Ana Cristina Andre: Empowering Women

Ana Cristina Andre was on the international corps in 2016 and served as a volunteer specialist in 2017. With a degree in forest engineering, she is currently working in Brazil at a packaging company where she focuses on watershed management and forest restoration. 

EarthCorps is many things. The list includes a leadership development program, an organization focused on local restoration, and a network of passionate people working toward positive change. In Ana’s story, the latter is how she heard of EarthCorps in the first place.  

Ana Cristina Andre first resonated with restoration during her time studying forest engineering at college. A popular major in Brazil, Ana was most intrigued by the conservation end of the spectrum.  During that time, she met an EarthCorps alumni. The network of EarthCorps alumni and supporters circles the globe. Luckily, it found Ana and brought her to the program. 

According to Ana, doing EarthCorps was “one of the best experiences in my life” because she got to “build community, talk about conservation, and have interactions with people and interactions with the planet.”

Ana found that the restoration work faced many challenges, but it was worth it. “You feel that what you are doing is meaningful and helping the ecosystem.”  

“It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s the kind of work you can’t help but to love” 

The City of Seattle was also an important part of her experience. Waste management systems, water treatment processes, and the general love for personal gardening were all novel and inspiring. Ana got to see and live through the different seasons. She tried amazing food and got to experience living in a place with many different types of people.  

Beyond the hard work, it was also just plain fun! She loved the opportunity to camp and hike all the time, in and outside of the program itself. Ana’s personal network expanded to include her fellow cohort, the staff, community partners, her host family, and more. 

“People were receptive. The EarthCorps program brings that to everybody. Everybody is expecting to learn about you. I felt it was a really meaningful way to meet people.” 

Today, Ana is bringing restoration to the private sector in Brazil. Working for a packaging company, she gets to help ensure that forest management is responsible and sustainable. A current (and huge!) project she is working on is managing the native forest and increasing biodiversity within. The long days of removing blackberries at EarthCorps certainly made her familiar with the beast that is an invasive species. EarthCorps is proud to see Ana bringing a restorative mind to an industry that needs it! 

Ana encourages anyone considering EarthCorps to give it a try! She says that “it’s a really special time” so “take advantage of everything you can.” She loved that EarthCorps is an organization that is actively empowering women to do this type of work just as much as men. “I got support and encouragement, and so will you!”  

Interested in joining the corps? New cohorts start a few times a year. The next group will begin in September 2023!