We have conversations with customers every day about the color of real cherry wood furniture. It’s no wonder! When I just googled “real cherry wood” well over 50 shades of cherry came up. Quite a variation, isn’t it?
First of all, half of these images are NOT of cherry wood. When the big American furniture companies started off-shoring their furniture 30-40 years ago they found it cheaper to use rainforest woods than cherry (rather than ship cherry wood from North America to third world factories and then export it back to North America as furniture). So they stained these cheaper woods and gave them various trade names containing “cherry”. For example Makore, an increasingly rare African wood being illegally logged in Sierra Leone and Gabon has been sold under the trade name Cherry Mahogany, though Makore is not closely related to either cherry or mahogany. Worse yet, it is listed as an endangered species due to illegal logging and exploitation by organized crime which has taken root in the global timber industry.
Many times customers come to Vermont Woods Studios looking to buy real cherry wood furniture that matches existing cherry pieces in their homes. After discussions and emailing pictures back and forth they are shocked to find that their “cherry” furniture from Bassett, Broyhill, Ethan Allen, Thomasville, Drexel, Lane or other big “American” companies is not cherry at all but rubberwood, poplar or some kind of engineered hardwood.
At Vermont Woods Studios, our cherry furniture is indeed made out of real, solid North American Black Cherry wood. The color starts out as a light pink and slowly ripens to a rich reddish brown over time, as it’s exposed to light. Nina’s photo of the rocker below shows the range of natural cherry colors after the wood’s been exposed to light.
Are you interested to learn more? Find tons of information and photos of American made, real cherry wood furniture on our website & send us your questions on Facebook or in the comments section below.
Happy World Environment Day! As you know, Vermont Woods Studios is a wood furniture company, founded on the principles of forest conservation and we’re always trying to raise awareness about that cause.
Amazon Rainforest Conservation Project
Recently I traveled to the Bolivian Amazon to support the rainforest conservation work of environmental activist, Rosamaria Ruiz. Her work has been the subject of articles and videos in National Geographic and numerous other conservation magazines. It takes place in the Madidi National Park and at the Serere Reserve, the Most Biodiverse Protected Area on Earth. Here Rosamaria welcomes scientists, artists, writers, film makers, photographers, students and ecotourism lovers to help with her conservation initiatives.
Conservation Through EcoTourism & Volunteerism
Rosamaria funds her conservation work through ecotourism and also enlists the help of volunteers from all over the world. I wanted to share this with you in case you or someone you know might be interested in visiting or volunteering at Serere.
Serere is a unique biological gem! It’s relatively small 4000 hectare reserve is home to 7 species of monkeys, tapirs, sloths, jaguars, black caimans, many snake species (including anacondas), hundreds of bird species (including harpy eagles, macaws, herons, eagles, toucans, jabirus, and hoatzin) and a wide variety of fish.
Animals are congregating in Serere for the safety Rosamaria and her staff provide. Outside Serere’s borders this paradise is being eroded by illegal logging, gold mining, cattle ranching, sugar refineries, agriculture and the like. One of two things is bound to happen at Serere. Either it will disappear like the surrounding areas or it will be expanded due to the efforts of people like Rosamaria Ruiz and you and me.
Visit Serere and Experience the Rainforest!
I write to you on World Environment Day in hopes that you might share this message with anyone you know who might be looking for an ecotourism or volunteer opportunity in the rainforest. I believe Rosamaria would welcome the opportunity to speak with scientists, writers, photographers and other professionals interested in supporting her conservation work. If you have an interest, visit Rosamaria’s website Madidi-Travel.com to learn more! You can also feel free to contact me via Facebook | Vermont Furniture or email (peggy@VermontWoodsStudios.com) and read more about my trip to Serere are on my blog.
My son Riley was volunteering last month at the Serere Reserve, a rainforest conservation project in Bolivia’s Amazon Basin. Serere is part of the Madidi Mosaic, the largest and most bio-diverse protected area in the world. Kendall (my other son) and I joined Riley for a week and although our “mission” was to learn about rainforest conservation, I have to say the highlight of our trip was living with Serere’s monkeys.
Globally half of all primates face imminent extinction, as they face threats from loggers, hunters and smugglers. But Serere is different and here monkeys abound. That’s thanks to the efforts of owner/operator of Serere, legendary environmental activist Rosamaria Ruiz. Clearly, humans aren’t the only ones who’ve noticed her painstaking work in restoring the natural flora and fauna to the reserve. Monkeys are everywhere! During our short stay, we saw 5 different species of monkeys in the wild. We also had the privilege of getting to know the resident spider monkeys. After losing family members to illegal loggers these monkeys have found a safe sanctuary at Serere. The area is constantly patrolled to protect wildlife and habitat– an activity that volunteers and guests often participate in. It’s part of a “conservation through ecotourism” strategy.
Serere’s Monkey Species
Here’s a run down on the types of monkeys we saw at Serere along with a few fun facts I learned on LiveScience:
Yellow squirrel monkeys (Saimiri) mate for life. We watched them grooming each other, intertwining their tails, holding hands, cuddling, and kissing.
Spider monkeys (Ateles) are named for their long tails and lengthy spidery limbs. They’re amazingly agile and can quickly walk on two legs across a tree branch.
Red howler monkeys (Alouatta seniculus) When a troop of howler monkeys yell, they can be heard for up to three miles. We woke up to their calls every morning. Great alarm clock!
Capuchin monkeys (Cebus) use tools. They can smash nuts with rocks, insert branches into crevices to capture ants for food, and use large branches to club snakes.
Nocturnal Owl Monkeys (Aotus) spend most of their time foraging and sleeping in the high canopy, above ten meters. They sleep in tree holes or thickets of dense foliage which may be shared with other nocturnal animals like bats.
