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Amazon ‘treehouse classroom’ a remote lifeline in Peru

STORY: This ‘treehouse classroom’ may be one of the world’s most extreme educational spaces.Built over 100-feet up in the Amazon Rainforest canopy, it’s the home of educational programs for adults in remote Indigenous communities in Peru.The goal is to provide new skills so people can pivot away from illegal logging and mining.JJ Durand is vice president of Junglekeepers, a local conservation charity dedicated to protecting this region of the Peruvian Amazon – one of the most biodiverse and pristine areas on earth.”For the forests, I feel very sad because living animals is dying. You see all logs in the ground. It’s like people dying. It’s very sad. On the other side, I feel the people here who does logging, they need a little bit of, I mean, we all need upgrades in education. The main thing is, I think, the biggest problem is education.”Made from sustainable wood, it has solar power, high speed satellite internet and accommodations for overnight stays.”To build the treehouse took us four months to build. Thirty people and they work all day from five to five and for us it was tough, very hard. But you know building 32-meters tall treehouse, it needed a lot of effort and it has 141 steps to get to the top.”The classroom was built by Tamandua Expeditions and funded by Udemy, an online education company.Udemy is providing the Indigenous young adult forest rangers of Junglekeepers access to learning courses to study at their headquarters in the evening. The treehouse also functions as a treetop tourist stop, offering a stay in the jungle canopy at $1,450 per night.(Elise Rooney, Udemy)”This treehouse has to be one of the most remote classrooms all over the world. These people are not only learning their skills up there, but they’re learning more about their surroundings, about their community, about nature, about this land they’re trying to preserve.”Durand says that many young people are forced to leave school around 11 or 12 years old to take jobs in logging or mining.DURAND: “If they have a better education, definitely they will have another opportunity to do a different job to do. Because they will have different job to do also, they can have a little bit of money so they can buy other things, than only be a logger.”Deforestation across the Amazon rainforest slowed dramatically last year, according to an analysis by a nonprofit focused on monitoring the Amazon rainforest.It’s down more than 55% from the same period in 2022, a major turnaround for a region vital to curbing climate change.

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