Go Green on Black Friday
Give the Gifts that Give Back
November 26, 2020

We want to make it as easy as possible for you to give the gifts that give back this holiday season by offering a big discount on all purchases at our Amazon Forest Store made from Thanksgiving Day through the night of Monday, Nov. 30. Enter 20THANKS at checkout to get 20% off the items you choose. Your purchase helps our artisan partners in Peru to support their families and regenerate the rainforest. We also reinvest 20% of our net sales to support health, education, and conservation needs in our partner communities. FYI bird-lovers - the ornament shown above features the black-collared hawk - often seen perched on a branch near a river in the Peruvian Amazon.
Our artisan partners make an amazing variety of animal ornaments with plants from nature to benefit nature and their families. Hundreds of artisans in the region like Yermet from El Chino on the Tahuayo River begin this process by harvesting a leaf from a chambira palm tree in their forest field. She shaves the spines off the leaf spear, pulls off the leaflets, and carries them home. She carefully separates the long fibers from each leaflet, washes them and dries them in the sun. Yermet next collects fruits, roots, leaves or bark from other plants, chops them up and boils them with the chambira to dye it. She dries the colored fibers in the shade and then rolls them on her thigh to the proper thickness. Yermet specializes in weaving beautiful baskets and woven frogs. She make a frog by twisting some fibers into two tiny coils to form the upper and lower part of the body. She next wraps chambira strands around thin wire to make the legs, adds a clasp on the side so the frog can open to hold a little treasure like a ring, adds a loop on top so it can be hung, and finally attaches two black achira seeds for eyes to give her new frog some personality. See our full collection of chambira wildlife ornaments.
Families throughout the Amazon plant calabash trees in their backyard gardens to use their hard shell pods for bowls, containers, and making handicrafts. A few of our artisan partners like Jhimi and his father Lucio from the Bora village of Brillo Nuevo have become experts at turning large egg sized calabash pods into unique ornaments and hand rattles. They first harvest ripe green pods, clean out the non-edible seeds and pulp and slowly dry and rotate them so they turn an even shade of dark brown. Jhimi looks at a photo of an animal (provided by CACE) and uses a sharpened nail embedded in a hand-made wooden handle to etch a design of the critter in its natural element on both sides of the pod. He next attaches a chambira fiber loop on top to hang the ornament if desired. He then puts just enough achira seeds inside to give the pod a good sound when shaken since many people use it as a rattle that fits in the palm of your hand. The final touch is adding a little plug of balsa wood to seal the achira inside. He has so far carved more than 50 types of animals onto these special crafts. See our collection of calabash wildlife ornaments and hand-rattles. We also have maracas in different sizes made with carved calabash pods.
Balsa Wood Wildlife Ornaments
Balsa wood is the other material that Amazon artisans commonly use to carve beautiful ornaments and other types of crafts. While CACE buys crafts that are made primarily from non-timber forest products to avoid harming any trees used to make them, balsa trees grow very quickly and easily so using them to make crafts poses no threat to their population. We work with talented artisans like David and his family from Brillo Nuevo and artisans from Iquitos to produce a line of light and life-like animal figures you can hang from your holiday tree or anywhere else. Most of these like the jaguar and capybara (shown on left above) are made with only balsa while a piece of calabash pod is used to make the shell of our turtle (shown on right above) and armadillo ornaments. See the full collection of balsa wood wildlife ornaments.
Please Support us on Giving Tuesday - Dec. 1
On December 1, Giving Tuesday, donations made to our project Support Native Artisans & Rainforest in the Amazon will receive a part of $1 million in matching funds on GlobalGiving.

Please support our programs to empower our artisan partners to make and sell better crafts, plant more trees, and strengthen their communities.
Lessons from Two Thanksgivings in the Brazilian Amazon
Campbell Plowden lived and worked with a native community in the Brazilian Amazon for several years before he founded CACE. Read about some of these experiences and important lessons in his story Two Thanksgivings and a Birthday Party with the Tembé Indians in Brazil.
We envision an Amazonia where people create sustainable livelihoods, empower communities, and regenerate the Amazon rainforest.