Andes-Amazon Conservancy

Tempe, AZ   |  https://www.aaconserve.org

Mission

To provide resources and planning services to indigenous and rural communities in the Andes Amazon region so they can achieve the sustainable futures they want and deserve.

Ruling year info

2019

Executive Director

Adam Gebb

Main address

2307 S Rural Rd

Tempe, AZ 85282 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

84-2664184

NTEE code info

Land Resources Conservation (C34)

Wildlife Preservation/Protection (D30)

Minority Rights (R22)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Andes and the Amazon are one ecological body. In glacial epochs, cold Andes weather drives plants, animals and insects down to the warmer Amazon. During inter-glacials, like now, hot Amazon weather drives these forest communities up to the cooler Andes. Miles of human development now block this migration and species not reaching cooler areas become extinct. Impact on indigenous cultures is poverty, illness and malnutrition. The remaining pathways through this development need to be conserved as a corridor reuniting the two enormous biomes. The indigenous people must drive the conservation they desire in areas they have stewarded for thousands of years. However, mining and oil drilling rapidly degrade the area. Human development also reduces hunting and gathering which degrades these ancient cultures. Working with indigenous people against these threats is essential.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Shiwiar Territory Planning Project

Working to protect a pristine territory and ancient culture.

The Shiwiar Nation of the Ecuadorian Amazon wants a secure and sustainable future for their people and their 550,000-acre territory of ancient rainforest that sits near the border of Peru. They are fighting back against the growing threat of oil and mineral exploration and extraction, which despoils watersheds and destroys the biodiversity essential to their livelihoods. Most indigenous people, including the Shiwiar, were never consulted by the government for these activities in their territory. The Shiwiar are inseparable from their highly diverse environment and know best how to preserve their lands and culture.

In this groundbreaking project, AAC is collaborating with the Shiwiar to create a conservation land use plan and digital maps of the territory. They will be used to make their plans clear to those that would pollute and or damage the area. The process has been very inspiring for both the Shiwiar and AAC as we help guide them through a process that clarifies sovereignty while planning for the sustainable stewardship of natural resources. The combination of documenting bio-corridors that are needed to maintain bio-diversity and culture along with the planning process that creates zoning maps and documents could form the foundation for stronger legal defense of indigenous territories anywhere in the world.

Population(s) Served

Reconnecting the Andes Mountains and the Amazon

The Andes-Amazon Conservancy is researching and advocating for the protection of a network of bio-corridors that could connect vast areas of the Amazon Rainforest with the Andes Mountains. These areas have highly interconnected biomes that have evolved together for millions of years.

With the next 1,000 years expected to be warmer than normal there is a mass migration happening now from hotter low land areas into the Andes Mountains which offer cooler climates. Allowing for the large-scale movement of all species with permanently protected migration corridors is the only way to succeed in conserving biodiversity. It’s also the only way to make sure that the rare and endangered species list does not grow exponentially and threaten the indigenous populations in these areas whose food source depends largely on hunting and fishing. The Earth's Endangered Creatures website lists 2,588 endangered species in Ecuador. This list is just the symptom. What we need now is a cure for the real underlying causes.

We all know that one of the causes is habitat loss. But now with the climate warming rapidly, connectivity between diverse habitats is the real make-or-break cure. Bio-corridors add critical habitat and allow species the freedom to move as they look for new areas that meet their needs. The size and design of these bio-corridors is dependent on many interrelated topics including: geography, flooding and other natural disturbances, historic wildlife migration patterns, ecosystem connectivity, local human populations and their desires to name just a few. There are three important bio-corridor opportunities in the region. All of them are in urgent need of protection due to the fast pace of human development and the threat of mining and petroleum. They include: Yasuni Achuar Bio-Corridor; Shaime Mangozisa Bio-Corridor; and Palora Pastaza Bio-Corridor. Please see our website for details on each area: https://aaconserve.org/en/projects/biocorridors-ecuador

Population(s) Served

A Roadless Economy – The Conservation Alternative to Extractive Industries

The AAC is building a Hut to Hut Amazon Adventure starting with lodges on the Mangozisa river in Shuar Territory. The Mangozisa river basin, in Shuar territory, is visually spectacular, ecologically critical and a great place for eco-tourism. The Shaime mountain range, which hangs over the river, has extensive pristine rainforests and currently connects the giant Santiago Comainas Rainforest Reserve in Peru with the Andes mountains and the million+ acre Sangay National Park. Most of the Shuar territory is threatened by mining.

