Category Archives: Events

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)

Meeting old friends at the British Birdfair

Past volunteers
Ian Loyd, Raquel Locke, and Henry Cook at the Bird Fair, 2016 (© Nicholas Locke)

It is always a pleasure to meet up with friends and especially REGUA’s past volunteers who have contributed so much to the project. This gives us the special feeling that we mutually benefited from opportunities at an important point of time.

In the case of Henry Cook and Ian Loyd, nothing could be more agreeable than seeing them at the British Birdfair this year. Both had stayed at REGUA in 2013 to help guide visitors at REGUA and both are phenomenal birders and lovers of nature.

Henry is currently working at a nature reserve in North Wales and Ian is now working for a wildlife tour company. We wish them all the deserved success and thank them for having spent time with us.

Celebrating 10 years at the British Birdfair

Birdfair team 2016 – (from left): Alan Martin, Sue Healey, Lee Dingain, Rachel Walls, Raquel Locke and Nicholas Locke (Photo by Edson Endrigo)
Past volunteer bird guide Ken Sutton (right) also helped out on the stand (Photo by Lee Dingain)
Nicholas gives a talk in the Anglian Water Marquee on 19th (Photo by Lee Dingain)

Raquel and I attended the British Birdwatching Fair that took place from 19th – 21st August at at Egleton Nature Reserve, Rutland Water, UK, to mark REGUA’s 10th anniversary at this globally important event.

Organized by REGUA volunteers, Rachel Walls, Lee Dingain and Sue Healey, with the additional support from Alan Martin, the stand offered a formidable team to meet the public with their interest and enquiries.

The Birdfair is one of the best venues to present REGUA’s conservation efforts and results to date as well as showcase the great birds whose habitat it seeks to protect.

Considering this was our first time at the Birdfair, both Raquel and I found it of overwhelming proportions given the number of marquees, stands and visitors present.

So many visitors passed by the REGUA stand to say hello and we were touched by the compliments received from all those who had visited REGUA over the last few years.

On behalf of the REGUA project and all those who work here, we wanted to thank everyone who came by to meet us or to say hello, but above all to especially thank Lee, Rachel, and Sue for their passion and zeal in the Birdfair preparation for what we thought the best stand ever, and to Alan and Ken Sutton for their attentive support in caring for so many visitors at the stand. Also, thanks to Ken Coppleston for carving a number of beautiful wooden toucan napkin holders (that we use in the lodge) for us to sell on the stand.

This year’s Birdfair coincided with the end of the World Land Trust Olympic Forest Reserve Appeal to raise £40,000 to purchase 221 ha of primary Atlantic Forest in the upper Guapiaçu valley and protect this as a reserve to celebrate the Rio 2016 Olympics (more on this shortly).

We were fortunate enough to have our Wildscreen film shown on the huge screen in the food court, and also for the first time REGUA gave two lectures at the Birdfair, both of which were very well attended.

Thank you to everyone who came and supported us. We look forward to seeing some of you at REGUA soon.

Birdfair 2016: 19th – 21st August, Rutland Water, UK


The British Birdwatching Fair, most often known simply as the Birdfair, is an annual event for birdwatchers that has been held each August since 1989 at Rutland Water in England. REGUA has been represented at the Birdfair by our British volunteers Rachel Walls and Lee Dingain since 2007, when we were invited by our partners, the World Land Trust, to use part of their stand.

To celebrate our tenth year at the Birdfair, Nicholas and Raquel have flown to the UK to take part. Nicholas and Raquel will spending time with our regular volunteers Alan Martin, Sue Healey, Rachel Walls and Lee Dingain on the stand.

Nicholas will also be giving two talks (sponsored by the World Land Trust) in the Anglian Water Birdwatching Centre:

Friday 11:00 – 11:20: A conservation case study in the Atlantic Rainforest, Brazil by Nicholas Locke
Saturday 11:00 – 11:20: The Olympic Forest Reserve: preserving threatened habitat in Brazil by Nicholas Locke

In addition, our Wildscreen film, narrated by Michael Palin and produced by Verity White/Five Films, will be being shown regularly in the food marquee.

