Stories

“I have in my heart many small villages”: Pandemic increases need for biosand filters

Emma reports from Bolivia, as efforts to build much-needed biosand filters for families around La Paz come to halt due to COVID-19. These filters offer an immediate solution to an essential daily need.

Annual Health Caravan benefits 312 people in Imegdal (High Atlas)

A medical team of 60, including paediatricians, gynaecologists, general practitioners, nurses and an optician, visited Imegdal for the two-day medical outreach during the first weekend of March.

Distribution of 24,900 medicinal and aromatic plants to 517 families in the High Atlas

The distribution of valuable plants supports the enhancement of rural incomes and decreases harvesting pressure on wild populations, which High Atlas communities often heavily depend on for their livelihoods.

An unexpected Spring at Dar Taliba: radio interviews, a booklet distribution and a global pandemic

Drawings of local and useful plant products by the students of Dar Taliba are now featured in the Amazigh Household Basket booklet.

Calling for photos and recipes of traditional Moroccan cuisine

We’re excited to invite you to participate in our #MedFoodHeroes Instagram contest as part of the Mediterranean Rooted Everyday campaign.

What is an agdal?

Agdals have shaped the cultural landscape of the High Atlas mountains through centuries and most probably millenia, maintaining the rangeland and forest resources, while also conserving its biodiversity. Read about agdals here.

Meet Fadma and Touda: community researchers at heart

The community researchers we work with in Aït M’hamed, Imegdal and Oukaïmeden contribute substantially to research design and implement a significant proportion of our data collection in the field, among others.

Launching a new series of biocultural education activities in the Moroccan High Atlas

Engaging students in local biodiversity conservation efforts and offering opportunities for them to learn and use Amazigh indigenous plant knowledge and practices.

Distribution of 1000 Amazigh Household Basket booklets in the High Atlas

This colourful booklet featuring local and useful plant products selected by the students we work with in the High Atlas includes drawings produced by the students themselves, and more!

Strong hands to work: Alenjandra and Angela build biosand filters for their community

Two young mothers join the Biosand filters clean 100 Bolivian families’ water project, working tirelessly to build the biosand filter containers under the heat of the sun.

Establishing a new project and community plant nursery in Oukaïmeden, High Atlas

Supporting local livelihoods and plant conservation in situ, and decreasing harvesting pressure on wild populations in Oukaïmeden.

Over 100 Amazigh farmers and community members participate in first Farmer Field School in Aït M’hamed and Imegdal (High Atlas)

Held in December, this event provided an important space for exchange among 66 participants in Annamer and 40 participants in Bernat.

A busy winter for 153 girls at the Dar Taliba school garden

The girls have participated in 18 trainings, studying the uses of various plants and working on several permaculture techniques, including making an organic pesticide.

18 international students on discovery of biodiversity conservation in the High Atlas mountains

Over four days, the students actively engaged in participatory conservation actions with the Amazigh communities that GDF works with, including the girls at Dar Taliba.

What are Cultural Practices of Conservation and what do they look like?

An introduction to some of the traditional practices that shape High Atlas biodiversity and landscapes, maintain a vibrant mosaic of ecosystems and sustain local livelihoods: tawala n anrar, astour, tiwizi, and more!

Dar Taliba girls share local know-how and plant knowledge with international students

18 Semester at Sea university students participated in a field programme in Morocco to learn more about local biodiversity and indigenous Amazigh communities in the High Atlas.

A local project with global support helps reduce malaria-related deaths

Supporting HAWAPO in a project that facilitated the design, manufacture and transportation of insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets, essential medicines and supplies to three remote Jotï, Eñepa and Piaroa communities in Venezuela.

From the field: agroecology assessment week in preparation of Farmer Field Schools

Meeting with local farmers in Imegdal and Aït M’hamed to identify their challenges and needs, and to collect agronomic and social data to design a Farmer Field School programme.

Chasing butterflies: a butterfly monitoring workshop in the High Atlas

In June, our team went on a two-day field workshop on butterflies in the beautiful mountains of Oukaïmeden to learn about the characteristics and species found in the High Atlas.

Assessing the conservation status and producing the Red List of High Atlas flora

Carrying out conservation studies in the High Atlas communities of Aït M’hamed and Imegdal for conservation action.