Voluntourism Helps Protect the Monkey Kingdom
Students, have you ever thought of taking a gap year to volunteer in conservation-related work? Young professionals, maybe you’ve considered spending your vacation “voluntouring”? Families, are you looking to teach your children that they can change the world? Teachers & guidance counselors, do you have students interested in primates or rainforest conservation? Researchers and primatologists, are you studying one of the monkeys listed above?
If so, consider supporting, visiting and/or volunteering at Madidi Travel’s Serere Reserve. Here you’ll find a wonderful group of dedicated environmentalists using ecotourism to fund rainforest conservation. Volunteer and guest programs are tailored to meet your needs and interests. Check out the Madidi Travel website, follow Madidi on Facebook & Twitter and watch these videos about their work. Then contact Rosamaria Ruiz to join the many scientists, artists, photographers and film makers from all over the world, who have volunteered their time and talent to conserve the wonders of the Serere rainforest reserve.
We talk a lot about rainforest conservation at Vermont Woods Studios and I’m sure many people wonder why we’re so fanatic about it. Part of the reason for our forest conservation mission is is my love of animals and wildlife. And part of it is that humanity is destroying a precious resource (that took billions of years to evolve) at a rate that surpasses any previous mass extinction. Consider that:
Forests have completely disappeared in 25 countries and another 29 countries have lost > 90% of their forest cover.
Madidi Travel: Protectors of the Amazon
We’ve written before about who’s responsible for destroying the rainforest. Today I wanted to tell you about people who are dedicating their lives to conserving the rainforest. Last week Kendall and I visited Riley, who was volunteering for them at Madidi Travel in the Serere Reserve in Bolivia. Ecotourism supporting conservation is Madidi’s strategy. They are a team led by the legendary environmental activist, Rosamaria Ruiz (featured in this National Geographic article).
After decades of conservation work in the Bolivian Amazon, which resulted in the creation of the Madidi National Park, Ms Ruiz purchased a 4000 hectacre reserve known as Serere. The land was severely damaged by illegal logging and other unauthorized exploitations but Ms Ruiz and her team have brought it back to life. It is now one of the most beautiful and biologically diverse places on the planet (as you can see in this Serere video).
Can Eco Tourism Help Save the Rainforest?
With much of the reforestation already in progress, the job of patrolling the rainforest and protecting it’s inhabitants now takes center stage at Serere. That’s where the strategy of ecotourism comes in. Guests can join local guides on daily hikes and canoe rides throughout the reserve. Thus the land is patrolled while visitors enjoy the amazing biodiversity of life in the forest (we saw 5 different species of monkeys in one day). Learn more about ecotourism supporting rainforest conservation on this Madidi Travel video.
Where is the link? Well, in the time it takes to read this series of blogs, an area of the Amazon rainforest larger than 200 football fields will have been destroyed. Can you believe that? Much rainforest destruction is done illegally, to feed the US markets for furniture and flooring. Hmm… Vermont makes wood furniture. With our 200 year tradition of using local, sustainably harvested wood, we can provide an excellent alternative to illegal furniture imports. At Vermont Woods Studios our mission is to raise awareness about the rainforest and persuade consumers to avoid illegal wood products (made from rare tropical woods like mahogany, teak and ipe) in favor of sustainable furniture and flooring made from North American woods (like cherry, maple, oak and walnut).
Finding A Way To Help
At VWS we’ve supported rainforest conservation since Day 1. But quite honestly, donating our profits to reforestation NGOs (impressive and legitimate, as they are) operating 5000 miles away was not very satisfying. We wanted to be more closely involved. We wanted to see (and be a part of) the progress being made through our contributions.
My last post was about how my son Riley happened to end up volunteering for the legendary conservationist, Rosamaria Ruiz, of Madidi Travel in the Serere Reserve of the Bolivian Amazon Rainforest. Perfect! Kendall (my other son) and I went down to see Riley and offer to help Ms Ruiz with her efforts in reforestation and “conservation through eco tourism”.
Many Faces of Rainforest Destruction
After flying over huge expanses of the Amazon and trekking through the Serere Reserve, I realized there are many different rainforest destruction problems and approaches to solving them. Some areas have simply been clear cut, the worst possible fate. But “luckily” the Serere Reserve was ravaged by illegal loggers who were just interested in large, high value trees. For example, I did not see a single mahogany tree other than the saplings planted by Madidi Travel. Cedar was also completely wiped out. The good news is that, otherwise the Serere Reserve is still intact, extraordinarily beautiful & teaming with wildlife.
It’s an amazing place, filled with exotic birds, monkeys (we saw troops of howlers, yellow monkeys, spider monkeys, capuchins and a nocturnal monkey all in one day) fish and other wildlife. Serere is one of the most bio-diverse places on the planet– it’s a nature lover’s dream. Rosamaria says that wildlife is so abundant here because the animals feel safe.
Conservation Through Eco Tourism
Last week I learned there’s more to rainforest conservation than planting trees. In places where the rainforest is still standing, the goal is to protect what’s left and restore what’s been stolen. Illegal loggers are a constant threat so rigorous patrolling and enforcement are always required. That takes money. Rosamaria Ruiz is showing rainforest communities around the world how to raise that money through eco tourism. Devoted wildlife and nature lovers pay to experience the wonder of the rainforest, thus providing jobs for indigenous people to conserve and defend it.
If you love being up close and personal with nature, check out Madidi Travel and their eco tourism opportunities at the Serere Reserve. It’s the last little corner of the Garden of Eden. Get down there soon. The rainforest continues to disappear at an alarming rate. The clock is ticking.