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About Save The Rainforest

Founded by teachers and high school students in Dodgeville, Wisconsin in 1988 with the mission of saving tropical forests, Save The Rainforest was the first-of-its-kind and began by encouraging schools to raise money to purchase rainforest acres and forwarding donations to conservation and rainforest rehabilitation programs in Belize, Costa Rica and Ecuador.  

In 1990, Save The Rainforest began an innovative travel program that sent students and educators to the rainforests we were helping to save. Hundreds of the student participants have been inspired to pursue careers in conservation, research, cleantech, and education as a result of these trips. The trips have also benefited environmental organizations in Latin America, helping them to generate the revenue needed to safeguard forests.

Our beautiful mother/cub jaguar logo was designed for us in the late 1990s by Earth Theater. Jaguars are an apex predator and keystone species. The jaguar's presence in the rainforest maintains balance. Without it, there is far greater potential for ecological collapse. For more history of the group that pioneered an entire movement, download this book.

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2021 marked an exciting turning point for the organization. Gravely concerned about tropical rainforest destruction as the most significant contributor to global climate change and ecological collapse, gravely concerned about a lack of resources available to build capacity and strengthen rights among indigenous and traditional communities, and gravely concerned about the pressures and anxiety facing our youth, many of whom feel hopeless, Andrea Luecke guided Save The Rainforest through an exciting relaunch, refreshing its programs and goals, and serving as its Interim Executive Director. 


Relaunched on World Rainforest Day 2021, Save The Rainforest is on a mission to build capacity among indigenous youth and, once the pandemic subsides, host thousands of additional students and educators on high-quality, life-changing, carbon-neutral rainforest trips. These trips serve as a "Master Class" in rainforest and ocean ecology, conservation, climate entrepreneurialism, culture, and life. 

COVID has greatly impacted our ability to travel. So we've developed a new initiative in partnership with local front-line forest dwelling communities and their friends. Together, we are creating programming that gives indigenous and traditional women and youth opportunities and valuable skills to more effectively defend and protect the rainforest. Skills like GPS mapping, drone piloting, botany, sustainable agriculture, and law. 


Given the importance of rainforests, these types of initiatives may create opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship.


Youth (and Women) Capacity-Building Programs We Support:

  • Yakum Foundation. One of Save The Rainforest's first sustainable ecotourism programs in the early 1990's was in Amazonian Ecuador, where we partnered with Fundación Jatun Sacha and several Kichwa communities. Thirty years later we are still engaged with the indigenous peoples of Ecuador through our work with the Yakum Foundation. This work entails an amazing reforestation initiative that propagates, plants and monitors 150 different tree species selected carefully to revitalize indigenous knowledge, nutrition, health and livelihoods. We consider this to be a "flagship" project that could serve as a blueprint for the some of the other 3,100 indigenous communities that reside in the Amazon Basin. More on Yakum here


We'd love your support. By making a donation, you are helping us to support the work of the Yakum Foundation and others doing similar work. It also helps us to reach more students and educators who are interested in joining an amazing trip and experiencing meaningful cultural exchange.


Save The Rainforest is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and donations are 100% tax-deductible.