Watershed project links York and Brazil


Above: Some members of the Sisters Watershed Project, from left: Ellie Perkins, project coordinator, York; Valeria Freixedas, Piracicaba campus, University of São Paulo; Miriam Duailibi, ECOAR director and Brazilian project director; Beth Teixeira, São Paulo campus, USP; and Andrea Moraes, part-time project administrator, York 

The faculty and students of York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) who speak Portuguese now have a chance to pursue some timely research on improving watershed management in Brazil.

Right: São Paulo campus, USP

Brazilian counterparts in a $1.2-million, FES-managed project in Brazil recently visited the Keele campus to plan their activities in detail and to meet students and faculty members who are interested in becoming more involved with the project, funded by the Canadian International Development Agency. 

The connection with York is strong, with FES Professor Ellie Perkins and adjunct FES geography Professor Paul Zandbergen, formerly with FES and now with the University of South Florida in Tampa, as project directors and Andrea Moraes, on contract with FES, as a part-time project administrator.

The Sisters Watershed Project, which began mid-2003 and runs to 2009, is aimed at strengthening the capacity of Brazilian non-governmental organizations to take part in watershed management in São Paulo State, Brazil.

Left: Piracicaba campus, USP

Two Brazilian partners in the project are ECOAR, a leading NGO in the field of sustainable development and environmental education, and the University of São Paulo (USP), both of which are eager to collaborate on project research with students and faculty at York. In fact, there are opportunities for interested Brazilian and Canadian faculty members and graduate students to spend four to six months in Canada or Brazil, respectively, for study or major paper research. (It is recommended that candidates be able to speak Portuguese.)

Project participants will focus on environmental education and innovative curriculum and workshop formats, community development, water resources management, public participation in international development and NGO programming.

Some of the other key activities over the five-year period include:

  • Development, delivery and evaluation of a training program for civil society groups (and selected state and local government representatives) involved in the river basin committees in Brazil;
  • Creation of linkages with other Brazilian and Canadian partner organizations and researchers.