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Masters in Conservation Leadership


Project overview

In 2020, the Brazilian Pantanal lost 30% of its territory to criminal and accidental fires with more than 17 million vertebrates killed by the flames. The biome is threatened not only by climate change and land-use change, but also by illegal hunting, overfishing, wildlife roadkill and many other anthropogenic pressures. Despite its ecological relevance and biodiversity, local youth are unaware of the need to protect the Pantanal. This project will allow the continuity and expansion of an environmental education project currently carried with local communities of this biome.


Project aims

The project aims to continue and expand formal and informal educational efforts to teach youth from traditional and local communities from Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul states about the biodiversity in Pantanal and the need to protect this biome in peril.


Key activities

  • Develop and deliver a workshop about biodiversity in Pantanal and current threats to 50+ science teachers from public schools in Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul states, preparing them to share the knowledge acquired with their students inside the classroom.
  • Print and distribute educational materials for science teachers to use in the classroom with at least 5.000+ children during lectures about Pantanal's biodiversity and current threats to the biome.
  • Promote and make available the digital versions of these educational materials (all already developed and published by Chalana Esperança) to other science teachers throughout the states.
  • Provide opportunities to 100+ children from local communities to experience the wonders of Pantanal accompanied by wildlife biologists in the field, during boat trips to observe jaguars and other species.


Expected conservation impact

We hope that the long-term change in children's knowledge about Pantanal and connection to its biodiversity and to the biome as a whole will lead to a genuine care for this biome when these children reach adulthood. We hope that each child can become a voice for the protection of Pantanal, helping to promote and share pro-environmental values within their generation.


Expected outputs

  • The participation of more than fifty science teachers from public schools in Mato Grosso (MT) and Mato Grosso do Sul (MS) states.
  • Environmental education lectures given by science teachers with the support from Chalana Esperança to at least five thousand children.
  • The distribution of species identification mini guide for different taxonomic groups (mammals, amphibians, reptiles and birds) to at least five thousand children from MT and MS states.
  • Participation of Chalana Esperança in formal lectures given to 100 children from five different communities at the heart of the Brazilian Pantanal.

Participation of at least 100 children from local and traditional communities in field expeditions accompanied by field conservation biologists to experience the wonders of Pantanal, seeing the biodiversity that inhabits their 'backyard' and which is celebrated by so many people around the world.


Project lead

Luciana Leite (2013-14)

Founder and general coordinator of Chalana Esperança

Director of Engagement and Sustainability at Parque das Aves, Brazil

I am a conservation biologist, CL alumnus and founder of Chalana Esperança. After graduating from Cambridge, I pursued a PhD in Forest Ecosystems and Society at Oregon State University. In my thesis, I explored the roots of biophilia; understanding how childhood experiences foster love and care for nature. I have worked my entire career with environmental education in different biomes throughout Brazil, mostly focused on traditional communities and youth. The SCLA fund will allow Chalana Esperança, this women-led initiative, to continue and expand our efforts to educate local and traditional youth in the Brazilian Pantanal.

External collaborators

Daniella Pereira Fagundes de França

Co-founder and project supervisor at Chalana Esperança

Environmental education manager at Parque das Aves, Brazil

Heideger Lima do Nascimento Project and media coordinator at Chalana Esperança
Tainara de Alencar Environmental educator at Chalana Esperança
Sthefany Gonsalves Environmental educator assistant at Chalana Esperança