Iwokrama’s patron, HRH Prince Charles, discusses the role of preserving rain forests and mentions Iwokrama’s vital role in the fight against climate change (3:29). His introduction is followed by an overview of Iwokrama and the role Guyana’s rain forests play on a global scale.

Iwokrama’s Genesis

Iwokrama was established in 1996 by an international agreement between Guyana and the Commonwealth Secretariat. That agreement gave the Centre a mandate to “promote the conservation and the sustainable and equitable use of tropical rainforests in a manner that will lead to lasting ecological, economic and social benefits to the people of Guyana and to the world in general

Operation Wallacea

The Royal Ontario Museum’s Burton Lim has been exploring and discovering biodiversity around the globe for decades. Through unique partnerships, Burton and OpWal volunteers come together each year in one of the world’s last remaining pristine tropical rainforests.

Stan Brock and Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom

perkinsmonkeybookWhen Marlin Perkins and Jim Fowler and the Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom team landed in British Guiana in the late 60’s they made quick friends with a strapping young Stan Brock, Manager at Dadanawa Ranch in the southern Rupununi. Stan proved himself as an adventure traveller and inveterate naturalist with a unique understanding of untamed Guyana. A quick and natural friendship between Brock, Perkins, and Fowler turned a two-episode deal into a multi-year TV contract for Brock that ensured that Guyana’s wildlife remained an integral component of the series through the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. More than 30 million North American viewers tuned in to the series each week, an unprecedented audience for the time. A revamped follow-on series is rumored to be in the works for 2014 or 2015.

By today’s standards, the melodramatic production sensibility, aggressive wildlife handling, and a vaguely paternalistic attitude towards the “natives’ are cringeworthy indeed. Nonetheless, the spectacle of Guyana’s pristine wilderness the teeming landscape, and the hosts’ unmistakable appreciation for the Rupununi is amply evident throughout.

(watch Stan and Merlin wrastle a stranded puma at 6:48 and bag a none-too-happy Rupununi giant anteater at 8:42!)

Stan Brock & Remote Area Medical

2320e3_9d1a6205e39f40be8b704436263ac07c.png_srz_310_196_85_22_0.50_1.20_0Stan remains a vibrant force for good in Guyana and beyond. He went on to found Remote Area Medical (RAM), a one-of-a-kind medical assistance program that has served a half million people worldwide. To this day, RAM is the backbone of an emergency medical response network in the hinterlands of Guyana. Remarkably and poignantly, RAM has evolved to provide essential medical services to medically underserved residents in urban areas in the United States of America as well.