All posts by Rachel Walls

Accessibility in the Atlantic Rainforest

Caroline Begg on the Waterfall Trail

Staying at Regua over the next 2 weeks, we have a guest Caroline Begg staying at the Lodge.  During her time here, Caroline will be advising us on improving accessibility around the Lodge. Caroline has a disability called “Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia” and uses a mix of crutches and a wheelchair to get around.  Two wooden ramps have been fitted, one up to the veranda and one leading into Room Three as well as a grab rail in the shower area. These improvements enable Caroline to get around the Lodge independently.

During her first week, Caroline accessed the Yellow trail around the wetland on her wheelchair with some assistance over tree roots and where there are slight inclines. We bird watched along the way, taking a leisurely 3 hours to complete the trail.  She also participated in the weekly fitness class being held for REGUA staff at the conservation area. This class has been started to help staff member Lisa, who had her legs amputated last year to gain strength and improve her general fitness. During the week, we drove up part of the green trail and visited the new reforested area, the Protestant Land.

Caroline says she is impressed with the outstanding beauty of the reserve and the friendliness and willingness of the staff helping her to get around. Following Caroline’s visit, we will be looking to provide a room which is accessible for disabled visitors.

A poem about REGUA

A beautiful poem written by two of our guests.

Regifting farmland to nature
Replanting thousands of tress
Training, investing, employing
And other good works such as these.
All make the Guapiaçu Bird Lodge
A centre of hard work and hope,
As Nick and Raquel (and their family)
with challenge continue to cope.
Thanks to the girls in the kitchen
As breakfast, lunch, dinner they bring.
They clean, sort and tidy our bedroom
And cheerfully whistle and sing!

With guide Lelei all our birding
was exciting, worthwhile and fun.
They charmed birds from the trees like magicians
Though they wanted a little more sun.

David and Dor Merriott, Oxford, England
October 2015

Tree planting update

Seedlings one year on
Trees planted one year ago (© Sue Healey)

Earlier this year, a 9 hectare area of land in Matumbo was replanted. This land was acquired through fundraising by our invaluable partners, the World Land Trust and a total of 15,000 native trees were planted here. A year on and the trees are establishing themselves, as shown in this photograph.

This brings the total number of trees planted by REGUA to date up to 350,000!

Work will commence shortly on the next piece of land to be replanted. The difficult task of preparing the soil by scorching the non-native African grass has started, ready for the tree saplings to be planted towards the end of the year.

Learning English at REGUA

By Timo Kuijper, REGUA volunteer

Katerina english class
Katerina (left) with Timo (right) and the two students (© REGUA)

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.

New arachnid research at REGUA

7-spider-so_9866-chris-knowlesWe welcomed a new group of students from The Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, who arrived at REGUA this week. They will study spiders on the reserve and will be taught how to sample them. The REGUA list of arachnids was last updated in 2001 by Prof. Adriano Brilhante Kury. It is hoped this latest research will result in many new additions to our list!


Lisa (© Joy Braker)

One of our most valued and long-serving members of staff, Lisa is currently in hospital.

Those who have visited REGUA and stayed at the lodge will know Lisa as our main cook and housekeeper, preparing lovely meals for our guests and looking after the lodge.

The medical staff at Rio hospital have had to make the difficult decision to amputate both legs, so Lisa will have a slow recovery and have great changes to adapt to.

Lisa is a strong woman, who is dealing with this situation very positively. Her family are being tremendously supportive and her REGUA ‘family’ are helping with visits and practical assistance.

Everyone at REGUA sends her our love and best wishes and we look forward to her return.

Buy a T shirt and donate to REGUA’s tree planting programme

Tree shirts
Tree shirt

Great news! A US based company, Treeshirts have started to donate US$5 to REGUA for every `TreeShirt’ that they sell. That’s one tree planted for every shirt sold!  Treat yourself or buy one as a present. The t shirts can be shipped worldwide. They are made from sustainable fibres of bamboo, hemp and organic cotton.

Go to their website to make your purchase!shop/cy7u

By proudly wearing your TreeShirt you will be raising awareness about deforestation and encourage others to learn more about the importance of saving our rainforests.