WE ARE

WE ARE

CONSERVACÃO, RESTAURAÇÃO, COMUNIDADE….

Amigos de Iracambi

Working with community leaders to make the conservation of the forest more attractive than its destruction.

Amigos de Iracambi is a non profit, registered in Brazil and in the US as a 501(c) (3) – situated in one of the world’s top biodiversity hotspots: the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Our goal is to discover better ways to care for the forest and protect our extraordinary biodiversity while generating forest based incomes and improving rural livelihoods. Our headquarters, in the Iracambi Research Center, is located in a protected area which includes old-growth and succession forest, swamps, and partially degraded land.

Iracambi is a member of the Organization of Tropical Studies and the Association of Biological Field Stations, and is also a Regional Center for the Pact for the Restoration of the Atlantic Forest.  Iracambi’s many partners include universities and technical colleges in Brazil and abroad, non profits, foundations, businesses, unions, government departments and citizen groups.

Facilities at the Research Center include accommodation for 28 researchers, volunteers and visitors, classroom/computer lab, field laboratory, our multi-use Forest House, restaurant, forest nursery, system of forest trails and a GIS. Iracambi also owns the Pico da Graminha Forest Reserve, located around 3 kilometers from the Center, which serves as a base for research into the sustainable production of açai juçara and honey, as well as providing overnight accommodation for researchers and visitors.

The Iracambi Team

Robin Le Breton

Research Director, Public Policy Adviser

Robin is the research director and academic adviser to Iracambi’s researchers and interns, an expert on public policy and conservation land management, and active in environmental policy at local. regional and state levels. He also runs a forest farm. Fluent in four languages, Robin brings a wealth of international experience to bear on the challenges of biodiversity conservation and sustainability in one of the world’s foremost hotspots. These challenges vary from meeting with the state governor to discuss environmental policy, to fixing a series of balky vehicles and computers, as well as everything else necessary to the smooth functioning of Iracambi.

Binka Le Breton

NGO President, Director of the Iracambi Research Center, writer and lecturer

Iracambi President Binka co-directs the Iracambi Research Center, writes, and lectures internationally on environmental and human rights. She is also a visiting educator on Peace Boat. Binka speaks five languages and is tackling her sixth: Japanese. She also researches and writes, and has six books published in five languages. Currently she is working as a producer on a feature film based on one of her books.

Guilherme Valvasori

Coordinator, Forests4Water

Although Guilherme – known as Gui – is a native of São Paulo state, (where he graduated in social communication,) he has become an enthusiastic adopted “mineiro” as the inhabitants of Minas Gerais are known. He coordinates the reforestry program Forests4Water, reforesting on local f arms that are suffering from water stress and drying springs. Somehow Gui manages to reconcile this demanding job with studying for his Master’s degree, which shows that everything is possible.

Arielle Canedo

Administration and Accounting

Arielle works in administration and accounting, handles Iracambi’s social media, and also is passionate about agro-ecology -being the first to volunteer when it comes time to plant trees or plant gardens. As a native of our nearest town Limeira, she also does a great job of drawing Iracambi closer to the local communities.

Luiz Janunzi

Logistics, IT and graphic design

Whatever you need at Iracambi, Luiz is your man. He fixes everything from the computer network to the organization of the files, from updating the website to driving the Kombi van. He is also a talented graphic designer. Luiz has just started undergraduate work in biology, thereby uniting many of his talents and interests.

Alessandro Freitas

Ecotourism, Medicinal Plants and Language Teaching

Alessandro has a degree in philosophy from the Benedictine University. He is also a holistic therapist with a profound knowledge of medicinal plants. In addition to this, he is a registered tour guide who is currently setting up the Iracambi Ecotourism Project, and in his spare time he teaches English and Portuguese.

Fagner Santos

Forest Nursery Manager

Fagner manages the forest nursery which involves collecting seeds from healthy forest trees, preparing seedlings, planning the reforestry program, and caring for the young trees after they are planted. He works closely with Gui on the Forests for Water program.

