Posted on 08/03/2011
Students at Royal Holloway, University of London are being encouraged to pay off their library fines tomorrow (Wednesday 9 March) to help save an area of an Ecuadorian rainforest the size of the campus.
The Royal Holloway Rainforest Project is a campaign set up by two students Ashley Coates, who is studying History, and Anna Willmott-Stanton, who is studying French and Literature.
Over the last 50 years a third of the world′s rainforests have been lost, an average of 23,483 football pitches per day. With widespread rainforest destruction set to continue, Ashley and Anna’s aim is to save an area of the Ecuadorian rainforest and are asking College students and staff to help by buying up parts of the land. The area they are trying to preserve is home to some of South America’s most impressive species, including the howler monkey and jaguar. The forest also contains more than 1,600 species of birds and 4,000 species of orchids.
The World Land Trust has calculated the price per acre of rainforest is £50 which means the total amount needed to save the 135 acres – the size of the university campus - is £6,750.
Over the last year £3,350 has already been raised. Donors have included the Royal Holloway Switchboard Team, last year’s Student Union Sabbatical Officers and Royal Holloway’s BEARS. Outside of Royal Holloway, there have been donations from the Wentworth Club, the Dhillon Group, and Richard Caring, owner of London’s Ivy Restaurant and ESPIRIT stores. Local media interest has come from BBC Radio Surrey, the Surrey Herald and Brooklands FM.
Ashley said: “This is a really great and really easy way of making a contribution to the Rainforest Project. £10 saves 1/5 of an acre, £25 saves 1/2 an acre and £50 saves a whole acre. When you ‘buy an acre’ or part of an acre, you do actually save an area of land of that size. Neither the Rainforest Project nor the university will actually own the land. Instead, the WLT passes the funds onto project partners in Ecuador who will expand an existing nature reserve. That way the conservation operation and the ownership of the land remains in the hands of the local people.”
He added: “I’m hoping the library fines day at the college libraries will raise a substantial amount for the project and I am extremely grateful to the library staff who have allowed us to advertise on the Bedford Library projector all year as well as helping us out by donating the fees raised.