If you coming to the Birdfair, make sure you come by and visit us in marquee 1, stand 37. We look forward to seeing you.

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.

Tree Planting in Cachoeiras de Macacu

Pope Francis is very popular in Cachoeiras de Macacu the nearest town to REGUA.   The Catholic Church wanted to celebrate his recent encyclical on nature by planting 1,000 trees  in Cachoeiras de Macacu’s Municipal Park located at the entrance of the town.

Tree Planting in Cachoeiras de Macacu
Tree Planting in Cachoeiras de Macacu Park (© Nicholas Locke)

REGUA had seedlings available and offered them to the Park.  The excited tree planters appeared promptly at 10.00 am and after a brief thank you sermon, everyone walked to the area to plant their trees.    Children and their families participated in the event and within 90 minutes the work was done.

This was a great job and the afternoon rain came to bathe the trees. The Forest Police also celebrated the act by releasing some cage birds and the children were delighted making further plans to reopen the overgrown paths in the Park.

Releasing caged birds in Cachoeiras
Releasing Caged birds (© Nicholas Locke)

Where there is a will there is a way !

INEA encourages birding in the Três Picos Park

REGUA's first INEA Birdwatching Event
REGUA’s first INEA birdwatching event

The Instituto Estadual do Ambiente (INEA) is Rio de Janeiro’s State environmental institute, a government body which has overall responsibility the administration and licensing of large areas of protected land. These protected areas can become conservation units and can be found in many differing habitats – on the coast, at sea and inland. They take various forms, from reserves and scientific areas to state parks.

INEA has created nine large state parks in Rio de Janeiro to date, the largest being the Três Picos State Park created in 2002, named after the stunning three peaks that form part of the Serra dos Órgãos mountain range. This park, of almost 70,000 hectares, covers forested mountains in five municipalities.

It is not easy creating a park on previously private land and although the government wishes to guarantee the continual preservation of areas of high biodiversity, the act of licensing and protecting the land is never popular with land owners. Very often the financial means are not available to compensate the landowners but at least the decree translates to land use and a loose layer of protection.

Considering 80% of REGUA land overlaps the Três Picos State Park, REGUA has developed a strong working partnership with INEA on this land favouring protection, research and tourism – all non-impacting activities that ultimately contribute to the conservation of the land.

One such activity that the INEA encourages action is in Bird-watching and last weekend REGUA hosted a visit by members of the public in an activity sponsored by INEA. More than 25 people arrived including men, women and children, all carrying cameras and binoculars. Luana Bianquini, herself a great birder, helped organise the event and introduced the reserve to the public who walked the wetland trail to see the birds found here.

It was a successful event that left everyone very content and we hope to see them all again in the near future.

Brazilian bird fair 2015

Nicholas and Raquel Locke (©REGUA)
Nicholas and Raquel Locke (© REGUA)

REGUA was present at the Brazilian bird fair which was held in São Paulo. Popularly known as Avistar, the fair is held over three days.

This is the most important event in birding circles in Brazil. It attracts those who want to work in nature, especially bird guides and lodges. It gives an opportunity to share experiences, news of the bird species, published material and meet the tour companies. Various lectures are offered and Avistar is the best way to widen contact bases in a most participative way.

An exhibition in memory of Nature photographer, Luis Claudio Marigo, a staunch supporter of REGUA was held. There was also time to update information on the Black-fronted Piping-Guan reintroduction project which is due to take place on the reserve later this year. Many smaller projects visited the fair and REGUA was invited to share its experience and put forward suggestions to help them to reach their goals and mature their projects.

Many thanks to Gute Carvalho for arranging a most successful 10th year event.

Latin America Darwin Scholarship Programme to be held at REGUA

“It was impossible to wish for anything more delightful than thus to spend some weeks in so magnificent a country. In England any person fond of natural history enjoys in his walks a great advantage, by always having something to attract his attention; but in these fertile climates, teeming with life, the attractions are so numerous, that he is scarcely able to walk at all.” Charles Darwin, April 1832

The Latin America Darwin Scholarship Programme, organized by the Field Studies Council in the UK, will be held at REGUA this September.

