Our Story

In 2011, Canadian Jana Bell travelled to Peru where she visited an ecolodge and trekked in the Amazon rainforest. Jana was struck by the magic and mystery of the jungle and knew she had to return and explore some more. When Jana returned two months later, in place of tourist experiences she set out with a guide to see first-hand the gritty reality of rainforest destruction. She witnessed vast areas of ancient primary forest devastated by illegal logging. She visited illegal gold mining camps that had transformed pristine wilderness into a mercury-polluted moonscape. She walked on new roads slicing through previously remote and inaccessible areas where indigenous people live in voluntary isolation.

Jana returned to Canada with an overwhelming sense of responsibility to take action. She searched for a Canadian organization working to protect the area she’d visited; finding none, Jana launched ARC, which received charitable status from the Canadian government in 2014.

Our Canadian team consists entirely of volunteers which means all donations are directed to our conservation projects.

ARC Canada

Jana Bell

Founder and President

Jana Bell (Honors B.A., Queen’s University) spent many years working in the corporate world as a Human Resources Advisor. However, her life path took a different turn after she visited the Peruvian Amazon in 2011 and returned to Canada feeling an overwhelming call to directly address the deforestation and destruction of that magical place. In 2012 she founded Amazon Rainforest Conservancy (ARC) and its Peruvian sister organization (PARC). With these two organizations, Jana hopes to bring an integrated approach to conservation that preserves the natural habitat and species of the area and also contributes to a sustainable livelihood for the indigenous inhabitants.

Gurbeen Bhasin

Board of Director

Gurbeen Bhasin is the founder and executive director of Aangen: A Community Service Organization. Aangen is a Toronto-based non-profit social enterprise that focuses on advancing food security and social justice both locally and globally. Aangen creates employment for those experiencing barriers and advocates for housing and food security for ALL. She set up a social enterprise (an idea she had in grad school) so she could serve the community without restrictions and dependency on funders. Her values are to serve each family and individual based on their unique needs and wraparound the services they require. All of these services are covered by Aangen’s business functions as well as donations from community members.

While Gurbeen has been an environmental activist for many years, she has been inspired to take an active stand for protecting the Amazon rainforest. She visited Peru in 2020 and fell in love with the rainforest there and has developed a deep connection to protecting it and educating others about the importance of preserving it for generations to follow. Gurbeen is actively learning Spanish so she can help support Amazon Rainforest Conservancy in its mission and hopes to support this cause forever.

Jason Ruby

Board of Director

Jason Ruby has been active in video production and marketing for more than 25 years. He’s currently the President of the Quake Marketing Group — a full-service, international B2B marketing agency collaborating with innovative technology companies. Jason is also the winner of the CTV-CKCO Pat Fitzgerald Award. After learning about ARC, and sharing information about Jana Bell’s dedication to protecting the Amazon rainforest, Jason and everyone on the Quake team was eager to get involved.

 

 

 

Jared Schachter

Board of Director

Jared Schachter (Honours Business Administration, Richard Ivey Business School) has a diverse business background in management consulting and leadership in multiple technology companies. As an aspiring Effective Altruist he has always been passionate about social impact, with a specific focus on the environment. After a 4 month trip to South America in 2019 which included a multi-week stay in the Amazon, he felt a specific calling to focus his philanthropic efforts on conservation and protection of this precious area.

ARC Peru

Jana Bell

Founder and President

Jana Bell (Honors B.A., Queen’s University) spent many years working in the corporate world as a Human Resources Advisor. However, her life path took a different turn after she visited the Peruvian Amazon in 2011 and returned to Canada feeling an overwhelming call to directly address the deforestation and destruction of that magical place. In 2012 she founded Amazon Rainforest Conservancy (ARC) and its Peruvian sister organization (PARC). With these two organizations, Jana hopes to bring an integrated approach to conservation that preserves the natural habitat and species of the area and also contributes to a sustainable livelihood for the indigenous inhabitants.

Matheu DeSilva

Board of Director

Matheu DeSilva is an experienced ranger-warden with a passion for protecting the earth’s wild places.

