Clemira O. Souza (MsC, Educator) and Vitor O. Becker (PhD, Entomologist) had a dream: to protect the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest. From 1997 to 2001, the couple invested all their personal assets in purchasing about 2,500 acres of former cacao farms in Serra Bonita, in Camacan, Bahia, to create the Serra Bonita Reserve (SBR).
In 2001, to be able to partner up with individuals and organizations with the common interest of ensuring the long-term sustainability of the SBR, the couple founded a non-profit association, Instituto Uiraçu, whose mission is "To protect, conserve and recover Atlantic Rainforest environments, according to universal ecocentric ethics".
With funds from donations, gifts and awards, Instituto Uiraçu purchased about 3,700 more acres, to create new Reserves and expand the protected area the Instituto owns and manages. The total area under protection (the couple´s and the Instituto´s) is about 6,100 acres.
In 15 years, Instituto Uiraçu made important accomplishments in Scientific Research, Environmental Education and community outreach, with the support of its 30 members, its partners and volunteers. Instituto Uiraçu is permanently seeking opportunities to ensure the SBR´s long-term sustainability and to learn more about the Atlantic Forest, and how to protect it.
Besides their key role in the development and management of Instituto Uiraçu, Clemira and Vitor host the visitors who come to appreciate the beauties of Serra Bonita, or conduct research. The Serra Bonita Reserve harbors a Research Station, a Lodge, a Students´ Dorm, and many trails for scientists and birdwatchers. The Research Station offers six laboratories, two collection rooms, one screening room, an auditorium and the Becker Lepidoptera Collection, a worldwide reference in its field of scientific knowledge. There is also a beautiful full view of the region, from the top of the mountain.