Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Alumni Amanda Parker (BA, 2007) Introduces the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)'s ParLu Project

In 2006, when Amanda Parker submitted her autobiography for the Stone Center’s annual undergraduate TUCLA conference, she could not have imagined how prophetic her blurb would turn out to be.

The then senior wrote that she, “loves traveling, reading and especially loves her animals (or any animal for that matter)” concluding(in the requisite third-person), “If Amanda really were able to accomplish what she wanted, she would put her cultural and linguistic skills to use saving all of the animalitos in Latin America.”

Now Project Manager of Agriculture and Sustainable Land Use and Paraguay Country Manager at WWF Germany (World Wide Fund for Nature), the Berlin-based Parker is doing just that.

Parker has spent the last six years working on a major initiative with the German Ministry of the Environment (BMUB), WWF’s ParLu (Paraguay Land Use) Project. A four-year, multilateral initiative, ParLu is aimed at reducing deforestation and forest degradation in Paraguay’s Atlantic Forest and Pantanal. These “ecological treasures” are critically endangered by mechanized agricultural production, mainly soy and cattle ranching. In addition to assessing environmental degradation, the ParLu Project promotes environmental law enforcement and sustainable agricultural techniques, while raising awareness at the community and governmental level to build capacity for sustained participation.

Parker acts as the primary liaison between stakeholders in Germany and Paraguay, speaking on behalf of conservation in the region. She sits on two steering committees for WWF: one in the Pantanal (with Paraguay, Bolivia, Brazil and donor countries) and in the Atlantic Forest, (with Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina). At the same time, she works on developing new funding proposals for related projects, including a pilot program between Paraguay and Colombia to protect Grasslands and Savannahs in the Pantanal and Llanos, respectively.

“More than anything,” Parker contends, “I am a champion for Paraguay, a small country with warm people and at huge risk for massive deforestation and climate change.”

The project website is www.parlu.org
The documentary film featuring Amanda (at 3:25)

Paraguay + People
Sarah Fouts
Ph.D. Candidate