Washington, DC - Earths Birthday Big Gift to the Earth is an educational activity for children who wish to take care of the Earth. Every year, students in schools throughout the United States raise money to save threatened rainforests.
Their small donations are combined to become one Big Gift, which is then presented to a conservation organization dedicated to preserving natural places. Since 1990, children participating in the program have collected more than $5 million.
For 2005, the 35th anniversary of Earth Day, Earths Birthday Project and WWF joined in a special partnership to support the Amazon Region Protected Areas (ARPA) program to help safeguard the biological treasures of the Brazilian Amazon.
Earths Birthday has collected over US $200,000 for this purpose. In recognition of the tremendous effort by students dedicated to conserving nature in the planets most important rain forest, the Global Environmental Facility is making a contribution in the amount of US $600,000, also in support of the Amazon Region Protected Areas program.
The funding will be used to support permanent protection of critical rain forest habitats through the Protected Areas Fund, an endowment established under the ARPA program for the explicit purpose of ensuring long-term financial viability for the protected areas being implemented under the program.
Actions to ensure conservation of Amazon rainforests include identifying the most biologically important tracts of rainforest in need of protection, strengthening local participation in park management and creating opportunities for families and communities dependent on forest resources, establishing effective park management practices, and maintaining needed equipment and infrastructure.
To thank the students participating in Earths Birthday for their efforts to draw attention to the Amazon as one of the worlds truly important places in need of conservation, a videoconference exchange will be hosted on December 13th, 2005 at the offices of World Wildlife Fund, 1250 24th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037.
Fifteen students representing grades 3 though 6, from the Spring Hill Elementary School, Mclean, VA, will join with Amazon experts from WWF, the World Bank, and the Brazilian government to discuss the theme of conservation and the Amazon. Spring Hill Elementary is one of many schools participating in Earths Birthday educational activities, and its students raised more than US $6,000 to support Amazon conservation in 2005.
The contribution of US $800,000 from Earths Birthday and the Global Environment Facility will be recognized and celebrated as part of the videoconference.
- The Amazon Protected Areas Programme's (ARPA) main goal is to establish a network of protected areas to help protect a significant sample of biological diversity in the Amazon biome.
During Phase I (2003-2006), ARPA has a goal of creating 9 million hectares of total protection conservation units to secure protection of biodiversity. In addition to this, the programme also aims to create another 9 million hectares of sustainable use conservation units, as is the case with extractive reserves, which allow for the economic use of natural resources as long as adequate management plans are presented.
The programme also plans to consolidate, by 2006, 7 million hectares of protected areas which existed previously. Coordinated by the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment and the Brazilian Institute for the Environment, the programme is implemented in partnership with State governments, the Brazilian Fund for Biodiversity (Funbio), World Bank, German Development Banks, and WWF-Brazil.
For more information:
Tel: + 202-778-9544