The PVAS Foundation, Inc. supports Project Amazonas (https://www.projectamazonas.org) through fundraising to help preserve the Rainforest. Specifically, one of the stated goals of the Foundation is to raise funds to purchase Rainforest to add to the PA forest preserves. In 2018 PVAS raised $7,400 to purchase a 27 hectare (~66.7 acres) at the Santa Cruz Forest Preserve. The Foundation, Rainforest project, currently has ~$1,300 set aside from generous donations made by PVAS members. One way of donating is to designate auction proceeds to the Foundation and designating one of the stated goals of the Foundation. As Project Amazonas is directly supported by The PVAS Foundation, Inc. I share the following from PA President Dr. Devon Graham. "Dear board members and friends of Project Amazonas. I hope that each of you are doing whatever necessary to keep yourselves and your loved ones safe during the current pandemic. I just returned from Peru early on the morning of 17 March, so I'd like to give you an update on the situation there, and what it will mean for our activities in the Amazon in the coming months. Peru has taken a very aggressive approach to containing the spread of the virus. On 15 March, a state of emergency was declared nationwide, and at midnight on 16 March, all land, air and sea borders were closed until 31 March. I and the academic group I was with were fortunate to be on one of the last flights permitted to depart for the US, but 1000's of foreigners (including hundreds of Americans) are currently trapped in Peru. There are severe restrictions on travel within Peru, with no domestic or international passenger flights, no bus, no train, no boat and no taxi services, a total ban on public events and gatherings, parks and beaches closed, all restaurants and bars closed, and police and military patrolling the streets to ensure that people stay in place at home and observe mandatory curfew. Only a few people at a time are being allowed out to purchase essentials. The nurse-technician at our Orosa River clinic texted me the day I departed asking for additional medicines and supplies. The local population that the clinic serves were all convinced that they had coronavirus (even if it was only the common cold), but getting anything to the clinic with the travel restrictions is extremely difficult. Our general manager, Fernando Rios, was going to see if he could take some of the medications and supplies we have stocked on our medical boat and send them to the Orosa Clinic by one means or another. Although the emergency decree lasts until 31 March, it is quite likely that it may be extended beyond that if the strict controls on movement are not sufficient to control the spread of the virus. The first documented case in Peru was detected on 6 March, and by 16 March, there were 86 confirmed cases, mostly in Lima and Cusco. Yesterday I heard that there were two presumed cases in Iquitos, but I haven't been able to get an updated official count on the current number of cases. If the virus isn't contained, then the Peruvian medical system is certainly going to be overwhelmed, and significant mortality can be expected. I'm hopeful that the aggressive approach will work though. Even if the state of emergency is lifted on 1 April, it is unlikely that normal flights will resume anytime soon after. Given the explosion of cases that we are seeing in the US (and yes, it is going to get much worse), I don't believe that Peru will be allowing flights to/from the US through the end of April at the least, and possibly into May. The earliest that normal travel will resume is likely going to be June or July at the earliest. I hope (but don't expect) that I will be proved wrong. Our medical service trips are being severely impacted by the pandemic. This might be the time when our boat-based services are most needed in remote river communities, but trip participants won't be able to travel to Peru or Iquitos, and we also have to consider the risk of accidentally introducing the virus to isolated communities (for once, isolation is a very good thing) where there won't be any access to care once the medical boat leaves. Many medical students, who form the greatest block of participants on our trips, are also being prohibited by their universities from participating in any international placements. As such, our 22 April-2 May trip has been cancelled. Three participants from the US were forced to cancel due to university policy, and another 7 from Hong Kong would be forced to endure two weeks of quarantine on arrival in Peru (if they are even allowed to fly to Peru). Another 15 medical students scheduled for trips in July have also been told by their universities that they cannot participate. I am in the process of returning deposits and payments to students who have had to cancel, and expect that there will be additional cancellations in the immediate future. I hope to be able to salvage a couple of the July medical trips, but it is likely that all the trips prior to July will need to be cancelled. The pandemic is also seriously impacting our finances. A large academic group that was going to spend most of the month of May with us was forced to cancel, and other users of our boats and field stations will be doing the same. This represents a significant loss of revenue for the organization. Likewise, payments from medical trip participants not only cover the actual operating costs of those trips, but also contribute to overhead - monthly payroll and maintenance of boats and facilities. I realize that the pandemic is going to hurt all of us financially, but if you have access to some additional reserves, making a contribution or increasing your normal contributions at this time will make a huge difference in our ability to bounce back and to continue serving the people and the natural environment of the Amazon as soon as we are physically capable of doing so. I am confident that we can weather this global crisis, but it will require the efforts of each and every one of us to contain the pandemic - the virus doesn't recognize any borders. So please, closely follow the advice of the health experts, and take care of yourselves, your loved ones, friends and colleagues. I don't want to have to edit my contact list because of COVID-19! And please feel free to share this with anyone else. Sincerely, Devon Graham"
Devon Graham, Ph.D.
Project Amazonas, Inc.