Calamar is a town in the Colombian Amazon. In the 1990s, more people moved to Calamar and changed the forests. People cut down trees to create space for farming and grazing pasture for cattle. 

Now young people in the region are becoming aware of forest loss and what this means for wildlife. They are working to find solutions and restore the forest. Among them is Felipe “Pipe” Henao.

Pipe Henao stands next to the river in Calamar where he began making his first environmental videos. Image by Dimitri Selibas for Mongabay.

Pipe brings together people in his community in Calamar to clean rivers and plant trees. His goal is to help spread awareness of deforestation in the region. Pipe helps adults, children, families, and school groups work together to take better care of their local environment.  

“Even if a thousand trees fall, we will always plant one, and our message is still the same,” says Pipe. “We know that every day they deforest and every weekend we plant 100, 200, 500 trees because every time we gather people to plant, we share with them our message.”

Pipe Henao showing young people the correct way to plant a sapling during a planting day. Image from Facebook of PipeQ-ida.

Pipe Henao’s stepdaughter Valeria also helps care for the environment. Valeria helps lead tree planting workshops for kids. She makes videos with Pipe about important issues like conserving jaguars, taking care of water, and not littering. By spreading awareness, they are helping restore the forest in Calamar.

Valeria “the Guardian” Rodriguez. Image by Dimitri Selibas for Mongabay.

* This story is based on an article published on by Dimitri Selibas titled Young environmentalists ‘plant the future’ in Colombia’s Amazon