Supporter Spotlight: Oceans Connect
Two nature enthusiasts bike across South America to raise funds for the Amazon.
Amy Tunstall and Jake Wilcox are no strangers to the open road; both are avid bicyclists with a taste for adventure and passion for experiencing the natural world.
Following the conclusion of the recent Olympics hosted in Brazil, Amy and Jake have committed to raise $10,000 by cycling over 3,500 miles across South America from coast to coast, starting in Rio de Janeiro. They will split the funds raised through their project “Oceans Connect” between Rainforest Trust and various local communities along the road.
Jake and Amy plan to ride along the Interoceanic Highway, which connects the ports of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil to San Juan de Marcona and Pisco of Peru. Along the way, they will be observing the effects of deforestation that have occurred since the road’s construction.
New roads inevitably lead to the development of side roads, causing fragmented habitat and allowing easier access to forest resources. In fact, there is a term associated with the visual pattern created by this network of roads that often occur in a fishbone-like pattern: herringbone deforestation.
Unfortunately, while the Interoceanic Highway allows an ease of transportation that permits people, products and cultures to move more freely and quickly across the continent, the road passes right through the middle of one of the world’s greatest treasures: the Amazon Rainforest.
Home to the world’s largest tropical rainforest on Earth, the Amazon is legendary for its great biodiversity that contains millions of species, many still undescribed. However, during the past few decades, nearly 20 percent of its lush forest has been lost, making the work of Rainforest Trust increasingly more urgent to safeguard what forest remains.
“From having the largest rainforest in the world to one of its mightiest mountain ranges, South America has a little bit of everything – making it an ideal location for an expedition,” noted Jake. “We figured it was time to give a little back, especially to protect a rainforest that we will be seeing first hand and that gives so much to all of us.”
When asked why they chose to support Rainforest Trust with their coast-to-coast fundraiser, Jake answered, “You guys have a proven success record of over 25 years for protecting tropical habitat and rainforest all around the world. Millions of acres have already been saved from destruction, and you partner with local communities to help make the donations go the farthest.”
Jake and Amy’s grand adventure kicked off on September 10, and they’ve already spotted their first wildlife along the trail – a monkey sighting. To follow their adventure, visit them on Facebook and Instagram.
Header photo: Jake Wilcox. Photo courtesy of Amy Tunstall and Jake Wilcox.