"National Geographic Society" / "Buffett Award" award for Leadership in Conservation in Latin America.
Doctor Vitor Osmar Becker (from Santa Catarina State) and his wife Clemira Ordonez Souza (from Para State) received the National Geographic Society / Buffet Award for leadership in conservation in Latin America. The prize is given to the best project in conservation in Africa and Latin America each year.
The "VIP couple" was honored in a special ceremony on the night of June 9 at the headquarters of National Geographic Society in Washington in the presence of a representative of the Brazilian Embassy and important members of the scientific community and of conservationist groups. Vitor and Clemira received a certificate and a prize of twenty-five thousand dollars – “which will guarantee us the purchase of more land for enlargement of the Reserve, thus protecting more of the Central Corridor of the Atlantic forest" affirmed the winners.
Vitor O. Becker is an agricultural engineer with a master's degree in forest engineering and a doctorate in entomology. He worked in EMBRAPA (Ministry of Agriculture) as a researcher from 1974 to his retirement in 1998. Clemira O. Souza is an educator with a master’s in education and is an employee of the University of Brasília. She works on social projects and environmental education.
Combining a dream and commitment the winners created a Conservation Project in one of the richest and most extraordinary habitats of the world, the biodiverse, but almost extinct Atlantic forest. With immeasurable efforts and personal sacrifice they invested all their savings in the implantation of the Serra Bonita Reserve. It is located in one of the last humid submontain forests in Camacan, in the south of Bahia State. It covers 1.5 thousand hectares and its altitude ranges from 200 to 950 metres.
In 2001 they created the Uiraçu Institute under the aegis of a universal ecocentric ethic whose the main objectives are conservation, research and environmental education. In 2009 the Serra Bonita Reserve received the "Ford" prize for conservation.