This project will create a unique urban resource, The Bosque das Orquídeas, to raise local awareness of one of the richest ecosystems on earth, the Mata Atlantica, or Atlantic Rainforest in Brazil. The Atlantic Rainforest stretches from Rio Grande do Norte to Rio Grande do Sul, covering 4500 km along the coastal mountain range called the Serra do Mar. Sadly, 90% of the original 1.2 million km2 has been lost and today less than 100,000 km2 of the forest remains. Fortunately, the national and international response to this decline has allowed the creation of reserves to secure the future of the remnant forest, and this effort continues today (read more at Mata atlantica ).
The Bosque das Orquídeas or “Orchid woodland” will be created in a municipal park, the Bosque Vereador Pedro Medeiros, a 2 ha remnant of the Mata Atlantica located right in the heart of Florianópolis, the capital of the State of Santa Catarina, Brazil. Less than 1ha is covered by secondary growth forest, and yet, despite its small size, its isolation from larger tracts of mature forest and its urban location, a preliminary survey has revealed that this tiny oasis contains a remarkable diversity and density of plant and animal life. The Bosque represents a unique window of opportunity for local schools and volunteers to personally contribute to building a spirit of conservation & local knowledge of the goals of conservation programs elsewhere in the Mata Atlantica. The project will be implemented in stages. The first stage, for which this fundraising is targeted, has two objectives:
- • Creation of a nursery for the cultivation of Mata Atlantica orchid species, and creation of a bird observatory.
- • Establishment of permanent resources for the study, recording, documentation and dissemination of the processes by which the Mata Atlantica regenerates.
In later stages, more elaborate infrastructures will be established to sustain the project, and 1,500 orchids raised in the nursery will be introduced into the Bosque to grow epiphytically.
The minimum funds required to achieve these objectives will be raised through donation of proceeds from the sale of my watercolour of Laelia purpurata and a special limited edition of 150 giclée prints. This will be used for construction of the orchid nursery and bird observatory, materials and training for 3 groups of 10 students from local schools to learn the basics of painting nature in watercolours, a digital camera, a pair of binoculars and web-resources to allow dissemination of the project progress. With these resources, local school groups and volunteers will be able to participate directly in forest restoration projects, studying the fauna and flora of the forest as it matures, and most importantly, recording the species found in the forest through photography and art. A dedicated blog will be set up on the Art for Orchids website to allow any local participant to submit photographs and artwork and exchange their views on conservation around the world. In November 2010, we plan to exhibit some of the artwork and a poster explaining the project at the 72nd Festa Das Flores in the nearby city of Joinville, at which 200,000 visitors are expected – such is the passion for orchids in this State! Turjoinville.com )
Why this project is important.
I am really happy to be assisting this project, in raising funds, but most importantly spending some time there in training schoolchildren in the basics of watercolours, and getting their work on the web. My painting of Laelia purpurata is so appropriate, since it is the State flower of Santa Catarina, and one of the few species of orchids found growing so far in the Bosque. This project, the lifelong dream of the promoter, is a great example of how the passion of an orchid enthusiast can bring the message of conservation right into the heart of a city. I believe the project has real potential to act as a catalyst for changes in perception and attitudes – and build real support for the larger land acquisition and protection programs elsewhere. Education is key if species conservation and habitat restoration programs are to be sustainable. There could be few places more accessible to so many people to learn of the challenges facing the future of the Mata Atlantica, and to learn relevant field skills than the Bosque das Orquídeas.
The real battle for the Mata Atlantica is after all, not only in the Serra da Mar, but in the hearts and minds of us all.
How you can support this project
Funds will be raised to support the project through sale of my watercolour Laelia purpurata and a special edition of 150 signed Giclée prints. The original and prints are all 76 x 58 cm (unframed).
The minimum sale price of the original is €4,500 plus postage and packing. Because proceeds of this sale will contribute to the overall project implementation cost estimates, any offer of purchase for a sum greater than €4,500 would be very gratefully accepted.
The price of each print is €200 plus postage and packing.
Two more paintings will be created for this project, again, of local orchid species.