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Tampolo News

Tampolo Museum

The Lemur Conservation Foundation partners with the Protected Area of Tampolo in Analanjirofo, a small reserve in Madagascar  operated by ESSA-Forêts, University of Antananarivo. Formerly known as the Tampolo Forest Station, it was elevated to the status of Systeme des Aires Protegees de Tampolo (Protected Area System of Tampolo) in 2006 as part of the Durban Convention promise made by President Marc Ravalomanana to increase the protected areas of Madagascar by a third.

The Centre EnviroKidz Tampolo Update!

The Centre EnviroKidz Tampolo building is almost complete.  Centre Envirokidz Tampolo
It is a beautiful and charming design in addition to serving multipurpose functions for the local communities. The Centre will be an environmental classroom by day for visiting schoolchildren from the region who will attend classes about Tampolo’s natural history. These presentations are followed by explorations of the forest and its lively lemurs, birds and other critters.
Children outside of Centre

After school hours, the EnviroKidz building will double as a community center for both children and adults. It will be used as a study hall where the children of the Tampolo villages can take advantage of the solar powered electric lights after sundown to do their homework and school projects.   On a recent trip Penelope visited the school across the road from the Station and met the children who will use the Centre. They are very excited about the new classroom.  finish work on the buildingWhen environmental concerns motivate the construction of as beautiful a structure as the Centre EnviroKidz Tampolo, psychologically environmental studies are raised in status, jobs associated with them are held in high estimation, and young people are motivated to pursue them. The Centre can also be reserved for adult villagers to conduct “town meetings” and/or to work with the foresters to improve sustainable methods of fishing, beekeeping, and farming. The Station which is already a hub of environmental activity, then also becomes the civic and intellectual center for all residents of Tampolo. In this way, the building serves a social need while bringing attention to environmental issues.  

construction workersThe construction of Centre EnviroKidz Tampolo has recently become even more critical than first thought to be. Madagascar had a very difficult year in 2009, with the ousting of the country’s president in March. This political “distraction” allowed the timber mafia to unleash havoc on the island’s endangered forests and their equally endangered animals. Rampant deforestation for valuable hardwoods left harassed populations of lemurs either dead, too stressed to eat, or butchered for food. In spite of an agreement between political factions aiming to right Madagascar’s political and environmental disequilibrium, the chaos stills reigns in the north as the timber barons continue their nefarious deeds.  

EnviroKidz logoFunds Will Support Classroom/Community Center in Tampolo

The Lemur Conservation Foundation has been named a recipient of Nature’s Path Organic Foods’ EnviroKidz Giving Back Award.  The Giving Back Program donates money to non-profit organizations, such as LCF that support endangered species, habitat conservation and environmental education for kids.

LCF's relationship with Nature's Path began with the development of the EnviroKidz Organic Leapin' Lemurs Cereal and cereal bars which describe the work of the Lemur Conservation Foundation and inform children about lemurs and their situation as an endangered species.  "We have heard from dozens of children who have responded enthusiastically to the products and the games and informational material on the box and wanted to help us in our mission," said Penelope Bodry-Sanders, LCF's Executive Director. "Given the current political unrest and accelerated environmental devastation in some parts of Madagascar, the LCF's classroom project being supported by EnvironKidz, has become even more urgent and critical for conservation efforts on this island nation," she added.

“We are committed to leaving the world a better place than we found it by supporting organizations like the Lemur Conservation Foundation,” said Arran Stephens, President and Founder of Nature’s Path Organic Foods.  “We are extremely grateful to the consumers who have supported our EnviroKidz line and made this possible and proud to be able to give back to this dedicated and hard-working group.”   Nature’s Path, North America’s number one organic cereal manufacturer is celebrating the 10 year anniversary of its EnviroKidz Giving Back Award this year.  For more information go to or

About the Project:

classroom plan

The $30,000 grant will fund a much needed  classroom/community center at LCF's sister reserve in Tampolo, Madagascar. 

(To see complete plans, click on image)

 The center will fill a critical need at the Tampolo Forest Reserve and will dramatically enhance education outreach for both school students and adults by providing a centralized gathering place for environmental educational presentations and study. 