Marina Silva

Biology and Environmental Education

Marina is an educator who has never outgrown her child self. Her curiousity took her to the University of Vicosa where whe worked with environmental education and education through discovery with public school children. In Iracambi she puts into practice everything she learned and will bring together some of her other passions: bird, yoga, photofraphy and discovering new ways of uniting humans with planet earth

Rosie Gerolemou

Environmental Monitoring

Rosie joins us from the United Kingdom, to coordinate the Environmental Monitoring Program. She analyzes the biodiversity in our trial forestry plots, uploads data to the Pacto platform, and collects data on water quality and quantity. She is currently writing up her Master’s thesis on invasive plant species.

Virgílio Dornelas

Marketing and Fundraising

Virgílio has been part of the Iracambi family since he was a boy. He holds a degree in tourism, and divides his time between his native town of Caparao where he works in county government, and Iracambi where he is an indefatigable marketer and fundraiser.

Board of Directors, Amigos de Iracambi Brazil

  • President: Binka Le Breton, Writeir and Lecturer
  • Vice President: Jorge Henrique Resende, lawyer and environmentalist
  • Secretary: Ronald Novais, businessman
  • Treasurer:  Fabiola Freitas, accountant

Directors of Amigos de Iracambi US

  • President: Shane Robinson – Congressman, State of Maryland
  • Vice President: Mary King Robinson – Businesswoman
  • Secretary Treasurer: Betty Brown – Retired

The NGO also has the support of an Advisory Council (which includes a Scientific Committee and an Audit Committee) and a Research Center Administrative Committee.

Advisory Board

  • Cristina Vieira: President, Association of Private Reserves, MG
  • Rosana Cambraia: Professor, Federal University of Diamantina
  • Amanda Andersen: Educational Consultant, Rio de Janeiro
  • Juliet Le Breton: Sustainability Consultant, Zimbabwe
  • Jessica Santos: Professor, Brandeis University, Boston
  • Eloise Sobczyk: Civil Servant, London
  • Robin Le Breton: Environmental Policy Adviser
  • Saulo Ferreira: World Bank, Washington DC

International Mentors

  • Mark Wade: Consultant, United Kingdom
  • Tomas Salazar: COO Pirelli, Brazil
  • Tim Masson: Webmaster. Zimbabwe

Robin Le Breton

Research Director, Public Policy Advisor

Robin Le Breton, MSc Environmental Management,  University of London, MS Agricultural Economics, Iowa State University,  MA Law, Oxford University, Certificat dÉtudes Francaises, University of Lausanne.
Download Robin’s CV Robin directs and advises researchers and interns, is an expert on public policy and land conservation issues, is active in environmental affairs at local, regional and state level, and also oversees a forest farm. Fluent in four languages, Robin brings a depth of international experience to developing practical and sustainable solutions to the challenges of conservation and development in one of the world’s top five biodiversity hotspots. These challenges vary from meeting with the state governor to discuss environmental policy, to fixing a series of balky cars and computers and whatever else it takes to keep the show on the road.

Binka Le Breton

NGO President, Director, Iracambi Research Center, Writer and Lecturer

Download Binka’s CV

President of the NGO, Binka co-directs the Iracambi Rainforest Research Center, lectures and broadcasts internationally on rainforest and human rights topics, is guest educator on Peace Boat and international board member of Partners of the Americas. Fluent in five languages, she is currently tackling Japanese as her sixth. She also researches and writes on environmental and human rights and has published six books in several languages. If you want to know more about her work, or invite her to speak, please contact her at: binka@iracambi.com

Guilherme Valvasori

Coordinator Forests4Water program

Although Guilherme (known as Gui) is a native of São Paulo state, (where he got his degree in communications,) he has become an enthusiastic adoptive mineiro – inhabitant of the state of Minas Gerais. Gui coordinates our Forests4Water program of environmental education, traveling to distant mountain farms to encourage farm families to enlist in our program of reforestation with native species, designed to protect and restore water sources. Fluent in English, Gui is a mainstay at the Research Center and is also pursuing his masters degree at the State University of Northern Rio de Janeiro.

Leandro Santana

Academic Coordinator: Iracambi Strong exchange program

Leandro holds a master’s degree from the University of Vicosa, is a prize-winning film maker and a respected primatologist who specializes in the highly endangered muriqui monkey. Passionate conservationists, Leandro and his wife are building their own house in the mountains near Iracambi and working on creating a sustainable lifestyle based on forest products. Leandro coordinates our student exchange program IracambiStrong where Brazilian and International students work together on sustainability, in and around the Iracambi campus.

