Pantanal Wildlife Program
The Pantanal Wildlife Program (Bichos do Pantanal) consists of 3 parts…research, connection to nature environmental education, and economic development. It was designed by the Focus Conservation Fund (FCF) to operate in tandem with the Instituto Sustentar, a Brazilian NGO that Douglas Trent of FCF started with communications expert Jussara Utsch. Funding comes from the Brazilian energy company Petrobras, via their Petrobras Socioambiental Program.
The program started in 2013, and from the beginning to 2015, generated 7 scientific publications and 8 successful Master and Doctorate thesis. The environmental education program went into over 80 schools in the Cáceres county, first showing images of local species taken by FCF President Douglas Trent, then going outside to see birds, monkeys and other wildlife, with the 60 pair of binoculars that the FCF donated. By the end of 2015, we took over 44,000 students and adults in to the field to reconnecting them to nature. We formed a Stakeholder Network including the local government, area universities, leaders of associations of artisans, fishing boats, traditional fishermen, other local NGOs, and respected community leaders, for guidance as to what economic potentials they wanted us to work on. They choose Ecotourism so we developed with partners, a farm road to receive tourist in the Pantanal and named it the TransPantanal. We trained 35 guides and brought in a volunteer English teacher from the University of Kansas, a program partner. Several of the guides are now speaking English and working as nature guides in the region.
The program funding ended in 2015, but in June 2018 received funding again for the next 27 months ending in February 2021. We have now taken over 130,000 children into nature with binoculars donated by our non-profit, the Focus Conservation Fund. We are recording videos for the Adventures of Birdman and Mick J Nature to the World program as well. See the Instituto Sustentar program website, as well as the partner Instituto Sustentar website: www.institutosustentar.net