The Project

Fundación Ñucanchi Yuracuna is a non-profit educational and conservation project initiated by Santiago Diaz, an Ecuadorian student and conservationist, Jennifer Osha, an American WorldTeach volunteer in Ecuador, and Rodrigo Donoso, a local mountain guide and ecologist. FNY works in conjunction with the Escuela Superior Politecnica de Chimborazo (ESPOCH) in student projects, botanical research, and local reforestation projects. FNY is a small foundation staffed by both native and foreign volunteers dedicated to making sure that all money goes directly where it is needed.

undación Ñucanchi Yuracuna's mission is to conserve and propagate native Andean forest, and to help educate Ecuadorians about the importance of retaining and restoring their natural environment. A principal goal of FNY is to help improve the standard of living in five local communities by teaching them how to sustainably use their environment. We believe that Ecuador's environmental problems in the Andes can be eased by working to improve the ecological mentality of the younger generations. Our project is three fold: Conservation, Education, and Hope in the Andes of Ecuador.

Conservation: Our project involves acquiring 400 acres of native Andean forest and grassland and converting it into a protected park. This valley is located at an altitude of 4200-4800 meters, and contains an abundance of high altitude flora and fauna, as well as the endangered "Yagual" tree. By purchasing this area, we can stop the burning and unsustainable water usage practices that are severely impacting the forest. In conjunction with ESPOCH, in the beginning of June, 1999, we will begin to research the regeneration of the Yagual, a tree essential to local communities as well as in preventing erosion.

Education: Our initial aim is to begin intensive environmental education projects in the local communities of Urvina, 12 de Octubre, Mocha, Mocha Pata, and Altillo. For children, projects will involve Pet Tree programs, simple reforestation projects, and guided walks through the park. For adults, we will teach the importance of native flora and fauna, specifically how native plants can be used to increase their productivity in a sustainable way. We also will train 2-3 locals in resource management, conservation of native species, and communication skills in English and Spanish.

Hope: Many of the children in the Andes do not believe that their native trees can grow to be higher than shrubs. Their highland forests are disappearing due to rapidly growing populations that are increasing the pressure on these slow growing, delicate systems. We believe that by bringing families into Fundación Ñucanchi Yuracuna and showing them how the Andes once looked, and could look again, we can help to inspire a new generation to conserve their homeland.

Ultimately, we hope that these new generations will recognize that proper management of their resources is in their own long term social and economic interests. It is our intention to involve the local communities as quickly and completely as possible, with the hope of transferring responsibility to them in the near future.


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Fundación Ñucanchi Yuracuna
Conservation, Education, and Hope in the Andes of Ecuador
Date Last Modified: 5/18/99