Research, education & community: meaningful alone, stronger together


Research, education & community: meaningful alone, stronger together

Discover what it’s like to work in the one of the most biodiverse places on Earth to bring together research, education and community projects for a sustainable Amazon.

Carlos Arévalo recently joined the Crees team as Programmes Manager. He brings with him a huge amount of knowledge of sustainable development and conservation, particularly within the Madre de Dios region in Manú, the Peruvian Amazon.

Today we’re exploring what brought him to Crees, and the challenges and opportunities he thinks faces Peru’s rainforests.

Carlos is passionate and experienced at leading conservation and community projects in Manu
Carlos is passionate and experienced at leading conservation and community projects in Manú

¡Hola Carlos! Bienvenidos al equipo. What did you do before joining Crees, and why are you interested in conservation and sustainable development?

Before joining Crees, I was the Manager of Environmental Management in the Provincial Municipality of Tambopata, Madre de Dios. This role covered many aspects of environmental management, giving me a more holistic view on sustainable development and conservation.

I believe it is important to look at how we can increase living standards without endangering the natural world, and establishing a relationship between people and their environment is a crucial part of this.

Carlos with Gregorio Pérez, the former President of the Shipetiari community
Carlos with Gregorio Pérez, the former President of the Shipetiari indigenous community that live in Manú rainforest

Why did you want to work for Crees?

Crees is an established organisation, with programmes that focus not only on conserving the environment through research, but also on how community work and education can help create long term sustainability.

Why is it important for Crees to unite research, education and community initiatives?

Research is not an end in itself, but rather a means to strengthening and raising levels of knowledge. Research can also shape more effective community initiatives, particularly alongside education. I am convinced that research, education and community initiatives are stronger when they work towards the same goal, rather than independently.

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Crees community entrepreneur, Rosa, in her biogarden that helps improve the health and wealth of her family

Do you think it is important that Crees is an international organisation?

Crees brings people together from across the world. I believe the organisation benefits from this international community’s diverse range of thoughts, experiences, cultures and strategies, and that this is revealed in the work it does.

What do you think will be the most challenging aspect of your work at Crees?

To encourage higher education institutions to work and engage with Crees’ initiatives. I would like to create a Centre for Practical Studies where students can gain more experience researching and practicing within the natural world.

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The Crees family brings people together from all over the world to share passion, experience and knowledge

What do you think are Crees’ biggest achievements so far, and how would you like to grow and develop them?

Crees is a multidisciplinary team with a sustainable and long-term vision focussing on today’s biggest environmental problems. I’d like to continue developing and growing these programmes in a way that allows them to maintain their autonomy and ground-up approach.

What is your connection with the Manú Biosphere Reserve and why do you think it is an important region?

My work in the Madre De Dios region has given me many years’ experience and knowledge of this part of the planet. It’s a region of high biodiversity and cultural diversity with a huge amount to offer humanity – and we need to preserve it.

Carlos working with the Matsiguenta community in Shipetiari
Carlos working with the Matsiguenta indigenous community in Shipetiari, Manú rainforest

What do you think are some of the biggest environmental and social challenges facing Peru and how do you think they can be overcome?

  1. Deforestation. Work should be done to establish a register and a strategy for monitoring Peru’s rainforests. However, this needs political backing in order for it to be effective.
  2. Deficiencies in Education and Health are also an unfortunate reality within Peru. Actions could be taken to help tackle these social issues but, again, this relies on political, social and economic support.
  3. Climate change. This is of course a large issue and tackling it requires international support, as well as reviewing patterns of consumption that could lead to behavioural change.
Carlos giving a workshop in Puno on climate change
Carlos giving a workshop in Puno on climate change

What are some of the ways that individuals across the world can help protect the environment?

People can make small changes to their everyday lives, from using less plastic to using less electricity. These are already significant and established ways that anyone can help conserve the environment.

What advice would you give to someone looking for a career in conservation?

Love for the environment is not only something that is studied, it is something that is born and grows in the hearts of people. A passion for conservation is the most powerful thing you can have for a career in this sector.

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A passion for conservation is the most powerful tool for a successful career

Why do you like to spend time in the rainforests?

The mystery, the richness of sounds and the way it makes me feel – it really can’t be compared to anywhere else in the world.

What has been your favourite wildlife experience, and why?

Seeing a jaguar in the Manu National Park: an animal so mysterious and imposing, particularly in its natural environment.

A special thanks and bienvenidos to Carlos. We are excited to continue to develop our programmes with you as part of the team.

Get involved: support our conservation and community projects by visiting Manú Rainforest with Crees – discover our volunteering, internships and tours.

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