. All had roots in the municipality and together were able to develop and implement a project that took REGUA into the main stream of conservation work in Brazil.
During the two and a half years of the project, GGV was a tremendous success. Planting 100 hectares of Atlantic Forest with 180,000 trees, mapping almost half the 450km ² watershed, consolidating an education programme involving 5,000 school children and responsible for REGUA’s first scientific seminar with 50 works amongst University researchers.
The project helped upscale REGUA’s capacity in forest restoration, fostered an understanding of the municipal’s environmental importance and enabled REGUA to identify land use and forest cover, which in turn helped prioritize areas for further land purchase. The project terminated at the end of 2015, but we are grateful for their contribution.
The team, although dispersed, continues to be active. Gabriela now works for German development bank GIZ, promoting development work across Brazil, she also runs her own environmental consultancy. Tatiana and Bruno have returned to teaching. Nathalie is working in tourism in her own lodge.
Lorena is an independent geographer and continues to have ties with REGUA, representing the institution at the Guanabara Watershed Committee and Agenda 21 meetings. Aline is a freelance Forestry Engineer working with REGUA to design new planting areas and continuing to monitor previous reforestation areas.
Professor Carlos works at REGUA on a part-time basis, expanding our Schools Outreach and Young Ranger programmes whilst Ana Caroline has joined the staff continuing to give REGUA her best in the office.
REGUA is very grateful for their input and proud to be able to play a part in the continued success of these valued friends and welcome their support in the future.
Raquel Locke was recently asked by the Environmental Police chief in Cachoeiras de Macacu to consider the possibility of having a group of children (around 60, ages 10-11) planting trees at Regua.
The Environmental Police has begun an Environmental Education state programme which includes the planting of trees with land owners. Considering Regua´s successful tree planting programme, we considered this a very appropriate opportunity to encourage local children to plant trees.
The local municipality-run school “Alberto Montero Barbosa” came to Regua on a beautiful sunny Autumn day. The children were delighted with the prospect of planting their first tree at Regua.
From the Visitor Centre we walked to the field opposite the nursery where Mauricio had prepared the area for planting the trees. Great joy and excitement while the the planting was taken place!
It was arranged that the children should come back at the end of the year to check on the trees’ development. The partnership between the Environmental Police, local school and Regua has proved very successful and we are hoping to engage in many other school tree planting events.