An expert in large game relocation and high-risk ranger programs, he started his conservation career with the Department of Wildlife Conservation in Sri Lanka, where his team was responsible for protecting the remote Kumana (Yala East) National Park at a time when it was under threat of closure due to its proximity to the frontline of the civil war. He was also part of a national task force responsible for transporting elephants away from zones of human-elephant conflict, including participating in large-scale, cross-country elephant drives.

Since arriving in South America in 2007, he has worked for various conservation projects in Ecuador and Peru, and is now responsible for the implementation and overseeing of ARC’s Wild Protectors ranger program.

Luis Martínez

Board of Director

Luis Martínez was born in Lima and has more than 25 years experience in legal matters. He is a relentless defender of justice, respect for human rights and the environment. He guides and assists those who need it, offering his defense in civil, criminal, commercial issues, especially in matters of formalization and sanitation of informal, urban and rural property.

Luis now calls Tarapoto home and litigates in the San Martin region where he considers himself as one more “San Martinense”. However, thanks to his many responsibilities as a lawyer and legal representative of several companies, he has visited many regions of Peru.

When not litigating, Luis likes to travel and contemplate the incomparable landscapes of the region. He is a fan of photography – especially of animals, plants and jungle landscapes – and is skilled at restoring old objects for reuse, as well as recycling.

 

Samuel Prada

Board of Director

Samuel Prada was born and grew up in Northern Peru in an expat family who founded an organic farm. When he was 10, Sam moved to Switzerland to attend school and learn a profession. As a mechatronics field engineer, he has been able to combine his passions of travelling and working in diverse high-tech industries.

Since 2013, he has been spending most of his free time exploring rural Peru’s richness in diversity. Having found this passion, he puts all his efforts into the conservation of flora and fauna.

Cindy Reátegui

Board of Director

Cindy Reátegui was born and lives in Tarapoto, Peru where she manages La Patarashca Group – her family’s business of hotels, tours and restaurants. In addition, Cindy works in real estate, promotes and develops tourism projects, provides training and advice for food production, consults for national and international film production companies.

Cindy has always felt a close connection with nature and in particular the Amazon. She has founded two conservation organizations focused on wildlife rescue, reforestation, and the study of medicinal plants. She is also passionate about sharing the ancestral knowledge of the Amazon diversity.

Her love for Tibetan Buddhism practices led her to create yoga, meditation and other ceremonial retreats and she and her team are actively building the biggest Stupa in the region.

Mark Weinstein

Board of Director

Mark Weinstein has been a video editor for over 20 years and has frequently travelled the world while doing it. He’s always been drawn to the editing process, but can frequently be seen with a camera or wrangling some sound equipment as he enjoys every part of the filmmaking process.

After 14 years of editing in a traditional office environment, he started longing for “more”. So, he packed up his life – or the essentials, anyway – and put what he could onto his bicycle and pedalled from Toronto to St. John’s, Newfoundland to Key West, FL. After that, he knew returning to “office life” just wasn’t for him. Since then, he’s been working remotely from wherever “home” happens to be and pedalled nearly 25,000 km on various cross-country cycle tours along the way.

And while he’s never cycled in Peru, his first adventure vacation was a 100 km hike in the Peruvian Andes and he loved every part of it. When he learned of ARC’s activities, he knew it was a great fit to help out – his adventurous spirit agreed too.

Adrian Forsyth

Advisor

Adrian, the Co-Founder of Amazon Conservation and Asociación para la Conservación de la Cuenca Amazónica, has a Harvard PhD in tropical ecology and 30 years of conservation experience in the region. He has served as the Director of Biodiversity Science at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Vice President at Conservation International, and VP for Programs at the blue moon fund. He is currently a strategic advisor for the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Andes Amazon Fund. He also serves as President of the Board of Friends of the Osa, a nonprofit he founded in Costa Rica. Adrian has supported his fieldwork by serving as a university professor, professional conservationist, and consultant. He is also one of North America’s finest writers on the subject of natural history and has authored nine books.

Our Sponsors

ARC’s management team is grateful to the following sponsors who not only support ARC financially but also spread awareness of the organization and its conservation programs.

quake marketing group
Box & Jar

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©2022, Amazon Rainforest Conservancy