How can the power of storytelling help innovate solutions to environmental challenges?

Wild Forests & Fauna (WildFF) will be hosting the fifth and final year of a 5 year pilot program in the Peruvian Amazon: the Future Leaders summit. Taking place between January 14-18, 2018, the summit will bring together 10-20 local youth leaders from both the Amazon gateway city of Puerto Maldonado and rural communities in the Las Piedras river to collaborate on sustainable business solutions to local challenges.

The program evolves year-to-year, focusing on different areas of sustainable development, and allows new and return participants to advance their skills in business, innovation, and environmental stewardship. January’s program will focus on developing marketing strategies for social change campaigns. As in previous years, participants will have the opportunity to meet and learn from local Peruvians and international guest speakers.

Future Leaders 2016
Future Leaders 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most exciting in 2018 is an opportunity for the Future Leaders to collaborate with 16 American students from Maryland’s McDaniel College. These students are part of the Forest Online class which explores storytelling as a catalyst for social change.

“It’s a once in a lifetime cross-cultural opportunity for the McDaniel students to collaborate with their peers who live half a world away, yet share the same goals and passions for a more sustainable Amazon basin” says McDaniel Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies—and WildFF board PresidentJason Scullion, PhD.

McDaniel college students
Future Leaders participants and McDaniel college students

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peruvian non-profit ARCAmazon will be hosting the 2018 summit at the Las Piedras Amazon Center (LPAC), an 11,000 acre eco-tourism concession deep in the Amazon rainforest. This allows participants from the city to come together with youth from rural jungle communities to learn from each other and experience firsthand the reality of deforestation alongside sustainably-cared for rainforest.

Jungle at the Las Piedras Amazon Center
Jungle at the Las Piedras Amazon Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Kiwi Energy, Las Piedras Amazon Center, and other generous donors, the Future Leaders network of Peruvian youth—known locally as Innova Madre de Dios—will grow to 50+ youth innovators in 2018, all working toward a more sustainable and prosperous future for Madre de Dios and the Las Piedras watershed of the Amazon rainforest.

Liz Feldman, WildFF board member and program instructor shared, “We are so thankful for Kiwi Energy’s support through their Ecogold Environmental Fund. They have helped to make it possible to provide socially responsible, entrepreneurial education to Peruvian youth who are working hard to figure out how they and their neighbors can live in harmony with the Amazon for a more sustainable future. Every year the participants inspire me. It is an honor to work with such a dedicated, intelligent and passionate group of Peruvian leaders.”


About the Author

Joanna Trewern

Joanna Trewern

Communications Intern 2016-present

Joanna is half English, half Spanish, and is a recent graduate from Oxford University’s School of Geography & the Environment, where she studied an MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management. She believes it’s important not just to protect biodiversity, but to make this goal relevant and beneficial to local people in order to ensure lasting success. She fell in love with the Amazon Rainforest after a visit to Peru in 2015, where she stayed for a year volunteering in wildlife rehabilitation centres (even though she was only meant to stay for two months!). In her free time she enjoys activities that allow her to be in nature, like hiking and longboarding.

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