In this edition of Notes From the Field, we check out the Rainforest Trust, an international conservation organization dedicated to creating protected lands around the world.
In 1988, a group of conservationists formed a plan to purchase rainforests around the world, enlisting local governments and community organizations to preserve the beauty and diversity of their corner of the world. Today, the Rainforest Trust facilitates the protection of land in over 42 countries across Central and Latin America, Asia, and Africa, and more.
The Rainforest Trust’s unique approach has resulted in the protection of over 23 million acres of land around the world. After consulting with leading conservationists and selecting areas in need of protection, the organization connects and works with local partners on the ground, who assist in sustainably managing the land. While they focus primarily on rainforests, their other projects include the protection of oceans, deserts, and other kinds of forests.
By conserving land, the Rainforest Trust isn’t just preventing deforestation - they’re also preserving clean water, enabling the production of oxygen by safeguarding large areas of trees, and providing safety to endangered species in their natural habitats. As the Rainforest Trust website explains,
“We don’t just see these acres as land for protection. We see these acres as home to countless species who rely on the habitats contained within. We see them as the backyards of thousands of people who rely on them for fresh water and food supplies. We see them as part of the fabric of this planet we live on.”
Team LuminAID spoke with conservation biologist Gabriela Fleury, who shed some light on how LuminAID solar lanterns have aided the Rainforest Trust’s Conservation Guardians, local employees of the conservation organizations that the Rainforest Trust partners with. Before joining the Rainforest Trust team, Gabriela used LuminAID lanterns while performing field work in Kenya. She has played an instrumental role in putting solar light in the hands of Guardians all over the world.
Rainforest Trust Fellows and Guardians with their new LuminAID lights.
According to Gabriela, sustainable light is essential for the Guardians because it allows them to work safely after the sun goes down. With LuminAID lanterns lighting their way, the Guardians can avoid injuries in the field and steer clear of dangerous wildlife. Plus, it’s important to have reliable light to keep them working through the night without interruption.
Gabriela says that the Guardians have traded in their traditional lights for LuminAID solar lanterns - in fact, all 152 guardians have or will be receiving a LuminAID lantern as part of their participation in the program! They use the lights on anti-poaching patrols, wildlife and vegetation surveys, perimeter maintenance, and more. Gabriela has heard from the Guardians that they appreciate that they don’t need batteries to illuminate the night. These lanterns are in the best hands - the Guardians are the most fit to protect the lands of their home, according to the Rainforest Trust:
“They patrol, enforce and monitor on a daily basis, often in rugged terrain and dangerous circumstances, and are often the people with the most knowledge of the flora and fauna and life in the forests, and with the most daily contact with local communities around the protected areas.”
Two South African Guardians, Jiba and Tharollo, excited to use their new LuminAID lanterns on their anti-poaching patrol.
The Rainforest Trust continues to protect land and get in touch with local conservation organizations across the globe. They recently completed a rainforest protection project in Puerto Rico, and are currently fundraising for many projects, such as a worldwide Conservation Action Fund. LuminAID is proud to work with the Rainforest Trust, and can’t wait to see where their influence reaches next.