How to Rescue a Rainforest

Quinn Meyer went to the Peruvian Amazon and fell in love. Twice.

Meyer first became enamored with the unspoiled rainforest environment and its remarkable biodiversity. Next, he met the woman who would become his wife.

It was the dawn of the new millennium when the British native ventured into the Manu National Park in southeast Peru. While there, he decided to dedicate himself to preserving the rainforest.

Meyer and his wife bought an abandoned 1,600 acres (about 2.5 square miles) of decimated farmland. The land was located in a buffer zone between Manu National Park and Amarakaeri Communal Reserve, and represented the worst of mankind’s interaction with the Amazon rainforest. The forest had been completely destroyed by the harvesting of lumber, and clearing for farming. The land was to become the Manu Learning Center, and served as a perfect spot for Meyer to test his ideas of how to save the rainforest.

Meyer believed that the best way to conserve and safe natural habitats was through education, and that meant educating both the visitors to the natural protected areas, but also the communities surrounding them.

In 2003, Meyer founded CREES (Conservation, Research & Education towards Environmental Sustainability), an organization dedicated to using education to bring about sustainable development in the Manu region.

One year later, the land Meyer had purchased was repurposed to become the Manu Learning Center (MLC). The MLC would serve as a proving ground to show the world that with education and the proper tools, the original rainforest could be regenerated. The experiment is now universally recognized as successful, with 87% of the original biodiversity having been returned to the land.

Today, CREES is comprised of two separate organizations: CREES Foundation and CREES MANU SAC.

The CREES Foundation is the philanthropic arm of CREES. It focuses on empowering and transforming the natural and social capital into educational and entrepreneurial resources. It works with leading global universities, the British and Peruvian governments, local NGOs and business to support local communities.

CREES MANU SAC is the commercial arm of CREES. It is a tourism-focused business that manages two Amazon lodges that host up to 500 people each year. It allows guests the opportunity to discover the nature and culture of the Peruvian Amazon, while supporting conservation and community projects that benefit and empower the people of Manu.  

CREES also offers volunteer opportunities and internships for people who want to take a deeper dive into Amazon conservation.

If you would like to travel with CREES into the Peruvian Amazon, and see the group’s work first-hand, check out the trip below.