Learn About Rainforests
At Rainforest Foundation US, we take saving rainforests seriously. We work with communities that live in the rainforest to protect their homes. These communities are called “indigenous peoples.” They and their grandparents and their great grandparents have been living in the rainforest for as long as they can remember and know best how to take care of it.
Rainforest Foundation US works closely with communities in the Amazon rainforest, the world’s biggest rainforest located in South America. Follow along the slideshows below to learn more about the peoples, animals, and plants that live in the Amazon.
What is it like to live in a rainforest? It depends on where you live. For example, the Yanomami people in Brazil often live in large, communal houses, while the Embera people prefer living in small houses built up on stilts to protect themselves from flooding rivers.
In the rainforest, kids learn from their parents and grandparents about how to live in the forest and take care of it. In addition, kids sometimes have to travel great distances to study at schools far away from their parents because there are none nearby. Other villages might have a one-room school where all of the community’s children are able to study together.
Read on to find out more about what it’s like to grow up in a rainforest.
The Achuar people live in the Amazon rainforest along the border between Ecuador and Peru. The many rivers and lakes in this region often run right through or sit next to their communities. Achuar kids get around using hand-carved canoes made from nearby trees. Canoes are the easiest way to move through the rainforest because there are so many rivers and streams. In other places, like Guyana, there’s even a “school canoe” to go to class!
In Ecuador, like in many other areas of the rainforest, dancing is a very important part of life and performed for fun and for traditional ceremonies. Everyone in the villages can participate in the dances. Sometimes, even the entire village dances together! When they dance, the men and women wear traditional dresses, masks, or headdresses made of products from the rainforest like seeds, leaves, or feathers. It takes a long time to create them by hand, and the adornments can change from dance to dance.
In a city park you can see bees, ants, ladybugs, butterflies, and animals like dogs and cats. In the rainforest, there are thousands of different kinds of bugs, some of which are bigger than anything you see in your local park! In some places, kids see parrots and monkeys every day. Through stories, songs, and folk tales told by their elders, kids learn the names of the plants and animals that live in the rainforest with them.
Getting food in the rainforest is very different from going to a regular supermarket because the rainforest is the supermarket! The people living there, like the Aiapi people of French Guiana and Brazil, cultivate plants like cassava, sweet potatoes, yams, bananas, plantains, sugarcane, mangoes, papayas, and manioc or corn. Kids go with their parents to the rainforest to gather nuts and fruits, and also look for frogs and caterpillars that can be fire-roasted!
Do you like to paint your face for Halloween, at a carnival, or to cheer on your favorite sports team? In the rainforest, kids and adults also paint their faces with patterns. The paint can come from plants, flowers, or charcoal. Wet charcoal is used to make black marks, while the seeds of the spiny achiote fruit are crushed for bright red-orange marks. With these colors, they paint their faces and bodies and dye their clothes and hair. Some of the paints also act as insect repellent!
Kids who live in rainforests don’t need to go to parks because the park is all around them! Kids growing up in the rainforest - like the Wounaan of Panama - climb trees, run through the rainforest, hang from vines, jump from cliffs into rivers or streams, ride in their canoes, and swim with turtles near waterfalls!
Rainforests Around the World are Disappearing
The Amazon rainforest and other rainforests around the world are being cut down in order to harvest their wood to build buildings or furniture, to clear land for new farms or dig for gold. But destroying rainforests has a major impact on the people, plants, and animals that live there. It also affects those of us who live far away from rainforests; tropical rainforests clean the air we breathe, regulate the rainfall that feeds our farms, and provide medicines that keep us healthy.
How Kids Can Save Rainforests
Even if you live far from a rainforest or have never visited one, there are still a number of things kids can do to save tropical rainforests. You can share what you’ve learned with friends and family, say “no” to products that harm rainforests, or fundraise for organizations like Rainforest Foundation US that work on the ground to protect rainforests.
You’re never too young to be a hero for the rainforest. The smallest efforts count, and the smallest people can make a huge difference. Read on to find out ways to help.
Spread the Word
Now that you know how important rainforests are and the threats they face, you can share what you’ve learned with friends and family. Check out the ideas below, or get creative with your own.
Reduce Your Use of Rainforest Products
You can save rainforests by reducing your use of products that are grown on cleared rainforest lands – beef, soy, and palm oil are the products that contribute most to deforestation.
Raise Funds for Rainforests
To raise funds, you can organize a sponsored talent show, run, walk, swim, bike ride, hop, three-legged race, dance, or any other activity you enjoy! You can also hold bake sales or open a lemonade stand.
If you would like to raise funds for Rainforest Foundation US, follow these easy steps: