Bahuaja Sonene: Conoce, Inspira - Wildlife Conservation Society (Peru)
We need to continue generating creative ways to raise awareness and engage different audiences in the conservation of biodiversity, especially that harboured in protected areas.
Creatively raising awareness and engaging different audiences in the conservation of biodiversity at Bahuaja Sonene National Park, through art.
Although it is one of the most biodiverse places in the world, most Peruvians do not know Bahuaja Sonene National Park (BSNP) exists. Due the increasing threats facing the park, such as deforestation by illegal mining and illicit crops, pollution, and illegal roads construction, we urgently needed to create public awareness regarding this protected area so that people could help its conservation through public pressure. We thought that a good start was to target citizens who lived in large urban areas far away from the park, and most likely unaware of its reality and that of the Amazon in general. We identified art as a mean to link people with the park. With the involvement and commitment of opinion leaders – nationally acclaimed artists, journalists and chefs – we could get our messages to decision makers.
A park expedition organized for a group of renowned artists marked a milestone in the life of each one of them, ensuring their support to disseminate the importance of this park and in general the importance of biodiversity conservation.
In April 2012, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) convened a group of musicians, artist, photographers, journalists and chefs to participate in an expedition to the Bahuaja Sonene National Park. During this travel, they were accompanied by biologists and other conservation practitioners, who shared scientific knowledge regarding different issues that make this park so special. The aim of the expedition, called “Artistic inventory”, was for the artists to get to know the wonders that the park preserves, so they could get inspired to create works of art and at the same time warn the public about the threats to which the park is exposed. Thus, through photography, gastronomy, art, graphic design, audiovisuals and sculpture, we sought to give visibility to the protected areas values of BSNP and draw attention to the fact that its care and protection has a positive impact on our lives.
The artists are helping to raise awareness of protected areas and sustainable practices in Peru.
Many of the artists have become ambassadors of the Bahuaja Sonene National Park, making their voices heard by politicians, expressing their concerns about illegal mining that threatens this protected area. Others, especially chefs, are now supporting local initiatives of sustainable harvest of natural products, such as the Brazilian nut, and promoting their sustainable consumption in the cities. Specific outcomes from the Artistic Inventory include:
- 20 print media appearances
- 75 digital media appearances
- 11 videos
- 7 gastronomic events, including new culinary creations using products from the area that have been featured in renowned restaurants
- 4 music concerts
- 14 art & design events and exhibitions