Amigos de Iracambi

Saving Forests and Changing Lives in the Brazilian Rainforest

Amigos de Iracambi is a non profit, registered in Brazil and the US, and located in one of the world’s top biodiversity hotspots: Brazil’s Atlantic Forest.  At Iracambi you’ll be on the front line of biodiversity conservation and sustainability and you’ll gain first hand experience in biodiversity conservation, (agroforestry, reforestation, medicinal plants, forest monitoring,) and sustainability, (community outreach and environmental education.) So,  whether you’re collecting seeds in the forest, working in our forest nursery, planting trees on local farms, cataloging medicinal plants, harvesting coffee, maintaining our forest trails, making videos and adding to our photo library, or riding the school bus to the village to share your language and culture with local schoolkids, you’ll be having a ball, contributing your skills to a great cause, and learning all sorts of things you never thought you could. Because Iracambi is all about Saving Forests and Changing Lives and you are warmly welcomed to become a part of it!

We’ve been here for over twenty years, and during that time we’ve planted over 130,000 native forest trees, founded the first program of environmental education in the region, set up the first web-based GIS, created thousands of acres of protected areas, hosted 2000 students, researchers and volunteers from 66 countries, and impacted the lives of thousands of people in our region: the Serra do Brigadeiro mountains.

Our alumni (we call them Iracambistas,) can be found across the world in academia, business, the arts, government, and international organizations. They work as doctors, teachers, lawyers, scientists, personal coaches, writers, film makers, GIS techies, farmers, and all manner of activities directed at making the world a better place. Whether you spend a week with us, or six months, you will go out enriched, and you will enrich your surroundings, wherever they may be.  

Facilities in the Iracambi Rainforest Conservation and 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.

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 government officials 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 helps with translations, marketing and communications at Iracambi, when not writing and lecturing internationally on environmental and human rights. Binka speaks five languages and is tackling her sixth: Mandarin Chinese. She has six books published in five languages,  and is part of the production team working on a feature film based on one of her books.

Deivid Malta

Forest Nursery Manager

Deivid manages the Iracambi Forest Nursery – one of the most popular places on campus. It’s a job that involves everything from collecting seeds in the forest (and mapping the spot on our GIS,) to making and caring for tree seedlings from dozens of native and productive species, nursing them through the early stages, planting them out and monitoring their progress. Everyone at Iracambi is drawn to the forest nursery, inspired by his infectious enthusiasm and knowledge of the plants he works with. In his spare time he drives the Kombi, and escorts students and visitors up the forest trails.

Arielle Canedo

Administration, Forests4Water Coordinator

Arielle  works in administration and accounting, and is  passionate about agro ecology.  She coordinates our Forests4Water program, and spends much of her time visiting local farmers and encouraging them to reforest in order to recuperate and protect their water supplies. As a native of our nearest small town Limeira, she does a great job of drawing Iracambi closer to the local communities, and works hard to protect the buffer zone of the State Paak from bauxite mining.

Marina Silva

Biology and Environmental Education. NGO Program Coordinator

Marina is an educator who has never outgrown her child self. Her curiosity took her from the field of business to the University of Viçosa where she studied biology and later environmental education, using the experiential methodology known as Sharing Nature. At Iracambi she puts into practice everything she has learned, along with some of her other passions: birds, yoga, photography and discovering new ways of uniting humans with planet earth. She is now Program Coordinator and serves as chief ambassador for Iracambi.


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 his goal is to make Iracambi the best it can be: with a strong volunteer program, proven and measurable success in our programs of reforestation and education, and robust partnerships with local and international business. He is also a budding entrepreneur with a growing business selling quality coffee.

Rrogéria Castro

Volunteer Coordinator

Rogéria Castro is our volunteer coordinator, making sure that everyone who joins us has the best possible experience. Her goal is to ensure that all our students (and short term visitors) have the best possible experience, are able to contribute their skills and acquire new ones, and leave Iracambi to do great things in their home countries. Rogeria has a degree in tourism, is a qualified biology teacher and has a masters in Forest Science. She has also worked as a Park Ranger, and her dream is to develop a program of ecotourism.

Allan Carvalho

IT Manager

Whatever you need at Iracambi, Allan is your man!  Whether it’s scrambling up the radio tower to keep the internet coming, doing any of the million small jobs involved in keeping the Research Center going, sorting out the filing system and uploading documents to the cloud, you can be sure that Allan is more than ready and willing to help!

Carla Faccina

Medicinal Plants Specialist

Carla is an independent collaborator, who lives and works at Iracambi and is passionate about all aspects of the infinite number of medicinal plants to be found in the Atlantic Forest. Eager to learn from the local community and share her knowledge, she is developing a range of products based on local plants, and always ready and willing to share her skills and knowledge with Iracambi staff and students. She’s also a member of a working group of the prestigious Fiocruz Research Center in Rio. Carla studied in Canada, and speaks fluent English.

Larissa Moises

Restaurant Manager

Volunteer Coordinator

Larissa is without doubt the most important person on campus!  Owner and manager of the Beijaflor restaurant, she braves mud, rain and heat on her motorbike on her way to work, and, unflappable, produces memorable meals. She’s happy to cater to vegans, vegetarians and other special diets. And. Hot tip: she makes the most delicious chocolate truffles you will ever eat!

Board of Directors, Amigos de Iracambi Brazil

  • President: Binka Le Breton, Writer 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 – Businessman, Maryland
  • Vice President: Mary King Robinson – Businesswoman
  • Secretary Treasurer: Emily Galvin – student, Francie Sentilles – student
  • Board members:  Betty Brown – retired, Monica Serrano Wong, UNICEF, Karol Gawrych, VP Citi, and Lily Gawrych, finance professional.

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
  • Mario Abreu IT specialist, Berlin
  • Robin Le Breton: Environmental Policy Adviser
  • Saulo Ferreira: Financial Specialist, Washington DC

International Mentors

  • Mark Wade: Consultant, United Kingdom
  • Tomas Salazar: Consultant, Houston
  • Tim Masson: Webmaster. Zimbabwe
  • Cliff Jones, GIS manager

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.

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)