Young Moroccan writers win #MedStoryPrize with inspiring environmental short stories

Stories of a group of animal friends living in a beautiful forest, and two young girls who travelled to the future. Read them here!

Celebrating biocultural diversity at the Moussem festival in Aït M’hamed (High Atlas)

GDF and MBLA once again participate at the annual Moussem Festival, interacting and connecting with local community members, artisans, cooperatives and associations, and more!

Reflections on my research internship in the High Atlas

Meghan, an ethnobotany student at the University of Kent, reflects on her experience as a research intern, examining how the quality and identification of lavender and thyme is established throughout the commodity chain in Morocco.

Meet the species: an introduction to the plants of our High Atlas community nurseries

An introduction to the plants grown in the community plant nurseries in Imegdal and Aït M’hamed, which support the cultivation and enrichment planting of locally-selected endemic, useful and threatened tree crops and plants.

Dar Taliba students favourite gardening season has finally arrived!

Dar Taliba students discuss climate change, soil ecosystems and making crop choice decisions depending on the season, and more!

Celebrating Mediterranean biodiversity and culture with the #MedStoryPrize

#MedStoryPrize is calling on writers to submit inspiring stories about the richness of nature and urgency for preserving it, including relationships between planet and people, especially those whose livelihoods depend on traditional and sustainable practices.

Plant collection and community herbaria in the High Atlas

Communities in Imegdal and Ait M’hamed in the High Atlas engage in creating community herbaria to conserve their local flora and preserve their plant heritage.

Co-creating an ethnobotanical school garden for Amazigh girls in the High Atlas, Morocco

The Dar Taliba boarding house community garden is featured in The Darwin Initiative Blog. “The once vacant school garden is now teaming with life and encourages younger community members to get involved and improve their knowledge of local plants.”

The Mediterranean’s first environment-themed short story competition is looking for stories

Calling writers over 18 who are resident or from the Mediterranean regions of Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Greece or Lebanon, to celebrate the rich biodiversity found in these regions, and tell the stories of the people whose livelihoods depend on traditional and sustainable practices.

Meet Jamila: Dar Taliba director and environmental role model for girls

“The garden trainings are important to me and the students because they help us better understand the nature around us”, Jamila says.

Why composting is good for the environment: a permaculture training at Dar Taliba

Dar Taliba students are now learning more about how to take good care of the soil and improving its conditions.

First regional academy in the Mediterranean takes place in Morocco

Participants at MERA 2018 share knowledge and experiences on the role of community-based resource management systems in maintaining the unique landscapes, seascapes and biocultural diversity in the Mediterranean.

New network facilitates support for migrants

The Marrakech Migration Network is able to improve access to healthcare, legal support, job training, education, adequate nutrition and weather-appropriate clothing for migrants.

Building community capacity in sustainable agricultural practices in Morocco

High Atlas communities learn about water harvesting, plant commercialisation, sustainable plant harvesting and seed banking.

Back to school and garden trainings at Dar Taliba!

An exciting permaculture training programme begins. The girls at Dar Taliba collect and clean vegetable seeds to plant in their garden, and explore their creative side as they participate in a drawing activity.

Seed collection and community seed banks in the High Atlas

Learn about the processes and functions of collecting seeds, building community seed banks and developing a regional seed bank.

Interactive learning about local plants with primary school students in the High Atlas

An interactive day with school students reveals important knowledge about available, useful and valuable crops in Imegdal.

Ethics in ethnobotanical research

This article, featured by Botanic Gardens Conservation International, describes GDF’s ethical engagement with communities through Access and Benefit Sharing, and Free Prior Informed Consent.

Sharing knowledge at the European Congress of Conservation Biology 2018

Irene Teixidor-Toneu speaks on the links between cultural and biological diversity for conservation in the High Atlas.

How a plant nursery is born: the story of Aït M’hamed’s new community nursery

A photoessay on how the new community nursery in the valley of Bernat, just outside of Aït M’hamed, came to life.

Annual Moussem festival in Ait M’hamed: a celebration of tradition…(part 2)

A colourful workshop on natural plant dyes, a facilitated dialogue on the agdal in Igourdan, a fun art class for primary school students…. all this and more at the Moussem festival in Ait M’hamed!

Annual Moussem festival in Ait M’hamed: a celebration of tradition and biocultural diversity

During the last week of April, we left our desks for a few days to participate in the annual Moussem festival in Ait M’hamed, a lively village located in the High Atlas mountains.

