doing our part since 1999
Iracambi is a community of people around the world whose vision is to see the beautiful Brazilian Atlantic Forest restored, with prosperous communities living in a flourishing landscape. In our headquarters in Minas Gerais, the Iracambi Research Center spearheads our work in managing natural resources, educating for sustainability, and researching ecosystems and how we impact them.
The Iracambi logo explains what we are about. The indigenous story tells that the forest is on fire, and all the animals are fleeing to safety. All except the humming bird. She is flying towards the fire with a drop of water in her beak. “Silly little bird,” shouts the eagle, looking down at her. “Don’t you see that you’ll never put out the fire all by yourself?”
“You’re right,” says the humming bird. “I’ll never put it out all by myself. But I’m doing my part.”
Amigos de Iracambi
Amigos de Iracambi is a non-profit, registered in Brazil and the US, and located in one of the world’s top biodiversity hotspots: Brazil’s Atlantic Forest. At Iracambi you’ll be on the front line of biodiversity conservation and sustainability and you’ll gain firsthand experience in biodiversity conservation, (agroforestry, reforestation, medicinal plants, forest monitoring,) and sustainability, (community outreach and environmental education.) So, whether you’re collecting seeds in the forest, working in our forest nursery, planting trees on local farms, cataloging medicinal plants, harvesting coffee, maintaining our forest trails, making videos and adding to our photo library, or riding the school bus to the village to share your language and culture with local school kids, you’ll be having a ball, contributing your skills to a great cause, and learning all sorts of things you never thought you could. Because Iracambi is all about Saving Forests and Changing Lives, and you are warmly welcomed to become a part of it!
We’ve been here for over twenty years, and during that time we’ve planted over 150,000 native forest trees, founded the first program of environmental education in the region, set up the first web-based GIS, created thousands of acres of protected areas, hosted 2000 students, researchers and volunteers from 71 countries, and impacted the lives of thousands of people in our region: the Serra do Brigadeiro mountains.
Our alumni (we call them Iracambistas,) can be found across the world in academia, business, the arts, government, and international organizations. They work as doctors, teachers, lawyers, scientists, personal coaches, writers, film makers, GIS techies, farmers, and all manner of activities directed at making the world a better place. Whether you spend a week with us, or six months, you will go out enriched, and you will enrich your surroundings, wherever they may be.
Facilities in the Iracambi Rainforest Conservation and Research Center include accommodation for 28 researchers, volunteers and visitors, classroom/computer lab, field laboratory, our multi-use Forest House, restaurant, forest nursery, system of forest trails and a GIS.
Arielle coordinates our projects, oversees our administration and finances, and is passionate about agro-forestry. As the former coordinator of Forests4Water she is well known in the area, and does a great job of drawing Iracambi closer to the local communities. A native of Rosário da Limeira, she is deeply involved in environmental causes, working tirelessly to protect the biodiversity of the buffer zone of the State Park and protect it from bauxite mining.
Marina is an educator who has never outgrown her child self. Her curiosity took her from the field of business to the University of Viçosa where she studied biology and later environmental education, using the experiential methodology known as Sharing Nature. At Iracambi she puts into practice everything she has learned, along with some of her other passions: birds, yoga, photography and discovering new ways of uniting humans with planet earth.
Rogéria Castro is our volunteer coordinator, making sure that everyone who joins us has the best possible experience. Her goal is to ensure that all our students, researchers and visitors are able to contribute their skills, challenged to acquire new ones, and leave Iracambi to do great things in their home countries. Rogéria has a degree in tourism, is a qualified biology teacher and has a Masters in Forest Science. She has also worked as a Park Ranger, and her dream is to develop a program of ecotourism.
