TA Alumna Working to Protect the Amazon Rainforest
September 08, 2022
Deep in the Ecuadorian Amazon, a Thetford Academy alumna (2007) is working to protect the genetic diversity and landscape of the Amazon rainforest. She is the founder of Selva Libre, a conservation nonprofit working to protect land and restore ecosystem services through the direct purchase of both intact and degraded tracts of rainforest.
According to the alumna (who would prefer not to be named in order to protect the safety of those working on the project), Selva Libre’s goal is to protect the genetic diversity of the region, and build landscape resilience by cultivating a variety of endemic and endangered plant species. The team works closely with indigenous partners, community members, and scientists, to identify areas of key cultural and biological importance for preservation.
Currently, Selva Libre is raising funds to protect a large piece of land in the Napo River Basin. This area is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet and simultaneously boasts one of the highest deforestation rates in the Amazon. To protect land here, Selva Libre’s team will have to vigilantly monitor the land to prevent illegal mining, logging, poaching and narcotrafficking.
Their proposed project will connect forest fragments with larger tracts of protected rainforest in the hopes of creating biological corridors for flora and fauna. One of Selva Libre’s projects is an endemic plant nursery. At present, the team is collecting and germinating a vast array of native seeds that will provide the genetic diversity necessary to create resilient landscapes in areas that have been deforested.
TA’’s rural landscape and vibrant learning community inspired, in part, this alumna’s journey toward environmental conservation. “Being part of the Environmental Club and school-wide service projects like ‘Operation Days Work’,” she shared, “Were fantastic opportunities to address the environmental challenges within our community and engage with global sustainability projects. Watching my peers, my teachers, and adults within the TA community interact with the natural world in a positive way invited me to explore my own relationship to the ecosystems around me.”
“Above all,” she said, “The support I received from teachers and peers at Thetford Academy gave me the confidence to explore challenging subjects, critically examine situations, and step into leadership roles. I am so grateful for my years at Thetford Academy and for my life in Vermont during this formative stage in my life.”