The course is aimed at under 35 year olds enrolled on a university biology degree around the world. If you are interested in biology and ecology you are invited to participate in a week long course that will touch all the branches of natural sciences.

If you would like to share in a programme aimed at developing better naturalists in the spirit of Darwin’s love of nature and observing the natural world, this is the opportunity.

The scholarship will focus on three areas: skills of observation and identification, skills of recording biodiversity, and skills of communicating biodiversity to different target groups. It will be an opportunity to work alongside leading scientists and educators in Brazil in a privileged conservation project, to network, and take back a unique experience.

The Field Studies Council is offering a limited number of bursaries of 550 GBP to successful applicants.

Book a place

Bird lodges team up for Brazilian birdfair

REGUA was present at the 7th annual Brazilian Birdfair, the Avistar in São Paulo between the 18th and 20th May. The stand was generously funded by the Cachoeiras de Macacu County Council and REGUA shared the space with Serra dos Tucanos lodge and Vale das Taquaras lodge, both close to REGUA. The well attended bird fair represents the most important event for birdwatchers in the country and there were ample opportunities to meet other lodge owners, guides and colleauges working within the birding field. Amongst so many visitors to our stand, we received Luana and her team from the RJ State Environment Agency who intend promoting bird watching in the Rio State parks, Birdlife International Argentina partner Andres Bosse, Brazils renowned ornithologist Fabio Olmos, Betty Peterson from the ABA who came to talk about the US programm of providing binoculars for rangers and guides amongst so many friends. Guto de Carvalho, the organizer is to be congratulated for this great event.

Avistar 2012 (© Nicholas Locke)
Avistar 2012 (© Nicholas Locke)
Avistar 2012 (© Nicholas Locke)
Avistar 2012 (© Nicholas Locke)
Avistar 2012 (© Nicholas Locke)
Avistar 2012 (© Nicholas Locke)
Avistar 2012 (© Nicholas Locke)
Avistar 2012 (© Nicholas Locke)

StatOil tree planting day at REGUA

The company staff at StatOil were at REGUA for a planting day and we had a terrific time planting close to 200 trees. This was an activity arranged by the IBIO organization from Rio de Janeiro and the group arrived early for a coffee. We went to the nursery, selected the native trees species and we headed out to the fields where we all participated in the general activity of planting. The day was boiling and not the best to plant trees in, but with Soil Gel the trees were happier in the soil than out of it. We had a great swim in the river to cool off, a wonderful lunch and then REGUA gave a presentation on the project development to date and after a walk around the wetlands to see the Capybara we called it a day. We hope this is will be the beginning of a yearly event.

Birdfair 2008

Volunteers (from the left) Martin Smart, Rachel Walls and Lee Dingain at the REGUA stand (© REGUA)
Volunteers (from the left) Martin Smart, Rachel Walls and Lee Dingain at the REGUA stand (© REGUA)

REGUA was represented at the British Birdwatching Fair on the World Land Trust stand again this year, with volunteers Rachel Walls, Lee Dingain and Martin Smart working hard to promote the excellent birdwatching and pioneering conservation work at REGUA and Guapi Assu Bird Lodge. It was a very exciting event with many people and several new tour operators showing an interest. Many familiar faces and enthusiastic supporters of REGUA came by to say hello and hear about the latest projects taking place. We also met one group who booked to stay at the Lodge this September after visiting us at the stand last year, proving that the Birdfair is well worth the investment! Ruth and Alan of The Biggest Twitch came to say hello and gave REGUA a fabulous mention during their lecture, where they spoke about their adventures to date. All in all we felt the Birdfair was very worthwhile, with even more people visiting the stand this year. Many people had friends and work colleagues that had recommended us, so the word is spreading!

Many thanks to everyone who stopped by and we look forward to meeting you in Brazil soon.

British Birdwatching Fair 2008

REGUA will again be at the Birdfair at Rutland, UK, on 15-17 August. Our stand will have loads of information about birding at REGUA, staying at our Guapi Assu Bird Lodge, birding excursions available from the lodge and the latest updates on all the important conservation work we are doing. Come and see us at the World Land Trust stand in marquee 4, stand nos. 14 and 15. For information about the Birdfair go to