We recognized the need for fast, effective, affordable conservation support. We founded TERRA Expeditions to facilitate economical and timely solutions to community-level conservation issues.
TERRA stands for Trans-global Expeditions for Rapid Recording and Action—with the emphasis on rapid and action: a TERRA Expedition can be implemented in a short time on a modest budget, while producing significant, permanently valuable results.
TERRA Expeditions are ground-up efforts. They support local conservation and community leaders who lack the resources to tackle the complex and costly work of wildlife conservation and community development.
A TERRA team comprises a small group of individuals with the collective skills in expedition travel, research, documentation, communication, and hands-on labor to efficiently assist local communities in addressing their own challenges. It’s fast, effective, and affordable conservation.
Examples of TERRA Expeditions include:
Field research base in northern Mexico. CHALLENGE: A family-owned ranch is a significant preserve for jaguars and ocelots on the northern edge of their range. The family is dedicated to conservation and has the support of a medium-sized U.S. conservation organization, but funds aren’t available for much-needed field research in the rugged backcountry. ACTION: ConserVentures will support several TERRA Expeditions per year, setting up our mobile remote field station with solar power, water, staffed kitchen, and toilets, and providing four-wheel-drive transportation for under-funded Mexican and American graduate students.
Maasai shield project. CHALLENGE: The skills to construct traditional Maasai shields, and knowledge of their emblematic decoration patterns, is rapidly disappearing. ACTION: A TERRA expedition, with the help of a Maasai interpreter and a tribal landowners group, will seek out and videotape elders who retain knowledge of shield-making and can construct new examples. The team will collect several shields for a permanent museum exhibit, produce a booklet in English and Maa detailing the construction method, and host a workshop to teach young Maasai the craft as a source of income and a way to strengthen cultural identity.
Re-invigorating traditional Micronesian building and canoe-making skills. CHALLENGE: Natives of a small, remote Pacific island want to renew constructing and using waharak (traditional ocean-going outrigger sailing canoes), but lack funds for and access to tools and sail cloth. ACTION: A two-person TERRA team delivered adze blades and other hand tools, and 90 yards of sailcloth. The team documented the construction of several canoes and the building of a large uut (thatch-roofed boat house).