One of the world’s top biodiversity hotspots is long endangered by deforestation. There’s less than 7% is remaining of the original cover of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest and the numbers are worse every year: in 2012 the deforestation rate increased 29% compared to the previous year, according to INPE.

Addressing the problem is difficult, because culturally, Brazilians are not used to preserving forests (they think the forest is worth more if it is not a forest anymore) and this thinking is reflected in the politics, where the laws gives amnesty to those who have been breaking it for longer.

Iracambi is a rain-forest research center that works to preserve the remaining forest in the state of Minas Gerais, Southeast of Brazil. They also work to generate more sustainable options for local communities and ways for them to generating income, while preserving the forest.

As Iracambi is consolidated as a research center, and it is more and more clear how important it is for the local population to understand and engage with scientific research in order to improve conservation efforts, Iracambi wants to provide young students with the opportunity to see the forest from the inside.

This arrangement is possible thanks to a partnership with the American program “100K Strong in the America”, that enables American students to learn and grow in foreigner research centres. The idea is to promote short cycles of cultural and scientific exchanges for American and Brazilian students and young researchers. Iracambi understands the importance of nurturing research and cross-cultural knowledge in order to tackle the challenges of deforestation and use of natural resources.

From this program, American students will learn and grow from the experience of living in a different country and experiment a new research environment and Brazilian students will have the opportunity to improve their English and understand some of cultural differences – not to mention the scientific knowledge they will acquire. Improving their English will also help them in their academic careers and will give them a better chance of pursuing a Brazilian scholarship from the “Science without Borders” program – and get the chance to live abroad themselves.

The goal of this TIE campaign is to help Iracambi to keep running these cycles of exchanges and short courses even after the 100K Strong in the America funding is over. The goal is to help them to communicate and attract Brazilian and international companies that would be willing to invest in the program and foment scientific education and forest conservation.