School children bought the rainforest

30 years ago a passionate elementary teacher and her students in Sweden raised one million dollars to buy a rainforest in Guatemala. Their 675-hectare piece of land was part of what would become the Sierra de las Minas Biosphere Reserve. Mrs. Eha Kern, the now retired teacher, is currently in Guatemala attending the 25-year anniversary of the Biosphere, invited as an honorary guest by FDN.

The Swedish children´s fundraising started 30 years ago shortly after Mrs. Kern had told them in class that a soccer field-sized area of rainforest was being cut down every second. The students got upset and one of them raised his hand and suggested: “Why don´t we buy some rainforest so at least that part will be there when we´re adults?” The suggestion triggered an intense but low-scale fundraising effort. The class sold home baked cookies, washed dogs, and arranged bunny-jumping competitions, just to mention a few activities. The mission spread like wildfire to other schools in Sweden as well as internationally.

FDN would like to thank the Swedes who raised the funds for the Sierra de las Minas. Today, 30 years later, the Biosphere extends over 600,000 acres (2,426 km2) on which an impressive biodiversity can be found.

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