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Preserving Patagonia: Restoring a Natural Wonder

Raised toward our $17,000 Goal
94 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on February 17, at 12:00 PM PST
Project Owners

Preserving Patagonia: Restoring a Natural Wonder

The 8th Wonder of the World

Patagonia is one of the last remaining authentic regions of pristine wild beauty in a world threatened by human-induced climate change, habitat destruction, and biodiversity loss. However, even Patagonia faces its own unique challenges, such as expanding development, which brings with it invasive species that are damaging the region’s world-renowned wilderness. For example, an invasive species of European Willow is outcompeting native species in the Limay River Basin, home to Patagonia’s most important trout fisheries. This change has potentially catastrophic consequences for the region, a global center for ecotourism, and for the people who live in and rely on it. With your help, our student Practicum team from the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability will work to develop a restoration plan for native willow trees along the Limay River, preserving the landscape and supporting local communities. Please read on below and consider donating to our campaign.

Who We Are

We are a team of UCLA Environmental Science students committed to restoring Patagonia, often referred to as the 8th natural wonder of the world. By partnering with the Neuquén Center for Applied Ecology and The Nature Conservancy, we aim to establish a conservation project that will have a lasting impact on the local environment and the people that depend on its resources.

The Problem and Its Impact

For centuries, the Limay River has provided a sustainable fishery for locals to depend on and tourists to enjoy. The river is also a critical economic driver; dams along the river provide a remarkable 24% of Argentina's power. However, this resource is threatened by the European Willow's expansion which in turn poses a serious risk to local biodiversity, including Patagonia's famous trout fishery, and has fundamentally changed the physical course of the River.

Preservation in this area is necessary to secure stable food sources and economic prosperity for the people of Patagonia in years to come. By donating to our campaign, you will have a direct impact on Patagonia, one of the most pristine and wild landscapes in the world.

Our Plan

Our goal is to identify and map the extent to which invasive willows contribute to environmental degradation. We will collect data through cutting-edge remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) applications, while engaging local fishing guides and relevant government agencies. Using this information, we will then produce tailored solutions for the removal of non-native willows and the reintroduction of native willows.

How You Can Help

In Spring 2020, our research team will travel to Patagonia to work closely with local scientists, field experts, and fishing guides to collect ecological data and apply our research firsthand.  Your donations will directly fund our airfare, meals, transportation, and equipment needed to complete our research. This trip will not be possible without your support. By donating to this campaign, you will play a major role in training the next generation of environmental scientists, engineers, and leaders and altering the future of the Limay River Basin's landscape and the communities that depend in it. Please donate!

Our way
of Thanking You


Thank You 8 Clap

Your donation will go towards feeding one of our team members in Argentina. As a thank you, our team will send you a video of the UCLA 8 Clap taken on our field site!

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Estimated Delivery: March 2020


Photo of Our Team

Your donation will help UCLA’s Environmental Science Class of 2020 develop into world changing scientists. As a thank you for your donation, our team will send you a group picture taken at the research site to express our gratitude.

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Estimated Delivery: March 2020


Thank You Video

Your donation will bring us one step closer towards reaching Patagonia as we put it towards our transportation costs. As a thank you for your donation our team will send you a video from the research site to show our appreciation.

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Estimated Delivery: March 2020


Handwritten Thank You

Your donation will go towards housing our team on our research site so that we can observe this ecosystem firsthand. As a thank you, our team will send you a handwritten letter for your help in protecting the Limay River in Patagonia.

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Estimated Delivery: March 2020


Behind the Scenes Video

Your generous donation of $250 will go towards funding our research trip to Argentina and you deserve to see the work we do. To thank you for helping to send our team to Patagonia, we will send you a series of videos taken in the field as we conduct our research.

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Estimated Delivery: March 2020


Credit in Final Presentation

You are a protector of Patagonia and it shows! In addition to receiving a handwritten letter and all of our videos, we will credit you on our final presentation as a vital component of making our research project possible.

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Estimated Delivery: March 2020
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