Deivid manages the Iracambi Forest Nursery – one of the most popular places on campus. It’s a job that involves everything from collecting seeds in the forest (and mapping the spot on our GIS,) to making and caring for tree seedlings from dozens of native and productive species, nursing them through the early stages, planting them out and monitoring their progress. Everyone at Iracambi is drawn to the forest nursery, inspired by his infectious enthusiasm and knowledge of the plants he works with. In his spare time, he drives the Kombi, and escorts students and visitors up the forest trails.
Isadora dos Santos
Isadora oversees our institutional relationships, including fundraising, communications and marketing, from her home in São Paulo, bringing her many talents and wide range of interests to bear on the challenges of working with a remote rainforest NGO. Design, innovation, organization, and collaboration are just some of the many strengths that underpin her work and contribute greatly to the efficiency and happiness of the Iracambi team. She holds a degree in human sciences, a Masters in Science, Technology and Society, and is a staunch advocate of women's issues.
Robin Le Breton
Robin is the research director and academic advisor to Iracambi’s researchers and interns, an expert on public policy and conservation land management, and a long time activist in environmental policy at local, regional and state levels. He also runs a forest farm. Fluent in four languages, Robin brings a wealth of international experience to bear on the challenges of biodiversity conservation and sustainability in one of the world’s foremost hotspots. He holds three Master's degrees (law, agricultural economics and environmental management,) from the universities of Oxford, Iowa State and London.
Binka Le Breton
The international face of Iracambi, Binka helps with translations, marketing and communications at Iracambi, when not writing and lecturing internationally on environmental and human rights. Binka speaks five languages and is tackling her sixth: Mandarin Chinese. She has six books published in five languages, and is part of the production team working on a feature film based on one of her books. Binka holds degrees from the University of London and the Royal College of Music
Carla is passionate about all aspects of the infinite number of medicinal plants to be found in the Atlantic Forest. Eager to learn from the local community and share her knowledge, she is giving a series of workshops to local community members, aimed at developing a range of products based on local plants. She also heads the Iracambi working group, part of a national network to catalog Brazil's medicinal plants. Carla studied in Canada, and speaks fluent English.
Alfredo was born and bred in Rosário da Limeira, first came to Iracambi as a child, and now lives nearby with his family. He coordinates Forest4Water and visits local family farms which are reforesting with seedlings provided by Iracambi. He supports farmers at every stage of the process, ensuring that the seedlings are correctly planted and well cared for, with the objective of protecting and increasing the water supply and creating new forest corridors.
Board of Directors, Amigos de Iracambi Brazil
- President: Reinaldo Santos – business consultant
- Vice President: Kamilo Fonseca – physician
- Secretary: Neusa Dias – teacher
- Treasurer: Paulo Cesar – accountant
Directors of Amigos de Iracambi US
- President: Shane Robinson – non profit ED
- V.P. Mary Robinson – training director
- Treasurer: Francie Sentilles – student
Board members: Betty Brown – retired, Monica Serrano Wong – UNICEF, Karol Gawrych – VP Citi, Lily Gawrych – Deutsche Bank, Saulo Ferreira – financial advisor, Emily Galvin – student
Advisory Board & Finance Committee
- Jorge Lopes Rezende – attorney (finance committee)
- Juliana Vital – digital marketing (finance committee)
- Aldo Lima – business consultant (finance committee)
- Robin Le Breton – environmental policy (advisory board)
- Isabella Flores – fundraiser (advisory board)
- Áquila Braga – veterinarian (advisory board)
- Binka Le Breton – international relations (advisory board)
- Sérgio Matos – teacher (advisory board)
- Rosana Cambraia – professor (advisory board)
- Mark Wade: Consultant, United Kingdom
- Tomas Salazar: Consultant, Houston
- Tim Masson: Webmaster, Zimbabwe
- Cliff Jones: GIS manager, USA
- Mario Abreu: IT specialist, Berlin
- Juliet Le Breton: Sustainability Consultant, Zimbabwe
Join Us Today!
Download our information pack for everything you need to know about life at the Iracambi Research and Conservation Center, including tips on visas, what to pack, and how to spend your free time!