Our decision to locate Earth Train's permanent international center in Panama was, in part, in response to an emergency. Guillermo Archibald, a respected Kuna environmental leader, and two young men from Kuna Yala who participated in one of Earth Train's leadership training programs in Puerto Rico, urged us to visit Panama and to consider locating our rural facilities near Kuna Yala. A team of Earth Train staff and Kuna leaders picked the watershed of the upper Rio Mamoní, one of the three largest rivers in the capital province of Panama.
The valley of the upper Mamoní, only two hours from Panama City, was where their protected primary forest and river valleys were in greatest danger of invasion. Absentee ranchers were pushing their hired hands to clear more forest for pasture; groups specializing in illegal logging were offering tantalizing "cash down plus a piece of the action" deals to the owners of forested land. Small farmers in the area found a temporary gold mine in the production of culantro, a broad-leafed variety of cilantro that is popular in Panama. In growing numbers, they were clearing and burning forested land on steep inclines to scratch out the ideal, though short-lived, growing conditions for this phosphorous-loving plant.
Creating the Campus
After establishing our base in Panama, the next step was creating the campus. Over the last 9 years, we've poured our hearts into creating and maintaining our two primary campuses for operations, Centro Mamoní and Casa Arias. Both campuses are equally important to the service of our goals, and we're extremely proud of what we've been able to provide as a result of these spaces.
Earth Train's business headquarters are just a block away from Casa Arias in the historic Familia Sagrada building - a space nothing short of inspiring in its antiquity and character that is generously donated by its landlord, Casey Hardin, to a handful of community-oriented non-profit organizations.
Explore Earth Train
Junglewood: The Danilo Perez Performing and Visual Arts Center in the Mamoní Valley Preserve.
The 10,000-acre Mamoní Valley Preserve: a world campus for education, restoration, training in biocultural restoration and conservation and sustainable development.
Dynamic Partnerships with Indigenous Leaders in Panama.