The Tampolo Station which is already a hub of environmental activity, can also become the civic and intellectual center for all residents of Tampolo villages. In this way, the building serves a social need while bringing attention to environmental issues.   As new towers for wireless Internet are being built ever closer to Tampolo, within the next couple of years when the Internet is available, LCF will install four computers powered by solar panels in the classroom, available for the use of Tampolo village children. 

Nature's Path logo

About Nature’s Path:

Founded in 1985, Nature’s Path Organic Foods is headquartered in Richmond, British Columbia and employs around 350 people at its four facilities in Canada and the United States.  The privately held, family-owned company produces breakfast foods and snacks sold in specialty foods stores and retailers in 40 countries around the world.  The company’s innovative brands include Nature’s Path®, Flax Plus, EnviroKidz®, Weil by Nature’s Path TM, and Optimum®.  Visit Nature’s Path online at

Tampolo Background:

Madagascar is considered one of the highest priorities for biological conservation in the world because the widespread and escalating destruction of its ecosystems endangers its remarkable species diversity. Tampolo Forest Station is one of the last fragments of littoral (coastal) forest dotting the eastern shore of Madagascar. The unique tropical lowland rainforests found here are important not only for their endangered flora and fauna but because they provide critical habitat for migrating birds.

The 1700-acre forest of Tampolo, situated directly on the coast north of the city of Fenerive, is home to seven species of lemurs. Five are nocturnal species - the Aye-Aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis), Mouse lemurs (Microcebus rufus), Dwarf lemurs (Cheirogaleus major), Sportive lemurs (Lepilemur mustelinus) and Wooly lemurs (Avahi laniger). The two diurnal species found at Tampolo - Brown lemurs (Eulemur fulvus fulvus) and Bamboo lemurs (Hapalem aur griseus griseus) - are both represented at the Myakka City Lemur Reserve as well.

The land surrounding this small reserve is severely degraded and deforested due primarily to over-harvesting of trees and the practice of slash and burn agriculture. These encroaching human activities, exacerbated by the economic downturn, local poverty, demographic pressures and a lack of education, seriously threaten the biodiversity of Tampolo. In order to deal with these threats, ESSA-Forêts has established a reforestation program and a field course in lemur ecology at the station. Similar to the LCF’s Field Training Program, ESSA-Forêts’s field course uses the forest and surrounding habitats as a biological station for research and training purposes. Because of the similarities with the LCF, ESSA Forêts (through our colleague Dr. Joelisoa Ratsirarson) suggested that we create a mutually beneficial partnership between our reserves to strengthen our conservation and education missions. This alliance enables LCF to fit into an overall international conservation effort to insure the long-term existence of lemur species.

ESSA Forêts requested financial help in their construction of an environmental center at Tampolo that will serve as a small "museum", interpretative center and meeting room. The hope is that an aggressive education outreach program that allows local residents and visitors to learn about the endangered forest and its inhabitants will help forestall further degradation. LCF was able to participate in this building project chiefly through the generosity of Malcolm & Priscilla McKenna and Judy Rasmuson & Ron Wallace. Our Malagasy colleagues have also proposed that LCF accept students from Madagascar at Myakka City Lemur Reserve to learn field techniques that follow strict scientific protocols. Eventually we hope to create an exchange that will also allow gifted young American LCF students to further hone their field skills under in-situ conditions at Tampolo Forest Station.

In addition to these educational initiatives, LCF has long-range plans including the establishment of the Institute of Malagasy Primate Studies (the library that will also serve as a base for an international scientific-conservation consortium) and the reintroduction of lemurs to Madagascar. With our Tampolo alliance we at LCF hope to accomplish all  these goals as we seek to increase our efficacy in the arena of conservation.

Inauguration of the Interpretative Center & Museum at Tampolo Forest Station, LCF’s Sister Reserve in Madagascar

On September 9, 2003, a small band of LCF trustees and donors of the Lemur Conservation Foundation celebrated the opening of the Interpretative Center & Museum in Tampolo Forest Station, our sister reserve in Madagascar. We had been on a joint American Museum of Natural History & LCF educational tour of Madagascar after which, some of our LCF group continued north to Tampolo.

