Celebrating the fifth anniversary of RPPN Caruara Private Nature Reserve, voluntarily created and maintained by the Port of Açu, the enterprise organized a symbolic birthday party attended by 50 elderly residents of Açu and São João da Barra. The initiative is a social investment by the company to encourage local culture and broaden the dialogue with the community. The visit by the group — selected by the Municipal Secretariat of Social Assistance — started with a video about RPPN Caruara and proceeded with a guided stroll around the plant nursery that supplies the RPPN and is set up inside the Port Complex. After visiting the plant nursery, guests were offered the opportunity to talk about their personal experiences with Caruara and also participated in a workshop facilitated by art therapist Cristine Azevedo.
Faz Caroara – 5 anos-7406.jpgOne of the guests was Ângela Maria Barreto, who raised seven children at Caruara before it became an environmental protection area and felt as a time-traveler during the visit. “I was so emotional when you welcomed me here because I had all these memories from my time at Caruara. I know this entire place so well. This is where I brought my children up, back when we used a wood-burning stove to cook. This visit will stay in my mind for the rest of my life,” she said.
“I am very touched by what we experienced today. To retrieve these memories in a moment of relaxation and joy is very good for us. May this space always be protected,” said another guest, Getúlio Alvarenga.
A cake was shared to celebrate the date. Copies of the book “O Tempo e a Restinga” (“Time and Restinga”, about the history of region’s typical ecosystem) were distributed as prizes
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“We were so happy to welcome such a special group. We could see it in their eyes how pleased they were for being here. It was a heartfelt meeting, with storytelling and shared experiences about our Caruara. They certainly learned about our RPPN, but I assure you that we learned a lot from them,” said Gleide Gomes, Social Responsibility coordinator of the Port of Açu.
With an area of approximately 40 km², Private Nature Reserve – RPPN Caruara is the largest private restinga preservation unit in the country and the only one in Rio de Janeiro state that protects this type of ecosystem. Its area equals about 60% of all private reserves created by the state.
RRPN Caruara carries out plant re-composition work and monitoring of local vegetation and fauna, employing about 40 people who live in the region. All seedlings planted at the RPPN are produced in a nursery installed in the Port of Açu. The nursery is dedicated to restinga species and has capacity to produce up to 500,000 seedlings per year, being the largest in Latin America.
The nursery currently produces and handles more than 70 restinga species, and more than 750,000 seedlings were already produced and planted at the RPPN. Some are endangered species (according to MMA decrees nº 443/14 and nº 444/14), such as Scutia arenicola, Inga maritima and Melanopsidium nigrum.
In addition to its environmental relevance, the creation of RPPN Caruara allowed the city of São João da Barra to increase collection of a sustainability tax known as ICMS Verde. In 2014 alone, the city received R$ 1,524,531 related to the sustainability tax.