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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.”

Here at Iracambi we’ve been doing our part since 1999, and with your help we’ll be here as long as it takes. Come join us, and be part of the change!

Amigos de Iracambi

Saving Forests and Changing Lives in the Brazilian Rainforest

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.

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Arielle Canedo

NGO Coordinator

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 on behalf of the biodiversity of the buffer zone of the State Park and protect it from bauxite mining.

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Thais Matos

Administrative Assistant

Thais was born and raised at Iracambi, and it's been a part of her life for as long as she can remember. So when the opportunity arose for her to join the team, she didn't hesitate for a second. As a key member of the admin department, she is involved in everything that happens, from the grandest dream to the smallest detail. She has no doubts that Iracambi is successful in its mission of Saving Forests and Changing Lives, because it changed her life.

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Eduardo Dreyer

Volunteer Coordinator

As a former volunteer, Eduardo discovered an opportunity at Iracambi to develop both personally and professionally. Passionate about the environment, he joined the team in order to help other students and volunteers discover themselves and have the best possible experience at Iracambi. 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 in Environmental Science.

Deivid Malta Forest Nursery Manager

Deivid Malta

Forest Regeneration

Deivid has recently transitioned to work with one of our partners on a large- scale program of forest restoration. The focus is on natural regeneration as a complement to direct planting, along with enrichment planting in previously restored areas. The program also includes Payment for Environmental Services and, eventually, carbon certification. He is tackling this new assignment with his customary energy and enthusiasm and is learning fast.

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Isadora Santos

Institutional Relations

Isadora oversees our institutional relationships, including fundraising, communications and marketing, 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. She holds a degree in human sciences, a Masters in Science, Tech and Society, and is a staunch advocate of women's issues.

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Robin Le Breton

Research & Public Policy

Robin is our research director and academic advisor, and 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. He 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 Master's degrees in law, economics and environmental management from Oxford, Iowa and London.

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Binka Le Breton

International Relations

The international face of Iracambi, Binka helps with translations, marketing and communications, 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 in music and language, and is a life-long learner.

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Carla Facchina

Medicinal Plants Specialist

Carla is passionate about all aspects of the infinite numbers 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, speaks fluent English, and is a talented video maker.

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Alfredo Matos

Field Coordinator: Forestry

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 the forestry field work on our planting sites, supporting the 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, creating new forest corridors and improving livelihoods.

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Juliana Mendes

Communications and Marketing

Juliana joined us in pursuit of her dream of leaving the city and finding a place where her work can truly have an impact. She works to expand our communication channels internationally, nationally and locally, to create greater visibility for the organization, attract more friends and supporters and extend Iracambi's reach and impact. She holds a degree in Public Administration, specializing in human rights..

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Fran Santana

Forest Nursery Manager

Fran is our secret weapon as regards 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 now the forest nursery is alive with happy seedlings and lots of laughter.

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Luiz Gusmão

Forestry Coordinator

Luiz coordinates our forestry program, and is closely involved in every stage of forest restoration on local farms. The project goal is to plant trees on steep mountain slopes in water catchment areas to protect and increase water resources, improve local livelihoods, and and create habitat for biodiversity. Luiz is particularly interested in creating productive forests, and holds degrees in agroecology and agronomy.

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Agnaldo Fraga

Environmental Education

Agnaldo and Dayana work together on our environmental education team, and they complement one another's skills perfectly. Agnaldo originally studied theater and psychology (and plans to keep studying.) He believes that the arts are a truly effective way of bringing about positive change and transforming people, and this belief informs his work as a teacher - a new direction for which he has a natural talent. To be a part of Iracambi is a dream come true.

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Deocar Macedo

Maintenance and Carpentry

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, all are his creations. After working for years in construction, he moved onto a small coffee farm near Iracambi, where he is occasionally to be found when not creating something special for the Iracambi campus.

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Dayana Duarte

Environmental Education

Dayana first came to Iracambi for two weeks. She ended up staying for five months, and when she left, she knew she would be back. She worked in the Forest Therapies program, and learned more than she could ever imagine. She is just completing her degree in biology, with a minor in environmental education, and is thrilled to be able to play an important role as an Iracambi educator serving the local communities and everyone who comes to Iracambi.

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Isabela Mendes

Communications Assistant

Isabela is the newest member of the Iracambi team, who joined us in August 2022, as intern cum assistant in communications. Her job is to document all aspects of daily life at Iracambi, in order to keep our social media up to date. Highly active in local affairs, Isabela is a fan of agroecology, and a staunch advocate for greater participation by women and children in community life. Her goal is to help bring about a higher level of equality across the board.

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 

Board members: Betty Brown – retired, Monica Serrano Wong – UNICEF, Karol Gawrych – Amazon,   Lily Gawrych – Deutsche Bank, Francie Sentilles – graduate student 

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.) 

International Mentors

  • 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!