Barbara Zimmerman appointed Officer of the Order of Canada

December 29, 2022 — Conservationist Barbara Zimmerman has been appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in appointments announced today by the office of Canada's Governor General.

Barbara is Director of the Kayapo Project, a ground-breaking project that she pioneered with Conservation International three decades ago. 

All of us at ICFC are very proud of  Barb. She, herself, is a little embarrassed (and surprised) by the attention and she commented that "there is a Brazilian team of real heroes behind our continuing success with the Kayapo. These are 100% committed, dedicated, brave individuals who we are so lucky to have on board."

ICFC's Chairman, Claude Gascon, has known Barb throughout their careers.  When he heard the news, he said this:  "This is the most wonderful and well deserved award for our dear Barb who has spent her entire professional life dedicated to the Amazon and the indigenous people who are the stewards of the richest and most important forest on earth.  Without Barb and her selfless efforts the Amazon would be in a much worse state today.  In fact the Kayapo lands are keeping the Eastern flank intact and Barb has all to do with that huge success.  She is humble in all of this, but we all know the warrior within her will prevail for the good of the Kayapo, the Amazon, and humanity."

Here is the short profile of  Barb from ICFC's 2017 Annual Report as one of our "conservation heroes":

Okay, Barbara is on ICFC’s staff, but she is also a bona fide boots-on-the-ground conservation hero. A tropical ecologist, Barb did field research for her Master’s and PhD degrees on amphibian and reptile communities in the Brazilian Amazon. In becoming acquainted with the Kayapo Indigenous people, she saw a great opportunity. She realized that the Kayapo’s determination to protect their land  ̶ the largest tract of tropical forest under some form of protection in the world ̶ was key to the survival of this biodiverse ecosystem. She saw that because of increasing pressures of deforestation and colonization, they would need outside help, and she was instrumental in developing the needed institutional and financial support. Barbara was hired by Conservation International to establish and lead the Kayapo conservation project. One of her first steps was to establish a biological research station in collaboration with the Kayapo community of A’Ukre. Crucially, the respect she earned with the Kayapo enabled Barb to lead the creation and development of three Kayapo NGOs, which work with international partners. In 2009 Barb joined ICFC and she continues to lead the Kayapo project, spending months of the year in the Amazon. For Barb, who sometimes says she is “married to the Kayapo”, the cultural survival of the Kayapo, who live in remote villages and retain their traditional skills, has been as important as the biodiversity benefits. She has dedicated her life to this one place and people, and the world is the better for it.

Congrats, Barb!

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