Earth Train: Young people and mentors developing values, practical knowledge, and leadership skills for biocultural renewal and sustainable community development in harmony with nature.
Richie Barshay at the Mamoní Valley Preserve
February 25, 2014
At the end of the Panama Jazz Festival, we had the pleasure of hosting world-class percussionist Richie Barshay and 5-time Grammy Award-winning sound engineer and producer Rob Griffin at the Mamoní Valley Preserve. During their visit, Richie took a moment to experiment with the sounds of nature, while Rob filmed on his iPhone.
- Nathan Gray, Founder and Co-Executive Director of Earth Train
Festival de Liderazgo Biocultural: Un Resumen
February 10, 2014
¡Llegó la traducción al Español del resumen de nuesto exitoso Festival de Liderazgo Biocultural de Noviembre de 2013! Descárgalo aquí.
Our Spanish-language translation of Spotlight on Biocultural Leadership has just been released. Read it here.
Crossroads School for the Arts and Sciences is here!
January 14, 2014
Earth Train, through our arts-and-nature program Junglewood, hosted the Crossroads School for the Arts and Sciences during the week of the Panama Jazz Festival. We were honored and thrilled to have these extraordinary young performers in from Santa Monica, CA for this week of music and exploration. They are accompanied by the guitarist and executive director of Junglewood, Shea Welsh; Crossroads music teacher Evan Avery; and Spanish teacher Molly Cavallaro.
To start the week off, we spent three days and two nights at Earth Train's Centro Mamoní in the Mamoní Valley Preserve. We introduced the students to the location of the future Junglewood sustainable artistic and cultural community at the eastern entrance to the Mamoní Valley Preserve. Led by Earth Train's naturalist and co-executive director Lider Sucre, they took hikes through the back-country to visit a few very special spots in the Preserve. On the last night, after a long day of hiking, the enchantment of Junglewood reined as all of us took up a variety of instruments, including an improvised bamboo pipe drum, to create unforgettable music inspired by Nature.
It was truly an honor and a joy to have the Crossroads students and teachers with us this week. We thank them all for being such wonderful guests and Junglewood partners.
Earth Train's Spotlight on Biocultural Leadership with Jane Goodall - Nov 12th through Nov 15th
Reflections on our remarkable week with Jane Goodall and friends
November 21, 2013
In the second week of November a remarkable mix of people joined the primatologist Jane Goodall in Panama for five days of dialogue and cultural events under the banner of “Biocultural Leadership”.
Our most sincere gratitude to our collaborators and sponsors who made this successful event possible. Thank you!
Thank You Everyone!
November 18, 2013
Earth Train's Spotlight on Biocultural Leadership has laid some very important foundations, and we're proud to say it was a huge success! We look forward to continuing our work together with Four Worlds International Institute, Jane Goodall's Roots and Shoots, Panama's BioMuseo, the Panama International Hotel School, and all the other people and organizations that made this week what it was. Thank you!
Day Four: Go Wild!
November 15, 2013
This was the final day of Earth Train's Spotlight on Biocultural Leadership with Jane Goodall, and we're sad to see it end! We started today off with a canopy tour for Dr. Goodall in the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute's Canopy Crane, accompanied by two of the winning students from Earth Train's Go Wild! wildlife conservation contest.
After that, we gathered at the MET in the City of Knowledge for the official presentations of the 40 Go Wild! contest winners. They ranged from colorful informational books to creative board games to websites, cookbooks and more. The participants demonstrated impressive creativity and motivation, and we were thrilled that they got to take advantage of this unique opportunity!
As part of the prize for having worked so hard on their wildlife conservation and awareness projects, the kids got to sit for 2 hours with Dr. Goodall in a question-and-answer session that was broadcast live on the internet by La Prensa. In this unique session, the kids got to talk to Dr. Goodall about her personal thoughts regarding Panama, it's culture, it's ecosystem and the way it relates to the bigger picture of wildlife conservation and Biocultural renewal.
Day Three: A Day at the Museum
November 14, 2013
Panama is Our Museum
The main event of the day was a big one, introducing an important theme in the cultural and ecological thoughtscape of Panama and the world. With "Panama is Our Museum", Earth Train and Panama's Biomuseo - the Frank Gehry-designed museum of Biological Diversity - sought to promote the idea that the beauty of Panama is all around us, from the primary rain forests of Darien and Earth Train's own Mamoní Valley Preserve right down to the trees growing out of the rooftops in Panama City's Casco Viejo - and that the people and culture of Panama form an integral part of that beauty.
For Panama is Our Museum, we invited 8 groups of kids from various grass-roots NGOs around Panama to present works of theater, music and dance to demonstrate aspects of Panamanian culture and appreciation for Panama's native flora and fauna. Among the invites were Gramo Danse, Cambio Creativo, OJEWP, Fundación Trabajando por un Futuro Mejor, Alouatta Sanctuary, Eco Creando, Misión Águila Harpia of the Brader Highschool and an independent group of kids from the village of Cangandi in the Guna Yala.
