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.
SavingSpecies is a US based charity led by Stuart Pimm and Clinton Jenkins. These are the finest conservation biologists, internationally respected for championing the environment. Stuart and Clinton visited together with a potential donor who may help us acquire an important piece of land to integrate REGUA.
Stuart and Clinton were also visited by UERJ ornithologist Maria Alice Alves who had helped them predict the location of the Grey-winged Cotinga on the mountain tops close by. They also had a chance to hear the conservation status of the Patagonian Hooded Grebe as explained by volunteers Bob and Gaitlin from the US.
The evening conversations flowed and subjects ranged from project development to vision building and funding capacity.
We need “hands-on” locally run environmental projects protecting threatened species and REGUA is all about habitat protection and has been able to include its local communities in the responsibility of the needed conservation work. There is hope!
On August 24th, Regua hosted the Inaugural RPPN(*) or “Reserva Particular do Patrimônio Natural” Scientific Seminar in Rio de Janeiro state.
INEA – Rio de Janeiro State Environmental Agency – encourages land owners to create their own private reserves which are officially recognized by the state government. RPPN status allows no direct use of the land but allows activities such as environmental education, sustainable tourism and scientific research to be carried out. Much of REGUA’s land has been granted RPPN status and three new areas were finalised last August.
There were over 100 participants attending the event that started in the morning and continued until the evening.
Studies on forest ecology, flora and fauna inventories were presented to a very interested audience.
Land owners, university professors, undergraduates, post graduates, state and municipal authorities enjoyed this seminar which enriched everyone´s knowledge on the Atlantic Forest.
*The nearest English translation would be Private Natural Heritage Reserve
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.