Coline Raillon

Coline’s Walk for Conservation

The map of Coline’s walk

In July, Coline Raillon, who worked as the Nature Projects Officer for A Rocha France, will be commencing a long journey on foot across three European countries: Germany, Switzerland, and France.  Coline will walk to meet people and create connections.  She will also take this opportunity to raise funds for community-based projects in A Rocha, including A Rocha Peru.  “The idea is to meet people,  talk about A Rocha’s work… the beauty of Creation, and ..share the gospel.”   Her journey will start from Heidelberg in Germany and follow parts of the Huguenot Way.  The Huguenot Way is a hiking trail that highlights the historical exile of the Huguenots (a religious group of French Protestants from the 17th century).  She will also stop at various places including Belfort France, for a scout camp. We wish Coline all the best for her exciting journey, and we will continue to follow her fundraising walk on our social media and websites. To support Coline’s walk, you can donate here. Please click ‘dedicate this donation’ and type in ‘Coline‘ to dedicate your gift. Thank you for your support of A Rocha Peru!

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A Volunteering Adventure with A Rocha Peru

Chris talking to locals about climate change (C.Flores, May 2023)
Chris identifying medicinal plants with Sabio (H. Marcos, June 2023)

In January, A Rocha Peru was excited to receive a new volunteer, Chris Rampersad, a Biologist from the United Kingdom. Chris stayed for three months working on several project activities for the La Libertad Dry Forest Project. He talked with locals about the effects of climate change on the dry forest and also helped the team monitor research plots installed in ACP-Cañoncillo to assess the biomass and necromass of the dry forest. One of his findings was an increase in the height of the trees, with an average growth rate of 2.56m since 2018.

In addition, Chris started his research in Tronco Prieto and ACP-Cañoncillo forests collecting data such as species richness, the abundance of each species, and the amount of felled and dry trees. Chris completed his investigation of pre-existing species in the area, conducting two interviews at the Raimondi Museum and the Trujillo Herbarium.

Afterward, Chris journeyed to our Amazon Natural and Cultural Heritage Pilot Project in Monte Carmelo in the Urubamba River basin. Chris has been helping the team take pictures and support the research into the community’s medicinal knowledge of plants, endangered birds, amongst other things.


Visit to Venturosa Eco club May 2023

Educating Schools about the Importance of the Dry Forest

Visit to Cañoncillo Dry Forest with Semillas Teresianas Eco-club (May 2023)

This year, La Libertad Dry Forest Project aims to focus its environmental education on the youth of the Pacasmayo community to help generate environmental leaders and empower them to conserve the dry forest. Many activities have kicked off, including talks about the importance of the dry forest at the National University of Trujillo, Guadalupe, the Tecapa Secondary School, and San Demetrio.

The team has created an environmental club called Semillas Teresianas (Teresian Seeds) with the 2nd and 3rd-grade secondary students at the Santa Teresa Inmaculada school in San Pedro de Lloc.   The eco-club members visited the Venturosa dry forest and collected photos and information to help develop the eco-club’s vision.

Ciro Flores talking with the students at their visit to the dry forest (May 2023)

Moreover, the team conducted talks to raise awareness about the importance of the dry forest at Santa Teresa Inmaculada, where 300 students participated. To contribute to the conservation of the dry forests, the Santa Teresa Inmaculada School will help plant 100 Algarrobo tree seedlings. The ideal area for planting was identified in Cañoncillo with the help of Cooperativa Agraria de Usuarios de Tecapa.

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The transformation of a community kitchen

Women from the Micaela Bastidas community kitchen (Image by C.Flores, October 2022)

At the end of 2021, A Rocha Peru started an initiative with Pastor José Guzmán from Iglesia Casa de Oración in Pacasmayo, northern Peru, to develop a community kitchen in San Demetrio. El comedor popular Micaela Bastidas was facing the challenge of improving its modest premises. In response, A Rocha Peru installed an improved cookstove for self-sufficiency, set up an organic garden and a space for rearing small animals, and introduced environmental education activities.  The collaboration proved a significant catalyst that inspired the local government and companies to get involved and complement this work by developing the building structure, improving the kitchen, and providing a water cistern.  Through these combined efforts, the Micaela Bastidas community kitchen was transformed. It became a communal hub run by local women committed to preparing and serving daily nutritious meals to 28 families of 120 adults and children. This inspiring example of community work shows the multiplying impact that A Rocha Peru is having in the communities it serves.


Buzzing our way towards sustainability

Beekeeping workshop, December 2022

An achievement from La Libertad Dry Forest Project this past year has been the installation of apiaries in Tronco Prieto Forest, where the honey bees forage on the flowering algarrobo trees. Bees play a crucial role in biodiversity conservation by pollinating wildflowers and help to conserve the dry forest. With a dedicated beekeeper, the project team explored the Tronco Prieto dry forest and met with Muchick Conservation Group to investigate the possibility of installing apiaries.  Later in the year, the project held two sustainable training workshops for the local community on beekeeping. The new trainees will manage the apiaries installed in Tronco Prieto to produce honey. The beekeeping initiative is on track to beekeeping success, already making 12 litres of organic honey in January!


