A huge thank you to everyone who supported the “Save the Amazon Education Centre” appeal in December 2021. The campaign raised just over £1500 – way more than the £1000 target set. The funds have already been sent to Colombia so work can start on repairing the roof of the roundhouse, one of the two main buildings that make up Natütama’s Education and Visitor Centre in Puerto Nariño in the Colombian Amazon.
Natütama is a Colombian charity dedicated to the sustainable management of resources and biodiversity in the Amazon. It runs education, research and conservation programmes from the Centre on the banks of the river in the Amazon rainforest.
Young people from the region, mainly of the Ticuna ethnic group, work closely with the local community – farmers, fishermen and especially schools and families – to teach them how to protect endangered Amazonian wildlife and habitats while continuing to live and work in the same environment.
Due to the lack of tourists during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Centre’s income dropped dramatically over the last two years which has made it very difficult to maintain the buildings which require constant attention. The need for massive re-roofing reached crisis point towards the end of 2021 but with funding from the Save the Amazon Education Centre Appeal and other donations re-roofing can now go ahead. The walkways and bridges are also being repaired and other painting work remains to be carried out.
While the number of visitors increased to 1.608 in 2021, this was still very low compared to normal years, when Natütama would have expected 6000 to 8000 visitors. Nearly half of the visitors last year were local adults and children, who do not pay an entrance fee.
Many people from the Amazon area make repeat visits to the Centre and one of the tasks for 2022 is to update the exhibits with new material.