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.
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.
Yasmin is the coordinator of our online Environmental Leadership course, and is passionate about both the environment and also nature photography. As a student of biology she interned with the State Forestry Institute, and also with the Center for the Study of Puri Indigenous Agroecology, giving her the opportunity to work with local farmers. She firmly believes that environmental education inspires people to live more harmoniously and sustainably.
As a former volunteer, Eduardo Dreyer discovered an opportunity at Iracambi to develop both personally and professionally. Passionate about the environment, and full of determination, he decided to apply for the post of volunteer coordinator so that he can help other potential volunteers to discover themselves and have the best possible experience at Iracambi. Eduardo is a native of Rio and is currently studying Environmental Science.
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 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 Master's degrees in 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, 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, creating new forest corridors nd improving livelihoods, .
This space is reserved for our next team member - scheduled for January 2022. Stay tuned! .
Fran is our secret weapon as regards all things plants related. She has an amazing ability to coax the balkiest plants to life, and everything she touches flourishes. A few years ago she was living in the local town, working as a seamstress and raising her family, but she always yearned to buy a patch of land and start growing plants. So when we started a job search for a forest nursery assistant we had no hesitation in asking Fran to join us. And now the forest nursery is alive with with happy seedlings and lots of laughter as Fran dispenses sound advice, delicious coffee and the best corn bread ever.
Luiz has recently joined our team as coordinator of the forestry program, where he 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 has considerable experience in working with small farmers, and is particularly interested in creating productive forestry systems. He holds a masters degree in agroecology and a bachelor´s degree in agronomy.
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: 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!