The mission of Environmental Brigades is to empower rural communities in Panama to reverse degradation and preserve their environment through reforestation, sustainable agriculture, waste management and education programs. Environmental Brigade provides student volunteers with the opportunity to gain first-hand experience in environmental management and education by empowering community members in rural communities in eastern Panama. During the brigade, volunteers spend time a community's environmental committee in order to better understand the pressing environmental concerns of both the community and the region. Through interactive workshops, reforestation, and the building of physical structures, the volunteers provide the education and physical assistance necessary for community members young and old to sustain long-term behavioral change which will benefit the well-being of not only themselves, but also their surrounding physical environment. As subsequent brigades build on each other, projects are continued through successive phases, year after year. Between brigades, our in-country team maintains relationships with our community leaders and Environmental committees to ensure the continuation of projects started by brigades, provide technical assistance, and to provide ollow-up on community members’ feedback as well as next steps.
At its core, Environmental Brigades is focused on reforestation, sustainable agriculture, waste management, and education. Brigades that come during the dry season months of January to April will focus on school greenhouse construction, while those coming in the rainy season of May through December will work on our long term permaculture reforestation project. These specific projects will help address some of the most pressing environmental needs of our largely agricultural based communities, improve the health of community members, support the development of sustainable businesses and agricultural practices, and provide the necessary education so that they can implement change for generations to come.