Crowd at opening ceremony

What we anticipated to be an important day in the history of LCF became a truly thrilling lifetime event when we arrived to find about 200 enthusiastic attendees at Tampolo for the opening of the Center. There were assistant ministers, mayors, university directors, ex-pat conservationists and other luminaries in attendance and a great deal of speechifying. Young bi-lingual students from the Department of Forestry (ESSA-Forêts) at the University of Antananarivo served as hosts and translators. Joelisoa Ratsirarson, ESSA-Forêts/LCF Coordinator, served as Master of Ceremonies. The event was featured on national television news programs throughout Madagascar. As tradition dictates, a zebu cow was slaughtered for this propitious occasion and its meat served to everyone present (along with libations) as part of the festivities. Traditional dancers performed, flags were raised, ribbons were cut and a beautiful, engraved marble plaque was unveiled. It was an amazing and wonderful day.

The LCF underwrote most of the building costs for the Center itself and the John D. and Catherine MacArthur Foundation supported the lovely and informative exhibits it houses. The educational exhibits feature the flora, fauna, and conservation concerns of Madagascar in general and of Tampolo in particular, as well as ethnographic displays about the local Betsimisaraka people. We hope that the Center and an aggressive education outreach program for local residents and visitors will help forestall further degradation as they learn about the endangered forest and its inhabitants. LCF donors Malcolm & Priscilla McKenna, Judy Rasmuson & Ron Wallace, and Brenda Wood contributed $13,000 of the overall $15,000 cost for building construction, but we were all impressed at how much “sweat equity” the Malagasy invested in the Center parlaying a modest investment into an extraordinary facility.

The opening of the Center was a tangible manifestation of the deeper implications of our collaboration with ESSA-Forêts, the agency managing Tampolo. It enables LCF to fit into an overall international conservation effort that increases our efficacy in the arena of conservation. 

Before the festivities, our LCF group (John and Emily Fisher Alexander, Malcolm and Priscilla McKenna, Ian Tattersall, Stuart Smith and Penelope Bodry-Sanders) spent time in this exquisite forest that is home to seven species of lemurs and phenomenal flora (some orchids are six-feet tall!). The Betsimisaraka, have protected this forest mainly because of its sacred status as a home of the ancestors (evident by the multiple tombs present), but it also enjoys government protection because it is one of the last vestiges of Madagascar’s lowland tropical forests.

After the Tampolo event we proceeded north to Daraina, Madagascar, where we went in search of the Golden-crowned Sifaka (Propithicus tattersalli) named after LCF scientist Dr. Ian Tattersall. It was both touching and exciting being with Ian as he encountered the lemur for the first time since he had discovered it in 1974.

The Center is only the first step in a relationship that we hope will grow and flourish over these next few years so that we can positively affect the world our children will inherit from us.

Tampolo Museum and Interpretive Center

Tampolo Museum and Interpretive Center, funded by LCF

The Lemur Conservation Foundation is now in the process of building the Reed and Barbara Toomey Tranosoa Tampolo (Tampolo Welcome House.)  The guest house was designed by the same Malagasy company, Manitra, that built the Tampolo Interpretive Center and Museum underwritten by the LCF. Manitra’s architect designed it according to our specifications, which include two bedrooms, two dormitory rooms (accommodating six cots or sleeping bags), two bathrooms (male and female), a living room, storage room and kitchen. The building is small – 120 square meters (about 1150 square ft), but adequate. To better understand its size we offer for comparison the square footage of LCF’s Office and Research Center, 1378 square ft. “Manitra” did an excellent and timely job on the museum and the guesthouse.

Art Workshop at Tampolo

LCF sponsored  a watercolor workshop at Tampolo. Conducted by Deborah Ross, artist and teacher, the workshop aimed to inspire local villagers to explore the spectacular natural history that surrounds them, to render its beauty and to embrace its protection. The workshop was such a great success that  we  hope to organize yet another in the near future.

Paintings produced at Tampolo by both adults and children were the subject of an art exhibit at the Mary Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida, in  the spring of 2006.

LCF Banner at celebration

Reed and Barbara Toomey Tranosoa Tampolo Guesthouse

A generous grant from Reed and Barbara Toomey provided the funding to build the 3 bedroom 2 bath Tranosoa Tampolo Guesthouse for visiting researchers. This serene and well-equipped facility serves as the much needed base of operations for students and scientists studying in situ at our sister reserve.

Traosoa Guesthouse

Tranosoa Tampolo Guesthouse


Association of Zoos & Aquariums                                     
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