Volunteering is one the most relevant instruments of mobilization for the conservation of biodiversity. IPÊ has been encouraging these actions in partnerships with NGOs and the corporate world. In the month of the environment, 22 employees from Alpargatas/Havaianas (an IPÊ partner for 18 years) participated in a volunteer action at the Jaraguá State Park, in the city of São Paulo. The activity involves a lot of hands-on work, with the identification and division of 28 species from seedlings and seed collection, organization of the nursery, transplantation of 550 seedlings of Juçara-palm, an endangered species, and planting of tree seedlings.
The program began early in the morning with a presentation by Gustavo Lopes do Espírito Santo, manager of the Jaraguá State Park, about the Conservation Unit (UC) considered a World Heritage Site by Unesco. The park is home of one of the last remnants of Atlantic Forest in the São Paulo Metropolitan Region and is part of São Paulo Green Belt Biosphere Reserve.
Next, Andrea Peçanha, coordinator of the IPÊ Business Unit, highlighted corporate volunteering as strategic for the conservation of biodiversity.” The potential for companies to involve employees in an initiative like this reinforces corporate values and a sense of collectivity and belonging. After all, we can all contribute to the conservation of protected areas and biodiversity. Bringing employees together at the UC reinforces the maturity of this relationship between IPÊ and Alpargatas/Havaianas, which can inspire other companies to follow this path, with a position that mobilizes employees to act for the conservation of our parks and protected areas”, she says.
Maria José de Martini, head of Sustainability and Reputation at Alpargatas/Havaianas, explains how volunteering is applied within the company. “In the area of social responsibility, we promote inclusion through education, social entrepreneurship and volunteering, one of the main pillars of the global strategy”, comments.
Most of the volunteers from Alpargatas/Havaianas participated for the first time in an action like this. “This was our first major delivery within the new global strategy, the first of many. And there is nothing better than starting with a partner (IPÊ) with whom we have worked for 18 years. Many employees had never done a voluntary action. Some were already volunteers and loved the new initiative with nature, it was an incredible day. We already have collaborators interested in the next editions, wanting to participate, asking when the next action will be”.
The actions at the nursery were guide by professionals from the Park and two technicians from the IPÊ, Gustavo Brichi and Paulo Roberto Ferro. The team also planted seedlings and hiked to Pico of Jaraguá, which gives its name to the unit, with an altitude of 1135 meters. The word Jaraguá, Tupi origin, means “Lord of the Valleys”.
For Gustavo Lopes do Espírito Santo, manager of State Park of Jaraguá, initiatives like this reinforce volunteering as a strategy to engage society through nature. “It was an enriching activity, without a doubt the opportunity to expose the importance of protected areas to engaged and committed groups, it contributed to improving the services offered to the public and awake a feeling of affection and belonging to the space. No doubt serving as inspiration for new actions”. On the day, the 22 volunteers totaled 130 hours of volunteering dedicated to the conservation unit, 6 hours of each participant.
Andrea Peçanha emphasizes that the initiative exceeded the expectations of the collaborators. “Everyone was positively impressed with the receptivity of the Florestal Foundation team that works in the Park and with the management in the Unit. The interest was so much that the participants were already planning the next opportunity to visit the place.”
Collective good, in the end we are all biodiversity.
The action of volunteers contributed to the revitalization of the nursery that produces native of Atlantic Forest seedlings for the restauration of degraded areas within the UC, which is essential to help protection of this important remnant and its biodiversity, as explained Angela Pellin, researched which coordinates Volunteering front for Conservation, at IPÊ. “It’s the type of initiative where everyone wins: The Park, which received support from volunteers and materials donated to revitalize part of the nursery, the volunteers who have a different day, in contact with nature and a lot of learning, and Alpargatas, which has the opportunity to carry out an integrative action with its employees, which reflects the company’s commitment to the environment”, emphasizes.