Our new micro-livestock breeding initiative!

Beneficiary with guinea pig for micro-livestock breeding (C.Flores, August 2022)

La Libertad Dry Forest Project continues to supply improved cookstoves for families in Pacasmayo. The improved cookstoves use less fuelwood than traditional open fires and reduce the need to cut down dry forest trees. The project delivered the kits to households in July and in August ten cookstoves were installed in households from San Demetrio and Pueblo Nuevo.  A local mason installed the cookstoves.

This year the project also gave guinea pigs to beneficiary households to promote micro-livestock breeding. This new initiative hopes to address food security in rural areas. Guinea pigs are not only a source of animal protein but also their manure can fertilize agriculture fields and kitchen gardens. In traditional Peruvian households, the rearing environment for small animals is usually the kitchen, where the heat source protects guinea pigs from sudden temperature changes.


Sowing seeds for change

Loza & Quiroz gardening at Tecapa Secondary School (C.Flores, July 2022)

La Libertad Dry Forest Project continues to raise environmental awareness in schools and churches. This year it has expanded its education talks and garden activities to three schools and churches, including Calvary Chapel. The project inspires younger generations to become environmental ambassadors, helping them to reconnect with nature and enhancing conservation knowledge.  Calvary Chapel, led by Pastor Renzo Plasencia Moscoso, is located in Pacasmayo.  Since April, the project has conducted over 22 workshops and activities with adults and children of the Calvary Chapel congregation. Talks have included a variety of topics such as the state of the planet and its biodiversity, responsible consumption and sustainable development of the environment, solid waste, the importance of the dry forest, and ecological gardens.  In July, the church started to create its garden called the El Buen Fruto [The Good Fruit]. Environmental leaders learned practical techniques such as home irrigation, composting, and planting vegetables. They prepared the soil, levelled and cleaned the terrain, and they have begun creating an interpretation centre.


Helping improve land health & crop production

Better Rice Production Workshop (C.Flores, July 2022)

Agroforestry is an approach that combines agriculture with trees on the same piece of land. Planting trees on farms can give farmers healthier soil and higher yields – not to mention creating vital homes for wildlife.  La Libertad Dry Forest Project in Pacasmayo promotes agroforestry with local farmers by helping them combine fruit trees with existing crops. This approach aims to restore degraded agricultural land and reduce soil erosion. Over time, it also helps farmers to enhance crop production and generate alternate income from the sale of the fruit. In June, fruit tree species, such as apple, orange, mango, Japanese plum, and guaba, were produced in the local nursery in San Pedro de Lloc.  In July, the project gave local farmers sixty agroforestry tree seedlings to plant on their land. The project will irrigate and monitor these trees over time.  In addition to these agroforestry practices, the project has been helping farmers to improve crop production in other ways. In July, the La Libertad Dry Forest project held a workshop for rice producers in Santander.  Rice is an important staple crop in the area.   These workshops help to increase farmers’ knowledge of how to improve rice crop production and quality.


Creating native handicrafts with forest resources

Cañoncillo Forest Craftswomen: Marina Huiman Navarro, Milagros Campos Garcia, Teodora Arroyo Alvarez (Image by Xavier Saer, July 2022)

El Cañoncillo Natural Forest Private Conservation Area has three lagoons: Gallinazo, Larga and Cañoncillo. Creeping weeds and bushes have been obscuring the view of visitors to one of the lagoons, Gallinazo.  As a result, La Libertad Dry Forest project conducted a harvesting campaign of the lagoon in May this year with the Agricultural Cooperative of Tecapa (CAU) and the Cañoncillo Forest Craftswomen Association.  The harvesting campaign was to provide the artisan women’s group hand harvested natural resources to make their handicrafts but the right materials were not found.   The project team acquired wool, and different local grasses such as viruli and reeds for the craftswomen to use.  These resources helped motivate the craftswomen to meet and make their handicrafts.   In addition, the women were trained to improve their products in Artisan workshops and explore new alternatives for their development. Selling non-timber products contributes to sustainable, forest-friendly livelihoods that help preserve the dry forest and sustain livelihoods.


Successful seedling production for reforestation campaign

Algarrobo seed pods in Pacasmayo (Image by Xavier Saer, July 2022)

One of our most important activities for the year is the production of native seedlings for our reforestation campaigns.  This activity commenced In March this year.  The team searched for native seeds of dry forest species such as Algarrobo and Hawthorn.  We coordinated with the local farmers to enter their stockyards and extract the seeds from cattle manure. The manure was sifted and cleaned to extract the seeds.  About 1 kg of Algarrobo seeds and 1.5 kg of Hawthorn seeds were obtained. The seeds were delivered to the local municipal nursery in San Pedro de Lloc and seedlings were planted and bagged. 235 native Algarrobo seedlings and 40 hawthorn seedlings germinated at the nursery.  This seedling production was used in our first reforestation campaign of the year in July where they were planted in a 3-hectare area located in La Laguna El Muerto Forest with the collaboration of Mr. Luis Castañeda.  Thank you for all those involved!