doing our part since 1999
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 in the US as a 501(c) (3) – situated in one of the world’s top biodiversity hotspots: the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Our goal is to discover better ways to care for the forest and protect our extraordinary biodiversity while generating forest based incomes and improving rural livelihoods. Our headquarters, in the Iracambi Research Center, is located in a protected area which includes old-growth and succession forest, swamps, and partially degraded land.
Iracambi is a member of the Organization of Tropical Studies and the Association of Biological Field Stations, and is also a Regional Center for the Pact for the Restoration of the Atlantic Forest. Iracambi’s many partners include universities and technical colleges in Brazil and abroad, non profits, foundations, businesses, unions, government departments and citizen groups.
Facilities at the 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. Iracambi also owns the Pico da Graminha Forest Reserve, located around 3 kilometers from the Center, which serves as a base for research into the sustainable production of açai juçara and honey, as well as providing overnight accommodation for researchers and visitors.
Robin Le Breton
Robin is the research director and academic adviser to Iracambi’s researchers and interns, an expert on public policy and conservation land management, and active 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. These challenges vary from meeting with government officials to discuss environmental policy, to fixing a series of balky vehicles and computers, as well as everything else necessary to the smooth functioning of Iracambi.
Binka Le Breton
Iracambi President Binka helps with translations, marketing and communications at Iracambi, 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.
Arielle works in administration and accounting, and is passionate about agro ecology. She coordinates our Forests4Water program, and spends much of her time visiting local farmers and encouraging them to reforest in order to recuperate and protect their water supplies. As a native of our nearest small town Limeira, she does a great job of drawing Iracambi closer to the local communities, and works hard to protect the buffer zone of the State Park from bauxite mining.
Marina is an educator who has never outgrown her child self. Her curiosity took her from the field of business to the University of Viçosa where she studied biology and later environmental education, using the experiential methodology known as Sharing Nature. At Iracambi she puts into practice everything she has learned, along with some of her other passions: birds, yoga, photography and discovering new ways of uniting humans with planet earth. She is now Program Coordinator and serves as chief ambassador for Iracambi.
Rogéria Castro is our volunteer coordinator, making sure that everyone who joins us has the best possible experience. Her goal is to ensure that all our students, researchers and visitors are able to contribute their skills, challenged to acquire new ones, and leave Iracambi to do great things in their home countries. Rogéria has a degree in tourism, is a qualified biology teacher and has a Masters in Forest Science. She has also worked as a Park Ranger, and her dream is to develop a program of ecotourism.
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.
Larissa is without doubt the most important person on campus! Owner and manager of the Beijaflor restaurant, she braves mud, rain and heat on her motorbike on her way to work, and, unflappable, produces memorable meals. She’s happy to cater to vegans, vegetarians and other special diets. And. Hot tip: she makes the most delicious chocolate truffles you will ever eat!
Virgílio has been part of the Iracambi family since he was a boy. He holds a degree in tourism, and his goal is to make Iracambi the best it can be: with a strong volunteer program, proven and measurable success in our programs of reforestation and education, and robust partnerships with local and international business. He is also a budding entrepreneur with a growing business selling quality coffee.
Board of Directors, Amigos de Iracambi Brazil
- President: Binka Le Breton, Writer and Lecturer
- Vice President: Jorge Henrique Resende, lawyer and environmentalist
- Secretary: Ronald Novais, businessman
- Treasurer: Fabiola Freitas, accountant
Directors of Amigos de Iracambi US
- President: Shane Robinson – Congressman, State of Maryland
- Vice President: Mary King Robinson – Businesswoman
- Secretary Treasurer: Emily Galvin – student, Francie Sentilles – student
- Board members: Betty Brown – retired, Monica Serrano Wong, UNICEF, Karol Gawrych, VP Citi, and Lily Gawrych, finance professional.
The NGO also has the support of an Advisory Council (which includes a Scientific Committee and an Audit Committee) and a Research Center Administrative Committee.
- Cristina Vieira: President, Association of Private Reserves, MG
- Rosana Cambraia: Professor, Federal University of Diamantina
- Amanda Andersen: Educational Consultant, Rio de Janeiro
- Juliet Le Breton: Sustainability Consultant, Zimbabwe
- Jessica Santos: Professor, Brandeis University, Boston
- Eloise Sobczyk: Civil Servant, London
- Mario Abreu IT specialist, Berlin
- Robin Le Breton: Environmental Policy Adviser
- Saulo Ferreira: Financial Specialist, Washington DC
- Mark Wade: Consultant, United Kingdom
- Tomas Salazar: Consultant, Houston
- Tim Masson: Webmaster, Zimbabwe
- Cliff Jones, GIS manager
Join Us Today!
Download our information pack for everything you need to know about life at the Iracambi Research and Conservation Centre, including tips on visas, what to pack, and how to spend your free time!