Category Archives: Education

Post-graduates at REGUA

REGUA was delighted to receive 35 students from Rio de Janeiro’s Federal University undertaking their first MBE field trip.

This is a renowned business post-graduate course in Environmental Management aimed at preparing students to face the world of green responsibility in industry and government.

The Post-graduates at REGUA (© REGUA)

The group was able to learn about REGUA’s reforestation programme and see all stages of planting progress.  They enjoyed the day and returned to Rio with a valuable experience in the efforts needed to restore the Atlantic Rainforest.

 

Voluntary Forestry Brigade visit REGUA

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 Forestry Brigade with Nicholas and Raquel Locke (© Jorge Bizarro)

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.

Congratulations Miguel Conceição

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.

Miguel Conceição with sister, mother, Prof Carlos and Raquel Locke (© REGUA)

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.

Water Erosion Education

REGUA’s Prof. Carlos held a workshop with students

Professor Carlos with the students (© Sue Healey)

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.

An excited group (© Sue Healey)

 

Guide Training – part of REGUA’s Education work

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 course participants with REGUA staff (©REGUA)

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.

Great success for Miguel

Professor Carlos with Miguel (© Nicholas Locke)
Professor Carlos with Miguel (© Nicholas Locke)

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.

Miguel loves dragonflies and as a reward we presented REGUA publication A Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of the Serra dos Orgaos so Miguel can brush up his knowledge of these special creatures and guide future guests wanting to see them.

Young Ranger Programme

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.

Young Rangers
Young Rangers (© Gustavo Pedro)

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.

Young rangers learn about palms

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Sara talks about Palms at REGUA (© REGUA)

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.

Tom Locke

Centro de Estudos Valladares School visit REGUA

Continuing REGUA’s education programme, we were happy to welcome “Centro de Estudos Valladares” school from Cachoeiras de Macacu which recently held it’s annual Education seminar at REGUA’s conservation Centre.   Eighty secondary school children came to REGUA to share the event accompanied by 15 teachers.

Nicholas takes a class
Nicholas takes a class (© REGUA)

The essence of the series of activities within the Seminar is to stimulate citizenship,  by creating responsibility and encouraging the school children to understand that one day they will be members of society. The classroom activities included interactive discussions on history of the municipality; Atlantic rainforest biodiversity and quality of life.   The outdoor activities included walks using cameras as a means of perception.  All these activities are wrapped around environmental themes, ending in a panel of photos of nature and debates.

The children loved their visit and behaved very well. The event was a success and everyone had a great time promising to return to REGUA at the end of the year. The teachers also really enjoyed it and worked on presenting to the children the history of REGUA by researching the website. The results were amazing and left us very happy to see that what the project is doing is generating an understanding of our mission and their approval.

Nicholas with some of the teachers
Nicholas with some of the teachers (© REGUA)

Jacutinga at Funchal School

Jacutinga model
Jacutinga model

Funchal school recently organised a Science Day in which the Black-Fronted-Piping Guan (Aburria jacutinga) was the star of the day.

 

The reintroduction project of this species at REGUA will soon take place and Livia Dias, the biologist in charge of monitoring them was present with her young son, Artur.

 

With models of the bird and information on the re-introduction process,  and the part that these arboreal birds play in the overall biodiversity of the forest, the day was a great success.   Both Raquel Locke and Prof. Carlos from REGUA were delighted to attend.

Livia Dias, Raquel Locke and Staff at Funchal School
Livia Dias, Raquel Locke and Staff at Funchal School (©REGUA)

 

Meeting with local members of the community and especially education in local schools is a vital part of the re-introduction project and also fits well with REGUA’s mission to further environmental education work in the area.

 

Congratulations to the headmaster, teachers, pupils and staff for this wonderful event.

Tom Locke

Elias Faraht school 

Elias Faraht school in Cachoeiras Municipality has visited Regua in the previous two years and developed a regular visitation programme.    This third seminar was (as previously) drawing on their interest in our restored wetlands.   Using them as a base for interdisciplinary studies on hydrology, soil diversity, fauna and tree composition.

The teachers organised the seminar which consisted of students aged 13-15 presenting their work to an audience of parents and school staff.

The Seminar opened with REGUA`s slide presentation and ended with the REGUA GGV Project restoration video.

Special thanks to Professor Denecir, Elias Faraht´s Headmaster and Teachers for the support and recognition given to the project and the wonderful opportunity to promote REGUA´s Conservation and Environmental Education work in the municipality.

Black-fronted Piping-Guan

One of the most important aspects of any reintroduction programme is the education of the local community.    Part of the Black-fronted Piping-guan re-introduction project comprises a series of Teacher Training Courses for local schools.