Rather than visiting just a single eco-lodge, you can hike and canoe to remote and very wild roadless areas, lodging in a chain of huts that follow a path of cultural adventures. For our Mangozisa eco-huts, travel will be by canoe along a twisty river that has a mix of ancient forests and small Shuar settlements. Theres no tourism in the area and so it offers a very authentic experience.

In our Mangozisa river adventure, adventurers will travel with knowledgeable Shuar guides between huts in unique settings where we'll offer compelling ecological, cultural and handicraft workshops. Shuar members will teach visitors about ceramics, basketry, identification of wild edibles, rainforest ecology and native spirituality. We hope to heighten awareness of the native skills that the Shuar have depended on for thousands of years but that are fading in practice as the modern world slowly seeps into these remote areas.

The goals of this adventure network are:
To succeed in the growing adventure tourism market so that native people can have a sustainable means of income.
To inspire conservation of the adjoining Shaime mountain range, which is a critical bio-corridor.
To demonstrate a sustainable economic alternative to mining and oil extraction.
To offer adventurers unforgettable nature and culture experiences that make everything above possible.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The vision of our Andes Amazon Conservancy initiatives is to support sustainable conservation of diverse Andes Amazon ecosystems and indigenous cultures, and in partnership blend the best of ancient wisdom and modern science.

To accomplish this, our organization has two goals:
1) To re-connect Andes - Amazon landscapes and protect ecosystems that sustain healthy lives and biodiversity by collaborating with indigenous and rural communities in land use planning; and
2) To provide income for the indigenous communities as well as help preserve their ancient knowledge and wisdom by building a sustainable ecotourism network for international adventurers that is authentic, ecologically critical, and visually spectacular, creating a roadless economy.

The 2020-2021 Strategic Plan for our Andes Amazon Conservancy consists of the following initiatives:
1) Territorial Land Use Planning for three indigenous groups in the Amazon Basin: Shiwiar, Shuar and Sapara.
We are researching and recording GPS data to create Quantum DIS digital maps of the groups' territories that will document how land is planned to be used for specific activities including hunting, fishing, living areas and permaculture. Legal reviews of these maps will assure them as instruments of legal defense for the territories to be presented to the Ecuadorian Ministry of the Environment in the capital of Quito. The Ecuadorian Constitution includes Article 56 which defines the "Rights of Nature," which offers a legal precedent in arguing against extractive industries such as oil drilling and mineral mining in the Amazon rain forest.
2) Bio-Corridors creating three wildlife migration sanctuaries uniting the Andes and Amazon biomes.
These include the Yasuni Achuar, Shaime Mangozisa and Palora Pastaza corridors. As previously stated, bio-corridors add critical habitat and allow species the freedom to move as they look for new areas that meet their needs. The size and design of these bio-corridors is dependent on many inter-related topics including: geography, flooding and other natural disturbances, historic wildlife migration patterns, ecosystem connectivity, local human populations and their desires to name just a few.
3) Hut-to-Hut Adventure Program beginning with a two-hut network in the Morona Santiago region of Ecuador, providing income for the Shuar people in the Los Angeles community. We anticipate the expansion of this network into Shiwiar territory. The first two huts will be built by August of 2021 with a program launch in September. Adventurers will travel with knowledgeable Shuar guides between huts in unique settings where we'll offer compelling ecological, cultural and handicraft workshops. Shuar members will teach them about ceramics, basketry, identification of wild edibles, rain forest ecology and native spirituality. We hope to heighten awareness of the native skills that the Shuar have depended on for thousands of years but that are fading in practice as the modern world slowly seeps into these remote areas.

During its first year, the Andes Amazon Conservancy grew considerably. Each of our four Board Members represent a different area of expertise including organizational management, business administration, public relations, marketing, fund development, civic planning, mountaineering, outdoor education and youth programs. Begun with U.S. professionals retired in Ecuador, we plan to grow our board to eventually become an Ecuadorian-run organization with ample participation by indigenous leaders. The first member of our Advisory Board is an Ecuadorian writer, professor, outdoor adventurer, whose prolific career has earned him an association with highly credentialed members of Ecuadorian civic and professional life.

