We are so pleased to announce that Soil Resources Initiative representatives, Charlene Nash and Chelsea Feast, have returned home from a 2 week trip to Madagascar! Madagascar is a large island off the eastern coast of Africa and home to some unbelievable species of plants and animals as well as diverse human culture! Did you know that over 80% of all of the plants and animals found on Madagascar can NOT be found anywhere else on Earth?! Absolutely amazing! One of the iconic groups of animals found on the island are primates known as LEMURS- over 100 different species!
Lemurs' lives depend on trees, but unfortunately over 90% of the original forests on the island have been cut down, making lemurs the most endangered group of mammals on the planet. Soil Resources Initiative wanted to figure out how we could use our skills and resources to help protect the remaining forests and improve the lives of the Malagasy people.
Photo of Madagascar taken by Chelsea Feast from an airplane. You can see the vast deforestation.
During the visit, we were able to assess the needs in different regions of the island and came to the same conclusion no matter where we were- IN ORDER TO PROTECT THE FORESTS AND THE ANIMALS, YOU HAVE TO HELP THE MALAGASY PEOPLE. The people live in extreme poverty and make an average of $1 (US) per day. When you are struggling to find food and water to sustain yourself and your family, protecting forests and animals is not a priority, even if those plants and animals are found nowhere else on Earth.
Photo of Madagascar taken by Chelsea Feast. You can see rice paddy fields, stacks of hand made bricks, and young Malagasy people transporting goods.
We knew we had to find a way to increase the quality of life of the Malagasy people. We reached out to Madagascar Fauna and Flora Group, a well known non-profit that has been working tirelessly in Madagascar for almost 30 years now. We told them about SRI's regenerative soil techniques and the farming training program we currently offer in Senegal and Mozambique, and they were eager to have us bring that program to Madagascar! That's where wonderful people like YOU come in. If you would like to support our humanitarian work and help us bring our project to Madagascar, please consider making a donation today.
To donate, click this photo:
Photo of Soil Resources Initiative Vice President, Chelsea Feast, with a ring-tailed lemur group behind her. Photo taken in Anja Community Reserve, Madagascar.
Many actions of the Malagasy people such as slash-and-burn agriculture, illegal collection of lemurs and tortoises to sell into the pet or bushmeat trade, and illegal logging of rosewood and ebony, stem from a need to survive and support their families. By empowering the Malagasy people with the knowledge and techniques to produce their own food that's high in nutritional content, increase their crop yields, create a business through compost and crop sales, and form a relationship with nature, we can help protect lemurs and all of the precious Malagasy species before it's too late. By helping the Malagasy people, you can also help protect many incredible species from extinction, like the iconic ring-tailed lemur. Please join us by donating today (to donate, click the lemur below)!
Ring-tailed lemur photo by Karis Frain
If you would like to learn more about the Madagascar Fauna and Flora Group that I mentioned above, check out their website: http://www.madagascarfaunaflora.org/