We were fortunate to receive birders David Nemazie and René Santos at REGUA recently. David is chief of staff for Environmental Science at University of Maryland USA, and René is a super bird guide who brought him here.
The State of Maryland is twinned with the State of Rio de Janeiro with both Chesapeake Bay and Rio’s Guanabara Bay having geographical and environmental similarities. Both coastal bays have similar environmental issues due to large populations and associated problems with waste water treatment, storm water, and habitat degradation.
In 2014, the Governor of the State of Rio concerned with the Olympics in 2016 approached Maryland’s governor and asked him and the University for guidance in cleaning Rio’s Bay following their success. Rio’s governor obtained support from INEA (RJ Environmental State Agency), UFRJ (RJ University) and other partners to provide the first step, the elaboration of the “Guanabara Bay Report Card”
It now is up to all of us to engage the wider public with programmes in awareness and education to help the Government define priorities and actions that will contribute to a better care for our Guanabara Bay, home to river dolphins and seahorses.
REGUA received members of the Rio de Janeiro voluntary Forestry Brigade, a grass roots organization made up of professional people from Rio city who are committed to conservation.
The Team arrived on a lovely Saturday morning to enjoy a walk around the wetlands and discuss opportunities to support REGUA’s work. Among the issues discussed during the day were potential for help in combatting hunting and forest fires, first aid courses and community engagement through education programmes, these are all issues which could be used to support landowners across the globe. With REGUA’s successful Ranger Team, Community, Young Ranger and School education programme we were delighted to host the event and share our own experiences.
The Brigade would like to include REGUA as a place where they can stage weekend events including hiking on the forest trails on the prowl for any hunters.
Many members are retired but totally committed to forest protection and very keen to support REGUA activities.
As in many of our Young Ranger programmes, the students are taken to the latest area of reforestation – eleven years on and this year was no different.
On one recent visit to the Morro Pai Velho, local resident João and his wife saw the group of Young Rangers on their work without adequate footwear. He decided there and then to order 30 pairs of wellington boots to equip the students.
He said that when he was growing up, he hadn’t any to wear and was so impressed by REGUA’s commitment to the younger generation that he wanted to find a way to reward them with this generous present.
REGUA recently hosted the Atlantic Rainforest Restoration Pact workshop. The Restoration Pact is made up of all the environmental projects that are in some ways contributing to increasing forest cover in the biome.
Headed by the Brazilian organization CEPAN, and funded by German development bank, KfW, REGUA hosted this three day workshop with professionals in the field o
f restoration from all over Brazil.
Severino and Ludmilla, led the group and the aim of the three days here was to test and improve monitoring techniques needed for the Pact restoration process.
Itself a member, this was also an opportunity to present REGUA’s work and the group was divided into three teams to test the techniques the Pact had developed. Out in the field the groups were very impressed with REGUA’s forest restoration process which left us not only proud of our efforts but committed to continue reforesting.
This is often the type of support needed to reach out and keep up the motivation factor. We are only too happy to contribute.
REGUA’s Young ranger Miguel Conceição has successfully completed his guide training course with honours. The course was administrated by the State organisation, INEA and Três Picos State Park with the aim to qualify and prepare youths as professional guides in the region’s parks.
The course focuses on youngsters who like nature and Miguel was selected after showing a real aptitude for nature in our Young Ranger programme.
Everyone at REGUA is very proud of his achievement – it just shows that with determination and perseverance one can achieve great things. Our education officer Professor Carlos is thrilled with his star pupil however, he is adamant, that all of the youngsters participating in this course have the capability to achieve this type of success.
As Miguel says, “It is my dream to become a biologist”. His mother is rightly very proud and overjoyed as the course has inspired and instilled many values with the local youngsters, and says REGUA has been the best thing to happen to her family. Wow!!!
We owe it to people like Miguel who believe in what we are doing and are prepared to take up the opportunities that are offered their life. Thank you also to INEA for offering the chance to change this young man’s life.
REGUA’s Prof. Carlos held a workshop with students
ts from a Cachoeiras de Macacu Secondary School. They were here to find out about the importance of trees to the provision of reliable clean water.
After a short talk, they watched a practical demonstration by Prof. Carlos, showing how when the land is devoid of trees, often compacted, eroded and maybe built upon, the rain runs straight off into the nearby river courses. When the rain is heavy this can lead to flooding, but in any event it takes with it silt and any residual chemicals previously used on the land.
On the other side of our model valley there are trees. Their roots bind the soil, reducing erosion and allowing the surface of the land to accept the rain, filtering it and slowing down the risk of any flooding. After watching as water was poured over both sides of the valley, highlighting the differences, the students went off to see the reforested areas around the wetlands.
The Rio de Janeiro Birding Calender for 2017 successfully kicked off on March 11th and 12th at REGUA.
Some 30 local birders came to enjoy the wetlands and waterfall trail. An early start, followed by Cirilo’s guiding enabled many first time birders to walk the yellow trail and see many of the over 180 species found in this habitat.
There were ample opportunities to present the work that REGUA has been devoted to and the project’s future plans.
People are always very receptive and positive and the end of the day was filled with promises of return visits and future enjoyment.
Rio’s State Environmental Institute (INEA) organized a summer training course called “Trail Guiding” whose target audience were participants from the local areas of Cachoeiras de Macacu and Guapimirim. Thirty people enrolled in this course including REGUA’s young ranger Miguel – just shows how inspiring REGUA can be!
The aim is to prepare local guides to help visitors at the Três Picos Park and Natural Park at Macacu. The guides love nature and need to gain experience, knowledge and confidence to show visitors all the beauty and diversity of the Atlantic Forest.
Part of the course covers Bird guiding, and as Regua’s guides have become well known for their skill and knowledge, we were happy to host the birdwatching event around our restored wetlands. Adilei de Carvalho and Cirilo Vieira, Regua’s bird guides, were in charge of the training, giving a talk on what birding is about and showed them some of the most representative lowland species in the wetlands.
Miguel Ferreira de Conceição is a young lad from the local community of Matumbo who has a passion for nature.
He comes from a humble background and is now 21 years old, but since joining the Young Ranger programme seven years ago, he found his desire for the future – wanting to work in tourism.
REGUA’s resident teacher Professor Carlos has always been supportive and encouraged him, and a month ago Miguel participated in a test that offered opportunities for a professional “Park visitor guide” course organized by the State Government Institute (INEA).
We were all thrilled that of the 50 applicants, Miguel took third place; a testimony to the value and contribution of REGUA’s Young Ranger programme.
Miguel has started the course and is rightly proud of his achievements. It is rewarding and very satisfying for us to see direct life-changing benefits that can reach deep into other people lives.
REGUA’s Young Rangers programme has been very successful this year with a huge participation by local adolescents.
REGUA’S teacher, locally known as ‘Professor Carlos’ has divided the entire group of 30 children into two age groups helping to keep them focused on the subjects he believes important.
This year marked its 11th anniversary and the results could not be more positive.
The aim of the programme is to remind the children that not only do they live in a precious environment but they are responsible for its care. The weekly visits to REGUA provide opportunities for lessons in the environment, social development punctuated with walks and visits, activities in the local community, lectures by resident researchers and excursions. The Young Rangers love it and every year increasingly more children want to join the programme.