Alecsandra Tassoni from SAVE Brasil (BirdLife International branch) recently held the first of a series of these courses at REGUA.    The event was attended by 15 teachers from three neighbouring schools in Guapiaçu, Matumbo and Funchal.

Alecsandra Tassoni (5th from right back row) with Raquel Locke (centre front) and local Teachers. (© REGUA)

The aim of these courses is to introduce this charismatic bird to local school teachers, and explain the background to the re-introduction, with details of its conservation status, its ecological role and the need to protect existing forests to guarantee the perpetuation of this and all species.

The teachers were keen to know abut the project and the importance of this bird to the biodiversity of the forest, and were delighted to have the educational material to support them back in the classroom.

The day was a great success and everyone learned much about the Black-fronted Piping-guan and its future release at REGUA.

REGUA – Building Relationships

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.

 

REGUA GGV Project Team
REGUA GGV Project Team (© Tatiana Horta)

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.

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.

School Tree Planting

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.

Children tree planting
Children tree planting (© REGUA)

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.

REGUA to reintroduce South American Tapir

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South American Tapir with GPS collar (© Patrícia Medici, INCAB)
tapir-reintroduction-team-00101-nicholas-locke
From left: Ruy, Carlos Salvador (UFRJ), Adrian Monjeau (Fundación Bariloche), Joana Macedo (Uerj), Maron Galliez (IFRJ)and Nicholas (© Nicholas Locke)

An extremely exciting piece of news! After much planning, REGUA is moving forward with our Tapir Reintroduction Programme.

The South American Tapir Tapirus terrestrial, also known as Lowland Tapir or Brazilian Tapir, is classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN, but would have been widespread in the Atlantic Forest of the state of Rio de Janeiro in south-east Brazil, before hunting and habitat destruction brought it to extinction. REGUA, with it’s forests protected from hunting, restored wetlands, and Education Programme, is an ideal site for this ground breaking project.

The REGUA Tapir Reintroduction Programme is led by Rio de Janeiro University Professor Fernando Fernandez, who has previously successfully released Red-rumped Agouti Dasyprocta leporina and Brown Howler Monkey Alouatta guariba in Rio de Janerio’s Tijuca Forest National Park, and is being carried out in partnership with Instituto Federal do Rio de Janeiro (IFRJ), Universidade Federal do Rio de Janiero (UFRJ), Universidade Federal Rural de Rio de Janeiro (UFRRJ), Universidade estaudual do Rio de Janeiro (Uerj) and the Three Peaks State Park (Parque Estadual dos Três Picos).

Local builder Ruy and the team of REGUA rangers are planning to build the tapir pen next month. Although these animals are notoriously obstinate, the one hectare pen will be made out of reinforced and treated eucalyptus posts constructed in the forest on the far side of the wetlands.

A pair of tapirs will come from a breeder in the city of Araxá, about 1,000 km away from REGUA. After a period of quarantine they will be released with a GPS transmitter attached to register their tracks. We are ready to go into the field and mark the area.

South American Tapir is the largest land mammal in South America and known as the “overalls of the forest” for scattering seeds of various species of plants, contributing to the maintenance of biodiversity. Joanna, the project’s Education Officer, will be informing the local schools and communities of the importance of this species’ reintroduction to the environment.

This is the first time tapirs will be released and it is very exciting for us to be part of the project.

The 6th Annual visit by Miraflores School

In the Tree Nursery
In the Tree Nursery with Nicholas (© REGUA)

REGUA celebrated its 6th annual tree planting event with Miraflores Bilingual School from Rio de Janeiro.   The children are up to around 8 years old and they have often woken up at four in the morning in sheer anticipation of their day visit to REGUA.

The children are very excited and most interested in the activities presented.    One can easily reach them by holding their attention.   Miraflores requires that the entire visit is conducted in English and the children readily follow the explanations.

Arriving at REGUA they have breakfast and then depart for Amanda’s hide followed by a walk to the observation platform.   Although they are looking for caimans and capybaras in the wetland, they make a lot of noise thereby frightening off all wildlife!

They then walk around the yellow trail which can take another half an hour and we explain the importance of trees as we walk along.   Eventually they reach the Conservation Centre very thirsty.

Planting Trees
Planting the Trees (© REGUA)

After refreshing cold water they are taken to the tree nursery where they learn about our tree planting programme.   They learn that the seeds are collected from the forest then planted in seed boxes and nurtured.   The young plants are later transferred to earth filled plastic bags.   Then the fun comes when the children are taken to our tree planting area where they help to plant the saplings out, creating a new forest.

The children complete each process agog with interest and compete to water the plants in the field.     Even the teachers and headmaster get teary-eyed as he explains that the forests around him are fruit of earlier groups visiting REGUA.

We are so pleased to be able to offer them this area which they cherish and call their own forest.