Among the truly memorable highlights of the event was an interactive drum circle lead by Panamanian percussionists Alfredo Hidrovo and Eric Blanquicet in which the children were instructed to drum specific rhythms on plastic buckets. Alfredo has been hosting the so-called Luna Llena de Tambores in Panama for 3 years now and it was a thrill to have him lead the show in the Old Officers' Club at the Bio Museum for us. With 90 kids from diverse backgrounds around Panama, the energy was high, and even Jane got a dance in!
While in attendance, the kids enjoyed bagged lunches delivered by the Panama International Hotel School and got to be the first group of kids ever to tour the yet-to-be-opened Bio Museum galleries!
After the kids' amazing performances were over, we shifted into the evening event, an informal gathering to highlight the continuing development of Junglewood, a collaboration between Earth Train and Fundación Danilo Pérez. Also fully catered by the Panama International Hotel School, the event kicked off with a showing of Earth Train's newest documentary short, followed by a surprise performance by students and staff from Fundación Danilo Pérez and an exciting new composition by Shea Welsh based on a traditional Guna song performed live together with a child from Cangandi.
An hour of music ensued, featuring performances by guitarist Julian Lage, percussionist Tupac Mantilla, guitarist Juanito Pascual, guitarist Shea Welsh, violinist Graciela Núñez and Bassist Brad Barrett, after which the audience was lead by Tupac Mantilla in a collaborative percussion piece performed on pieces of bamboo from Earth Train's Mamoní Valley Reserve. The day was exhausting, but a profound success! Thanks to the whole Earth Train team who made all this possible and a special thanks to our friends at the BioMuseo for rolling with the punches today!
Day Two: A Spiritual Connection
November 13, 2013
Gun Hill Healing Ceremony
Day two started early: at 6:00am, we gathered at the base of Gun Hill - what used to be the US armory overlooking the Panama Canal - for a ceremony of spiritual healing and rebirth. Gun Hill sits as the centerpiece of Panama's City of Knowledge and has enormous potential as a place for learning and leadership development.
The ceremony - lead by Chief Phil Lane, Jr. as well as important elders from the Ngöbe of Chiriquí, the Guna from the Atlantic coast, and the Emberá/Wounaan of the Darien - represented a new beginning for this landmark and served as an opportunity to build a context for the much-anticipated show, The Reconnection of the Eagle and Condor which followed tonight.
Reconnection of the Condor and Eagle
Held at the Ateneo in the City of Knowledge, the Reconnection of the Eagle and Condor was a colorful celebration of cultural heritage from around the Americas. Eleven groups representing a number of indigenous cultures from North and South America performed for an audience of over 400 spectators, including Dr. Jane Goodall. The performances ranged from traditional dance and song to acts of theater and even featured an exciting fusion of traditional culture with modern rock in a performance by local Guna rock band La Tribu.
Words from Earth Train and Jane Goodall
After the performances, we heard inspiring and hopeful words by Earth Train founder Nathan Gray and Co-Executive Director Lider Sucre, as well as a performance by the Junglewood Band, lead by Shea Welsh on electric guitar with Juanito Pascual on flamenco guitar, Tupac Mantilla on percussion and Brad Barrett on bass. Dr. Jane Goodall delivered the final note of the evening as she expressed her thoughts and opinions about the important symbolism of this cultural demonstration. Among other things, she addressed the importance of the budding partnership between Earth Train and her Roots and Shoots program, which aims to bring young people into leadership roles regarding environmentalism and wildlife conservation.
The event closed with a spontaneous gathering of all participants on stage in a pulsating chant and dance lead by Earth Train's own Raul Mezua, himself a representative of the Embera people of Darien. Thanks for a great night everyone!
An Exciting Start to the Week
November 12, 2013
We're excited to report that we've received the first guests - a special envoy of indigenous elders from around the Americas including Elizabeth Araujo, Rose Mary Vargas, Dakota Chief Phil Lane, Jr. of the Four Worlds International Institute, and Reuben George - to kick off our week of biocultural diversity and leadership.
Our first event was tonight - the world primiere of the spanish-language version of the award winning documentary "Shift of the Ages", produced by the Four Worlds International Institute to highlight Mayan Elder Tata Cirilo Pérez, who is also a special guest in attendance during this week. We were honored to have Tata address the audience after the film showing, and look forward to more insights and perspectives from Tata, Phil, and other respected indigenous leaders from around the Americas.
Explore Earth Train
The 10,000-acre Mamoní Valley Preserve: a world campus for education, restoration, training in biocultural restoration and conservation and sustainable development.
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 Earth Train, our programs and our history in this Youtube video presentation.