Achieving the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation in the Moroccan High Atlas

Featured in Darwin Initiative’s May 2018 newsletter, this article describes how our project “Mobilising useful plant conservation to enhance Atlas Mountain community livelihoods” contributes to halting the continuing loss of plant diversity.

Spring in full swing at Dar Taliba … (and lots of delicious vegetables!)

Since the beginning of February, the Dar Taliba students received trainings on planting vegetable seeds and successfully cultivated over 3,100 seeds in the greenhouse!

New project promotes respect for human rights and personal dignity of migrants

Exploring ways of collaborating with local organisations to provide medical care to migrants who are undocumented and cannot access the public healthcare system, and more.

High Atlas community welcomes (first) annual health caravan

Bringing annual health caravans to vulnerable communities in the communes of Imegdal and Ait M’hamed to help support rural livelihoods.

How the Global Environments Summer Academy impacted my life

‘GESA allowed me the breathing-room to stop and really consider what felt meaningful and alive to me, rather than just ticking the “right” boxes.’

Supporting local livelihoods across Imegdal in the Moroccan High Atlas

Over the course of one week, we distributed 14,992 plants of commercial value to 9 different villages of the Imegdale community, supporting local incomes.

Learning to make organic fertiliser at all-girls boarding school in Morocco

Pommelien da Silva Cosme, Global Diversity Foundation’s Communications and Field Officer, describes the events at a permaculture training session she attended with 13 Dar Taliba students.

How to benefit local communities through conservation action

In November 2017, 19 young Moroccan researchers gathered to exchange innovative ideas on how to transform new knowledge on biodiversity into conservation action that benefits local communities.

Engaging with communities on conservation and traditional plant knowledge

GDF’s partner Moroccan Biodiversity and Livelihoods Association was invited by the ‘Friends of Toubkal National Park for Conservation of the Environment and the Walnut Tree Association’ to join the annual Asni Walnut Festival.

Understanding cultural practices of conservation: an interactive workshop in Ait M’hamed

In November 2017, GDF and Moroccan Biodiversity and Livelihoods Association staff spent the weekend in Aït M’hamed at a workshop focused on group discussions on current changes to local cultural conservation practices, and to use participatory approaches to develop recommendations for strengthening them.

Training begins for 130 girls in conservation practices and indigenous plant knowledge

Weekly training sessions to all 130 Dar Taliba students on topics ranging from permaculture cultivation methods, seed saving and water management has begun.

Conserving threatened plant species in the Moroccan High Atlas

Conserving threatened plant species to support community adaptation and resilience to climate change
in the High Atlas, Morocco.

Seeds at the heart of first European community exchange

The 1st European Community Exchange on Seed Diversity and Sovereignty was held 23-27 September 2017 in Barcelona. Designed for members of the European community working on issues surrounding seeds.

Building a Common Vision for a Sustainable School Garden

Global Diversity Foundation and Moroccan Biodiversity and Livelihoods Association continues working with Dar Taliba Ourika to conserve wild plant species and traditional crop varieties for local communities, and train students in processes of conservation and indigenous plant knowledge.

Creating Connections at the Okanagan Environmental Leadership Camp

This 7-day Okanagan Environmental Leadership Camp took place at Glimpse Lake on Syilx territory (Upper Nicola Band), gathering Indigenous youth interested in building their capacity to advocate for and protect the lands and waters of their territories.

Global Environments Network at the Conservation Optimism Summit

The Global Environments Network hosted the session “A New Generation of Environmental Leaders Embrace Whole Earth Conservation” at the Conservation Optimism Summit. GEN members shared their stories of contribution to the Whole Earth approach, showcasing the diverse countries, disciplines and sectors that GEN represents.

Ulu Papar Tales: a booklet of 9 oral histories from the region

Ulu Papar Tales features 9 oral histories and tales of strength, conflict and peacemaking on Dusun territory in Sabah, Malaysia.

Collaborating in the Face of Change: Strategies for Biocultural Protection and Defense

The North American Community Environmental Leadership Exchange 2017 was held in Sonora, Mexico. An event to learn and share strategies for biocultural landscape protection, and through this work strengthen Indigenous sovereignty and well-being.

