Amazon Forever is a nonprofit organization that aims to promote conservation of Amazonian wildlife through environmental education, positive contact with nature, wildlife rescue, and research. One of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Amazon is a conservation priority for humanity. The forests, rivers, and animals of the Amazon are under constant assault and continuous exploitation. Activities such as illegal trafficking of species, deforestation, extraction of resources, and pollution are among the main threats. In Iquitos, a gateway to the Amazon River, Amazon Forever Org. is working closely with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, VA and C2S2 to contribute in a more powerful way to conservation of the Amazon Rainforest by “educating children and adults about endangered species and ecosystems through the use of wildlife rehabilitation, environmental education and ecotourism.”
For children, ACNC will provide environmental education that inspires them to better understand the forest and its inhabitants. For visitors, ACNC will provide an adventure in a white sand forest, a rare ecosystem with unique biodiversity. For researchers and scientists, ACNC will provide opportunities for new discoveries to inform conservation of species and biodiversity in this and other important locations across the world. Our current environmental education program was launched in 2014 to motivate respect and love for nature through the use of charismatic characters, a popular communications medium in Latin America. Our team worked for three years to develop the program methodology and the charismatic mascot “Huayo.” More than 30,000 children have benefited from this program and learned about the value of local biodiversity. These efforts have received recognition from the President of Peru, with the ”National Environmental Award” (2016, Perú);
EDUCATING THE NEXT GENERATION OF CONSERVATIONISTS
The second phase of the project is development will build on the team’s experience in the rescue, rehabilitation and release of wildlife with scientific objectives such as securing genetic diversity as well as protecting and reintroducing endangered species. As the resource commitment for this function is significantly greater than that required for the educational function, we are also investigating other funding sources that will allow these activities to grow along with the education program and draw interest from tourists to Iquitos. Because of the unique and ecologically valuable location, associations with scientific centers of excellence, and ongoing efforts to effect behavioral change to protect a region of great importance, this is a unique opportunity to support a program that will have a lasting impact on the future of the Amazon and its people.