Community Action
Celebrating 11 year’s of biodiversity conservation and sustainable living

This weekend, the Manu Learning Centre (MLC) will turn 11 year’s old and so our team reflect on the highlights of the year here in the Amazon rainforest.

 

We work and live in the Peruvian Amazon to try and build a sustainable future for the Manu region through research, education, community and tourism initiatives.

 

Today, as we prepare to celebrate 11 years of the MLC nature reserve, we would like to share some of the best bits from our year.

 

Watch: Highlights of the Year

 

 

Impact of our scientific research

 

Every day, our team of researchers, interns and volunteers are out in the field on surveys, collecting scientific data to better understand and conserve the Amazon rainforest. Chris Beirne, our field research coordinator, shares his highlights from the past year:

 

“The last year has been an absolutely amazing one for the research team. We’ve had five different primary scientific research papers published in five different journals, on topics as diverse as the biodiversity value of regenerating rainforest to assessing new techniques for surveying arboreal mammals.

 

“This research has been picked up by international media outlets; on the website Mongabay.com it was shared over 5,000 times on social media and we also had an article in Scientific American. So it’s been an incredible year; we’ve got our research out to the scientific community and to the wider public. More to come in the future.”

 

Global reach of experiential education

 

 

We run diverse educational programmes for both local and international visitors to the MLC reserve about the importance of biodiversity conservation and sustainable living. Johanna Markiewitz, our education field coordinator, tells us about the educational experience:

 

“This year our experiential learning programmes have reached over 19 different counties, including just across the river here in Peru to India, Australia, England and Switzerland. We have had three different university and school groups with three unique programmes.

 

“Experiential learning is important because it is active learning. Instead of sitting at home and watching a documentary or reading about what’s happening in the Amazon, we take volunteering to the next level as our volunteers are actively engaged on a daily basis – asking questions, observing, experimenting, and integrating with current research and community initiatives.”

 

Advances in community initiatives

 

 

By working with the local community, we’re helping improve livelihoods and living standards for people living in poverty. Through our biogarden and agroforestry projects we’re improving the health and wealth of families, while our education programme aims to create a new generation of environmentalists. Eduardo Salazar, our community coordinator, updates us on recent progress:

 

“The biggest achievement for the community initiatives in 2015 had been that the agroforestry plots that we installed in 2014 through the loan programme have started producing bananas, which means that the organic model is successful for the most important crop in the area. It also means that the beneficiaries will start paying us back so that other people are going to be able to take loans.

 

“While in education, the biggest highlight is that the school biogardens are beginning to become a usual tool for teachers. It’s also supplying, in more or less a constant basis, lots of vegetables for the school lunch.”

 

Tourism with a difference

 

 

We offer a unique opportunity for tourists to explore the Amazon rainforest and discover its wildlife, while meeting our scientists working in the field and contributing to the long-term conservation of this globally important ecosystem. Lawrence Whittake, one of our senior field staff, describes what tourists can expect from visiting us:

 

“One of the many tourism packages the Crees offers is a package called volunteer tourism. It’s a really fantastic family orientated package that allows groups of people to come to the Peruvian Amazon to experience the incredible biodiversity that we have just within the reserve. But at the same time, you’ll be collecting genuine scientific data that goes towards real publications.”

 

Thanks to everyone in the Crees team for making this a brilliant year and a special thanks to all our visitors – we’ve loved sharing our rainforest home with you!

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