IPÊ - Institute for Ecological Research
Although IPÊ was officially founded in 1992, the Institute has a much longer history.
In 1978, at age 30, Claudio Pádua left a successful executive career in Rio de Janeiro to dedicate himself to biology. This radical change included his wife Suzana Pádua and their three children. The family moved to the Pontal do Paranapanema in western São Paulo State, where Claudio undertook research with the black lion tamarin, one of the world’s most threaten primates.
As the research progressed, it became clear that, for the effective conservation of the species, the support of the inhabitants of the surrounding forest, inhabited by the black lion tamarin, would be necessary. This was the beginning of IPÊ’s environmental education work, led by Suzana, who, by involving the communities in the region, started the process of raising awareness about the importance of protecting nature. Gradually, people came to understand that the conservation of the marmoset would help not only to preserve the Atlantic Forest, which is already threatened, but also their own lives.
Other researchers and trainees, who at that time already believed that it was impossible to separate conservation from environmental education and community involvement, joined Claudio and Suzana to create IPÊ, which initially had its headquarters in Piracicaba (SP).
Today, IPÊ is considered one of the largest environmental NGOs in Brazil, holds the OSCIP title, and has its headquarters in Nazaré Paulista (SP). The Institute, which started with the Mico-Leão-Preto Project, now has more than 80 professionals working on more than 30 projects a year, in places like Pontal do Paranapanema and Nazaré Paulista (SP), Baixo Rio Negro (AM), Pantanal and Cerrado (MS).
One of IPÊ’s concerns since its creation is the transfer of knowledge acquired in its field researches. To this end, in 1996, the Institute created the CBBC – Brazilian Center for Conservation Biology, for short courses, which evolved, in 2006, into ESCAS – School of Environmental Conservation and Sustainability, offering Professional Masters and MBA degrees.