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.
As we progress the Brazilian Tapir (Tapirus terrestris) re-introduction programme, it is vital that the local communities are aware of the project and understand the value of Tapirs to the diversity of the forest.
Nicholas and Raquel are working with the Team on this vital issue – considering the possibility of the Tapirs advancing into local fields and feasting on manioc, corn and guava!
Brazilian Tapirs have been extinct for the last 100 years in the state of Rio de Janeiro. They can reach 300 kilos and their diet is based on fruits, leaves and shoots, making them very important seed dispersers and soil fertilizers.
It is not only the adults that are involved in this education programme however. Professor Maron Galliez and Joana Macedo recently organized a session with the Young Rangers.
After the Team explained what Tapir are and the reason for their re-introduction, there was a lively audience participation session which the Young Rangers thoroughly enjoyed.
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.
Our Young Ranger project covers many aspects of the REGUA project and the biodiversity of the Atlantic Forest. Sara Colmenares, a Colombian lady undertaking her doctorate degree at REGUA, is studying palm diversity along the altitudinal gradient at REGUA and within the Serra dos Órgãos National Park. Sara recently gave an excellent talk to the Young Rangers about palms and we’d like to say thank you to Sara for a most interesting talk.
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.
Two young brothers from the nearby town of Guapiaçu came down to REGUA yesterday for their weekly English lesson with Katerina Samara. Their English has been steadily improving over the last year by following these free voluntary lessons.
Katerina, who is of English descent, migrated to Guapiaçu two years ago after volunteering at REGUA. She fell in love with Barata, one of REGUA’s employee’s, and decided she would call Brazil her new home. On Mondays she offers English lessons to the kids from the area around the reserve. These free lessons enable local kids to learn English which would be very pricey or unaffordable otherwise.
To make yesterday’s lesson more interesting and to show the kids the benefit of learning English, Katerina gave the brothers a task to interview a Dutch volunteer that has been staying at the reserve. They asked him about life in The Netherlands and how much he has been enjoying his stay at REGUA so far. The brothers couldn’t believe how cold the Dutch climate is and they wouldn’t want to trade places for all the money in the world.
With the Young Ranger Programme in full swing, REGUA’s environmental officer Carlos Quintanilha took the 32 Rangers and some of their parents for a day visit to the Tres Picos Park.
The aim was to explain the principle objectives of the Park and its importance to the local communities living nearby. The children converged on the lawn at the entrance of the Park for a welcome talk explaining the history of the Park, followed by a stroll through the permanent exhibition at the visitor center and ending with a long walk to the famous Jequitibá tree famous for being one the largest in south east Brazil at over 40 metres tall and around 1000 years old.
The Young Rangers were also presented talks on the importance of water and stream conservation as well as soil structure with an introduction on soil horizons.