In early August, Kevin traveled to Bolivia to conduct a workshop about the lowland tapir. Nearly 30 young girls who participate in a local conservation program in Tumupasa, Bolivia – a town in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest – learned about creative writing and conservation through the workshop. Selections from their stories form the basis of Yara’s Big Nose, a children’s story that follows a young tapir’s emotional journey in which she first despises, then learns to appreciate, her big nose.
The Amazon Rainforest is known worldwide as one of the most important natural habitats on earth. To the west, it is bordered by the Andes Mountains and the landlocked nation of Bolivia. It is the world’s largest tropical rainforest and river basin and is the source of one-fifth of the world’s fresh water. It is also home to one-tenth of all species found on the planet and unmatched in its animal diversity. Research has established a clear link between the health of the Amazon and the integrity of the global environment, yet rapid deforestation threatens to destroy 55% of the Amazon’s rainforests by 2030. Some of the more distinct species of the region include jaguars, pink dolphins, harpy eagles, giant river otters, and lowland tapirs.
Kevin conducted the workshop with 20 young women in Madidi National Park, which is located in the upper Amazon river basin in Bolivia. Madidi is one of the largest protected areas in the world and features glacier-covered Andean peaks as well as the tropical rainforests of the Tuichi river, making Madidi one of the planet’s most biologically diverse regions.