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 twenty one years, and during that time we’ve planted over 165,000 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 67 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.
Meet the team
Arielle coordinates our projects, oversees our administration and finances, and is passionate about agro-forestry. A native of Rosário da Limeira, she is deeply involved in environmental causes: protecting local biodiversity and strengthening rural livelihoods in the priority conservation area in which Iracambi is located.
Thais was born and raised at Iracambi, and it's been a part of her life for as long as she can remember. As a key member of the admin department, she is involved in everything that happens - from the grandest dream to the smallest detail. She is a strong supporter of Iracambi's mission of Saving Forests and Changing Lives, because it changed her life.
A former volunteer himself, Eduardo's job is to make sure that everyone who joins us at Iracambi is safe, happy and productive. He is responsible for overseeing their entire experience from the first zoom call to the day they leave A native of Rio, he has now become a full blown member of the community, and still finds time to keep up with his studies.
Lara is working part time with us while completing a doctorate at the University of Viçosa. They were raised in a rural area of Minas Gerais. An adventurous childhood in nature sparked their interest in ecology and environmental causes, and they are amazed by the incredible things we can achieve by combining the principles of nature and science.
Isadora oversees our institutional relationships, including fundraising, marketing and managing partnerships, from her home in São Paulo. 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.
Robin is our in-house expert on public policy, and a valued advisor to researchers, students, and schoolchildren at Iracambi. He brings a wide-ranging academic background and a wealth of international experience to bear on the challenges of biodiversity conservation and sustainability in one of the world's most important hotspots
Robin Le Breton
The international face of Iracambi, Binka helps with communications, marketing, translations and networking - when not writing and lecturing internationally on environmental and human rights. Binka speaks five languages and is tackling her sixth, has six books published in five languages, and is currently producing a feature film.
Binka Le Breton
Carla heads our Medicinal Plants program, where she works with local community members to rescue, document and verify traditional knowledge about and uses for native medicinal plants. She is also active in the Iracambi working group which is part of a coordinated nationwide effort to identify and catalogue all the medicinal plants of Brazil.
Alfredo was born and raised on a local farm, first came to Iracambi as a school child, and now lives nearby with his family. He coordinates the forestry field work, supports the farmers at every stage of the process, and ensures that the seedlings are correctly planted and well cared for. Rain or shine, Alfredo and his team are the heart and soul of the forestry program.
Juliana heads our communications team from her home in the state of São Paulo. Her aim is to expand our communication channels internationally, nationally and locally, to create greater visibility for the organization, to attract more friends and supporters and to extend Iracambi's reach and impact. She is also a staunch supporter of women's issues.
Fran is our secret weapon in all things plant-related. She has an amazing ability to coax the balkiest plants to life, and everything she touches flourishes. A few years ago she left her job as seamstress in a local town and moved to the countryside. So when we were looking for a forest nursery assistant she was the obvious choice! And our nursery has never been better.
Luiz coordinates our forestry program, and is responsible for planning, reporting and data collection. He also escapes into the field whenever he can! He is particularly interested in creating productive forests, and is currently working to implement agroforestry pilot plots which include coffee, avocado, bananas and açai with native species trees.
Agnaldo and Dayana oversee our environmental education, and complement one another's skills perfectly. Agnaldo studied theater and psychology and believes that the arts are an effective way of bringing about positive change and transforming people, and this informs his work as a teacher - a new direction for which he has a natural talent.
Deocar loves everything about working with wood. Where others might see a fallen tree, Deocar sees the potential for making something both beautiful and useful. Artistic signs, gates, fences, seedbeds, the bamboo seed storage area, the new and improved water offtake system, all are his creations, and Iracambi is lucky to have him on the team.
Dayana came to Iracambi for two weeks, stayed for five months, and, when she left, she knew she would be back. Her original role in the medicinal plants team stimulated her interest in community education, and she is thrilled to work with the EcoLeaders program now that we are once again able to host the local schoolchildren in person.
Isabela is the on-site face of the communications team, whose job is to document all aspects of daily life at Iracambi, and keep our social media up to date. Highly active in local affairs, Isabela is a fan of agroecology, and an advocate for greater participation by women and children in community life, in order to increase the level of equality and inclusion.
Board of Directors, Amigos de Iracambi Brazil
- President: Reinaldo Santos – business consultant
- Vice President: Kamilo Fonseca – physician
- Secretary: Neusa Dias – teacher
- Treasurer: Ronald Novais -businesman
Directors of Amigos de Iracambi US
- President: Shane Robinson – non profit ED
- V.P. Mary Robinson – training director
- Treasurer: Saulo Ferreira – financial advisor
Advisory Board & Finance Committee
- Juliana Vital – digital marketing (finance committee)
- Aldo Lima – business consultant (finance committee)
- Robin Le Breton – environmental policy (advisory board)
- Áquila Braga – veterinarian (advisory board)
- Binka Le Breton – international relations (advisory board)
- Sérgio Matos – teacher (advisory board)
- Rosana Cambraia – professor (advisory board.)
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!