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Unexpected Activism – A Life Turned Around By Birds

The Bird that Saved a Rainforest

Today’s inspiration comes from a bird lady:

People told me you cannot save the forest, but the more they told me, the more I wanted to do it.

Forbes Blackbird

Forbes Blackbird

That’s the determination we need! Anita Studer, ornithologist and Swiss native, traveled to Brazil’s Pedra Talhada tropical rain forest during grad school in 1981. There she found her passion. She became infatuated with a near-extinct species known as the Forbes’s Blackbird – or locally, the anumara – and naturally, Studer wanted to write her dissertation on this local legend.

But she would have to do it quickly: they were predicted to be extinct in a decade due to mass habitat loss. So her objective became pretty simple: save the forest so she could study the birds.

An Ecological Success Story

Very long story simplified, Brazil’s government designated 11,000 acres of the Pedra Talhada a biological reserve in 1989. And “in the 30 years since her conservation work began, Studer says six million trees have been planted across Brazil, including a 15-kilometer corridor known as the Swiss Forest. And the Forbes’s blackbird is flourishing.”

In the spirit of tree planting - my high school's environmental club planting Shady the Sun Valley Maple tree

In the spirit of tree planting – my high school’s environmental club planting Shady the Sun Valley Maple tree

That’s great, it is. She has accomplished statistically impressive goals in the reforestation world. But her most inspiring and impactful effect? Studer got communities to come together. She effectively used her power to convince one region of the importance of restoration, and it spiraled from there, massively increasing consciousness of deforestation’s effects across Brazil. Now children are growing up with the instilled value of environmental protection.

Yes, there’s a long way to go, but I hope this serves as a testament to one person’s ability to bring about change.

Check out How an Endangered Bird Helped Save a Brazilian Rainforest.

Have a great week and don’t be trashy.


Author: Elke Arnesen

Elke Arnesen is an 18-year-old gap year student interning with Peterson Toscano. She's planning on studying environmental policy in college next year but for now is gaining support for carbon pricing in her free time.

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