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Fighting against the tidal wave of deforestation crushing Paraguayan habitats
Our young, dynamic onsite staff is made up of seven members, each bringing a unique vision and skill set to the table. Founder and executive director Karina Atkinson (Scotland) oversees all of Para La Tierra’s projects, alongside deputy director and intern supervisor Joseph Sarvary (USA). Becca Smith (Scotland) leads the PLT primate project, and Kelly Rebergen (Netherlands) coordinates our ever-helpful volunteers. Our museum curator Jeremy Dickens (South Africa) completes the science team, while Jorge Ayala (Paraguay) runs the education program. Gricelda Santacruz (Paraguay) makes sure our house stays clean, and feeds us three meals each day.
Where we work
Home Base: Far from the fast-pace of modern life, the quaint colonial city of Pilar - 'The City of Birds' - is tucked into a quiet corner of Paraguay. This beautiful town, based around the lazy 'Arroyo Ñeembucú', a large stream which feeds into the impressive Rio Paraguay, is home to an amazing range of biodiversity, including howler monkeys, caiman, and giant storks.
Pilar is also home to the Para La Tierra Research, Education and Community (REC) Centre.
Field Site: Beginning in May 2017, Para La Tierra will begin an exciting 4-year long project dedicated to studying the biological diversity of the southwestern-most state of Paraguay: Neembucu. With multiple sites located across the department, our studies will focus on the flooded grasslands, the dense palm forests, and the deep river and lake systems. This is the only department in the country that doesn't have a formal reserve and is one of the most poorly studied areas in all of South America. We are sure that through our innovative approach we will continue to discover new species and uncover unique habitats in need of protection."
Expeditions: With the support of Akron Zoo, we conduct several expeditions each year to monitor habitat health in various corners of the country. These trips come with an extra cost but are a unique opportunity to visit truly wild places. In 2017, we plan to visit Laguna Capitan: a beautiful property bordering a salt lake, home to thousands of flamingos; Fortin Toledo, a historic nature reserve owned by Centro Chaceño de Ciencia y Investigacion which is home to the only in-situ Chacoan peccary breeding program in the world; and ProCosara, a family owned plot of Atlantic Forest in the South of San Rafael National Park. We hope to be able to create substantial inventories and conduct publishable ecological studies that will help with the justification for the conservation of these threatened habitats.
We offer a variety of projects all of which are open to our volunteers. If you're interested in science, environmental education, or you just love the outdoors, volunteering with PLT will give you the freedom to get involved in every element of our program. Our induction process will give you a taste of everything that’s going on, so you can decide for yourself what you like best.
More about volunteering
If you’re still studying, or just finished, we can help you gain valuable experience to help you on your career path. As an intern, you can design your own project, which we will help you to do in advance, based on your own personal research interests.
More about internships
“It was truly an unforgettable experience where I met people that I believe will be lifelong friends. I got the hands on field work experience that I desired, so that I can move forward in my career in ecology.”Scott, USA
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