Centro Mamoní, Mamoní Valley Preserve
Located in an area that is as sensitive economically as it is ecologically, Centro Mamoní is an ideal setting for the preparation of students and young professionals in the fields of sustainable economic and community development. A learning community dedicated to the conservation of biological and cultural diversity, the Centro Mamoní campus is advancing the understanding of what it really takes to achieve sustainable development in the context of poverty, social inequity and threatened environments throughout the world.
In 2001, Earth Train started the construction of Centro Mamoní, its rural campus in the Mamoní Valley, on the border of the sacred primary forest and river areas of the western Kuna Yala. Dominated by its central gathering place the "Comedor", the complex covers roughly two acres of new-growth, restored forest and ranges in accommodations from three guest houses spread across the sparse, well-trimmed vegetation leading up to the Comedor, to the intern/student lodge and the founders' cabin, both situated deeper in the lush secondary forest and at the end of a long and winding path lined by tropical ornamental plants and ground covers. On the other end near the entrance to the grounds is a large reinforced-concrete warehouse/shop and the "Vivero", or nursery, for the large agro-forestry project in progress in the valley.
A mini hydroelectric power plant - the heart of Madroño, whose water is sourced from the creek that cuts through the grounds - supplies the entire complex with lights, the Comedor with refrigeration and a satellite internet and phone connection, and the shop with sufficient power for the occasional use of the heavy-duty equipment it contains.
All accommodations at Centro Mamoní are primitive: guests and staff alike sleep in tents on the floors of their cabins - often with air mattresses or sleeping pads - or in hammocks. Sanitary services consist of two fully-composting toilet systems, the contents of which, when ready, are used to fertilize the ornamental plants around the grounds. Gray water is filtered through a grove of bamboo and various other native plants known to perform purification functions before it rejoins the creek below the complex. Residents and volunteers enjoy pure, clean drinking water piped in straight from the creek, while foreign guests not accustomed to the bacterial fauna in the area often prefer to drink from the stock of boiled water on hand.
Centro Mamoní is the project center of Earth Train. Most notable in its repertoire is its successful organic vegetable garden - a product hard-won by a devoted intern, Kate Del Vecchio - which now supplies inhabitants with a wide variety of fresh vegetables, from beets to lettuce to tomatoes. It is also the base camp for the agroforestry project of Earth Train partner Rainforest Capital, LLC., as well as the site of several research initiatives, including a climate data-gathering program and the ornithological/entomological studies of Dr. Catherine Lindell of Michigan State University.
Explore Earth Train
Read about our budding partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute
Learn about Earth Train, our programs, the Mamoní Valley Preserve and more in our Mamoní Valley Programs Report by Nathan Gray and Líder Sucre.
Learn about the Center for Biodiversity Research, the California Academy of Sciences and the important role tha each plays in helping Earth Train map the Mamoní Valley.