Help Bring Standing Rock Water Protectors to Loma de Bácum

Urgent action for Loma de Bácum indigenous community: bring Standing Rock Water Protectors to Mexico to highlight the plight of indigenous communities.

Gaining Research Skills and Building Common Understandings

In October 2016, a three-day community researcher workshop was held in the High Atlas mountains to collaboratively review data collected to date, develop a methodology for the second round of interviews, and more.

70 booklets on medicinal plants distributed to Imegdale and Tiniskt children

Soon after the publication of the bilingual Medicinal Plants in Imegdale booklet, we set off to distribute the children’s booklet to two schools, Imegdale and Tiniskt.

Medicinal Plants in Imegdale: a traditional knowledge teaching tool for Amazigh children

This traditional knowledge teaching tool for Amazigh children features the most culturally important plants in Imegdale.

Lessons for Research Policy and Practice: The Case of Co-enquiry Research With Rural Communities

This article explores the relationship between institutional funding for research and community-based or co-enquiry research practice.

Gary receives International Planetary Award 2016 at Tage der Zukunft

Gary Martin participated in the Tage der Zukunft 2016 conference, delivering a lecture on Challenging Diversity. He received the International Planetary Award.

Proceedings from the COMBIOSERVE Conference published online

Proceedings from the international conference Community Conservation in Latin America: Innovations in Research and Practice, which took place in the Mexican town of Xico, in the state of Veracruz, 6-9 November 2014.

Conserving plants and cultural landscapes in Morocco: a new project

Integrated approach to plant conservation in the Moroccan High Atlas, a 3 year project on sustaining livelihoods and plant diversity in the Moroccan High Atlas.

Co-enquiry Research for Community Conservation: a new Methods Manual

Co-enquiry and Participatory Research for Community Conservation, a methods manual covering theory and practice of co-enquiry, experiences from the field, research protocols for carrying out co-enquiry research on the topic of community-based conservation, evaluation of co-enquiry research, participatory dissemination and advocacy.

Analysing the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

A Global Environments Summer Academy alumni collaboration to carry out collaborative event ethnography at the second meeting of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

Publication: Conducting and Communicating Ethnobotanical Methods

Conducting and Communicating Ethnobotanical Methods, a manual covering ethics, anthropological methods, botanical methods and effective science communication.

TED-style talks at our 2015 Global Environments Summer Academy

Global Environments Summer Academy participants share their research and passion through TED-style talks.

Establishing community plant nurseries in the High Atlas

Plant nurseries in the communities of Imegdale and Ait M’hamed have been set up to enable terrace cultivation and enrichment planting of selected medicinal roots and tree crops.

North American environmental leaders share research, strategies and tactics

North American environmental leaders share research, strategies and tactics at NACELE 2015 (Montréal Botanical Garden), themed “Nourishing Relations: People, Plants and Place”.

Latin American Academy of Socio-Environmental Leadership: the first regional academy

The first Global Environments Network regional academy (Dominican Republic, November 2015) will gather 25 environmental changemakers from neighbouring countries in Latin America.

Choosing an emerging environmental leader for GESA, by founder Gary Martin

Gary Martin describes the challenging process of shortlisting applications for Global Environments Summer Academy 2015.

1st MedPlant Summer School on conducting and communicating ethnobotanical research

A photographic journey of the inaugural MedPlant Summer School, held in September 2014 in Angour, Tahanaoute, Morocco.

Protecting Biocultural Diversity (International Innovation Magazine)

An article on the importance of local participation, and the difficulties of integrating different forms of expertise.

Aphrodisiacs & Botanical Livelihoods: Gary Martin at TEDxMarrakesh

Gary Martin speaks about his journey of discovery of the diverse medicinal plants sold by herbalists in the Marrakech medina in a TEDxMarrakesh talk titled Aphrodisiacs & Botanical Livelihoods.

Community Action for Conservation: Mexican Experiences

Community Action for Conservation addresses critical issues facing community-based conservation by reflecting on specific cases within Mexico.

Dusun communities revive spiritual connection with sacred mountain

Kakakapan id Gayo Ngaran, an annual pilgrimage celebrated by Dusun communities in the Crocker Range, is a collaboration with Sabah Parks.

Enhancing community filmmaking in Sabah at Borneo Eco Film Festival

Celebrating Borneo’s biocultural diversity through showcasing environmental films and nurturing local community filmmaking at the Borneo Eco Film Festival.