The following team members are those who will work with indigenous nation leaders in training local community members to provide data for land planning initiatives and become tour guides for the hut adventure program.

We have two officers:
Our Executive Director is an ethno-ecologist from the U.S. with extensive international business experience who spent 10 years conducting environmental projects including wildlife migration studies that brought him a deep understanding of the value of bio-corridors. He has also led deep wilderness adventures around the world for over 30 years. His extensive expeditions in all kinds of wild landscapes along with his knowledge of migration and tracking led to his ability to identify areas of high conservation value in the larger ecological matrix.
Our Secretary/Treasurer and Project Coordinator for our Hut-to-Hut Program is an Ecuadorian with a bachelor's in Tourism Management and Development and a master's in Contemporary Anthropology. She has conducted research on the “Pinzhi Mikuna” in the community of Saraguro and research in the La Feria Libre market in the city of Cuenca.

We have two additional Project Coordinators:
Our Shuar Cultural Liaison coordinates the Shuar Land Planning Project. Growing up in a Spanish mission, he was educated as a priest. He later joined the elite brigade of the Ecuadorian army in its war with Peru. This was followed by 20 years spent as a wilderness guide in the Amazon and the Andes leading to his work as a Tourism Analyst with the Ministry of Tourism.
Our Shiwiar Cultural Liaison coordinates the Shiwiar Land Planning Project. She worked as National Manager for Ecuador Eco-Volunteer, working closely with indigenous communities to analyze and create sustainable eco-projects. She gives specialized workshops with communities in the Amazon focused on eco-tourism, women’s rights, communications, and the indigenous economy. Alongside Ecuador Eco-Volunteer, she collaborated with COICA (Coordinadora de las Organizaciones Indígenas de la Cuenca Amazónica), documenting workshops and interviewing leaders from the nine countries in the Amazon basin.

Shiwiar Territory Planning Project:
Shiwiar leadership is collaborating with the Andes Amazon Conservancy to develop conservation plans for their their 450,000-acre territory of that sits near the border of Peru. In the past year, our organization has begun to guide the Shiwiar through a process that clarifies their nation's sovereignty while planning for the sustainable stewardship of natural resources. This is being accomplished through a combination of documenting bio-corridors that are needed to maintain biodiversity and culture along with the planning process that creates zoning maps and documents that could form the foundation for stronger legal defense of their territory.

Hut-to-Hut Adventure Network:
Shuar leadership is collaborating with the AAC to build a Hut-to-Hut Amazon Adventure on the Mangozisa River. Shuar members will guide eco-tourists between huts in unique settings to experience ecological, cultural and handicraft workshops. The Shuar will receive income as an alternative to mining and oil extraction and we hope to inspire conservation of a critical bio-corridor. In the past year, the first of two planned bamboo and thatch covered lodges began construction, a process temporarily suspended due to the Covid pandemic. We expect completion of the first hut by year's end and the second hut by 7/2021. Following the development of program planning, staff training, marketing and promotion, and other logistics, an adventure program launch is anticipated for 9/2021.

Bio-Corridors Project:
Our organization wants to protect bio-corridors that would connect the Amazon with the Andes. This would allow migration of all species which is the only way to conserve biodiversity. All bio-corridors are in urgent need of protection due to the fast pace of human development and the threat of mining and oil interests. In the past year, we have researched which areas offer the best possibilities for bio-corridor conservation and have identified these three priorities: Yasuni Achuar Bio-Corridor; Shaime Mangozisa Bio-Corridor; Palora Pastaza Bio-Corridor
We are collaborating with indigenous leaders and local governments to advocate for the protection of these three bio-corridors.

Financials

Andes-Amazon Conservancy
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Andes-Amazon Conservancy

Board of directors
as of 10/19/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Susan MacBryde

(Retired public relations and fundraising professional)

Term: 2020 - 2021

Harry Watkins

Fayette Binning

Julie Combs

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/18/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 10/18/2020

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.