Arielle Canedo

Business Manager

Arielle has recently joined the Iracambi team where she works with administration and accounting, as well as co directing the Young Eco Leaders Program, and carrying out community outreach to build stronger connections between Iracambi and the surrounding communities.

Luiz Janunzi

IT manager, Environmental Monitoring Coordinator

 Luiz has recently joined the team where he is in charge of keeping the computer network up and running, overseeing the environmental monitoring, driving the Kombi as required, using his graphic design skills and also co-directing the Young Eco Leaders

Lily Vail

Volunteer Coordinator

Lily joins the team from New York State and has the important job of ensuring the health, happiness and safety of all our students and volunteers, as well as coordinating with them before, during and after their arrival.

Toni and Fagner

Forest Nursery Team

Our talented nursery team of Toni and Fagner oversee our forest nursery all the way from collecting and preparing the seeds from healthy forest trees to making and caring for the seedlings, planning the program of reforestation, and ensuring that the seedlings are cared for after they have been planted out. They then coordinate with Guilherme on our reforestry program Forests4Water.

Carmnha and Clovis

Restaurant Managers

Carminha and her husband Clovis are the most important people on the Iracambi campus. As the sound of Carminha beating the cook pot echoes around the Research Center, hungry students converge expecttantly on the dining hall. There’s something about life at Iracambi that gives us all a good appetite, and many a close friendship has been formed over one of Carminha’s delicious meals or sitting round the bonfire nursing a cup of steaming hot chocolate reinforced with brandy.

[team_ member members_name=”Carminha and Clóvis” members_title=”Restaurant Managers” image_path=”https://en.iracambi.com/wp-content/uploads/Carminha.jpg” link_to_page=”https://en.iracambi.com/carminha”] Carminha and her husband Clóvis are the most important people on the Iracambi campus. As the sound of Carminha beating the cook pot echoes around the Research Center hungry students converge expectantly on the dining hall. There’s something about life at Iracambi that gives us all a good appetite, and many a close friendship has been formed over one of Carminha’s delicious meals or sitting round the bonfire nursing a cup of steaming hot chocolate reinforced with brandy.[/team_member]

NGO Directors

  • President: Binka Le Breton, Writer and Lecturer
  • Vice President: Jorge Henrique Lopes Resende, lawyer, conservationist
  • First Secretary: Luiza Vieira, forester, Candidate for MS degree
  • Second Secretary: Sérgio da Silva Matos, biologist, teacher
  • Treasurer: Fabiola Freitas, accountant

The NGO also has the support of an Advisory Council (which includes a Scientific Committee and an Audit Committee,) and a Research Center Administrative Committee.
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Directors of Amigos de Iracambi US Inc

  • President: Shane Robinson – Congressman, State of Maryland
  • Vice President: Mary King Robinson – Businesswoman
  • Secretary Treasurer: Betty Brown – Retired

Iracambi is a member of the Organization of Tropical Studies and the Organization of Biological Field Stations. Iracambi’s many partners include universities and training colleges in the US and Brazil, national and international foundations and companies, friends and advisers around the world, local, regional and state authorities in Minas Gerais, environmental NGOs, community based tourism groups, chambers of commerce, rural workers unions and farmers associations.


Advisory Board

  • Clayton Nix: Attorney at law
  • Diane Osgood: Virgin United
  • Naomi Moniz: MIT
  • Jim Harrison: Consultant
  • Manuela Rayner: Conservation International
  • Stahis Panagides: Consultant
  • Dale Beckmann: Consultant
  • Heather Williams: Pomona College
  • Suzanne Hinton: Emerson College

Development Committee

  • Craig Bida: Coneinc
  • Mark Wade: Consultant
  • Abhijeet Saran: Google technician
  • Paulo Pisano:  Pearson Inc
  • Samuel O’Connor: businessman
  • Emma McGuigan, Accenture
  • Philippa White: The International Exchange
  • Stuart Greenbaum: HP
  • Juliana Spina: Mcgarry Bowen
  • Carmen Brizida: Carat


Technical support

  • Tim Masson: Webmaster and IT expert (Zimbabwe)