Amanda Kessner and Sara Tiffany

 Living in Esmeraldas-Ecuador


For the past six months we have been the project managers at FONMSOEAM living and working in the province of Esmeraldas, Ecuador.  


Our little apartment in the small, fishing village of Tonchigue, where we often go without water and are frequented by black outs, is probably one of  the nicest apartments in town.

Tonchique sits along the cost of Esmeraldas and is strange and sad conflict between breathtaking beauty and immense poverty. The dry land and dusty dirt roads are a far cry from the once thriving rain forest that has now been deforested. As project managers we prioritize the protection of the last remaining primary and secondary rain forest in the near by Mache Chindul  Ecological Reserve as it is home to the cacao growing associates of FONMSOEAM. Each morning we catch the bus and ride two minutes to the main office and cacao collection center of FONMSOEAM in El Puente de Tonchigue.


At the office we work with a lively team of passionate and committed members of the directive and management at FONMSOEAM. Our responsibilities and cooperative work  include developing business relationships with potential  buyers, preparing samples of organic cacao, developing  production and cost analyses, developing plans for long  term objectives, designing a comprehensive website for  FONMSOEAM, working with outside NGOs and institutions to  coordinate their projects with FONMSOEAM, and overseeing  the process by which they receive organic and fair trade  certifications. We contribute to the development of an  internship program that will allow FONMSOEAM to host more  interns in the future as a means to move forward with  projects we have started as well as to establish new ones. 


We schedule, organize, and facilitate meetings concerning commercialization, marketing, and infrastructure, long term planning, within FONMSOEAM and with outside clients. We have also had the privilege of working with some of FONMSOEAMÂ’s female associates in the organization of the WomenÂ’s Group of Agua Clara in a jewelry-making project that offers economic alternatives and a space for creativity. Our main objective as project managers is to make sure that the projects we support, create, and facilitate are sustainable, environmentally friendly, and beneficial to associates of FONMSOEAM and local community.


Our work has afforded us the opportunity to travel all over Ecuador; learning how to send samples in the port  city of Guayaquil, enjoying the town of Salinas during out  visit of their local chocolate company Salinerito to get  some helpful tips, attending the National Conference of  Cacao in Monte Crisiti, Manabi, and having numerous  meetings with other supporting NGOs at the Ministry of Agriculture in the capital city of Quito.


Although our  time as project managers is coming to a close we plan on continuing our work with Great Wilderness along with keeping in touch with our new friends and family here at  FONMSOEAM and in Esmeraldas.

Welcome, Everyone


 Greetings! - Great Wilderness continues to work on biodiversity preservation in both Ecuador and Venezuela. We are succeeding in our mission to "Help People Help Nature."

 Please consider donating to Great Wilderness. It is easy to go to our website and donate. Thanks in advance for any help you can give to our organization.

 Volunteer and Internship Program

Our goal is to support, strengthen and enhance our partners conservation program by sending individuals interested in working and supporting the protection of Ecuador and Venezuela native forest and ecosystems. (Read more)


The Parrotlet Project


Do Parrots Name Their Babies?

While studying Green-rumplet Parrolets in Venezuela, National Geographic Explorer and Great Wilderness Board member, Dr. Karl Berg, discovered an incredibly rare behavior.

The Parrolet Project (Video)

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Forest Fund

Dear Family and Friends,


Earth Day 2018 marks the celebration of a two-year partnership with Forest Fund. Forest Fund supports conservation of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil with the help of Great Wilderness and donors worldwide. Together we are turning landowners into forest protectors by providing opportunity cost payments to the landowner to keep the forest standing in one of the most ecologically important and threatened areas of the world. Read more     



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