Transformational Learning in the Amazon

The Amazon Binocular Project


Nov. 15, 2016: Remembering Lucio Pando
We are so sad to announce the loss of our dear friend Lucio Pando - pictured above on a field trip with Amazon students. He was a bird guide extraordinaire and the inspiration for starting the Amazon Binocular Project. His gentle spirit, infectious laugh, un-ending patience, and incredible birding skills will be sorely missed. We wish you well on your last flight, Lucio. God Bless you and your family. We will continue your legacy through the Amazon Binocular Project and have NEW plans for creating resource materials for Amazon classrooms that will tell your story and inspire the next generation of Amazon birders

Lucio Pando:  1956 - 2016


For the past three years, the Educator Academy in the Amazon has worked with local bird guides and Peruvian teachers to bring Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s BirdSleuth-International curriculum into remote schools along the Amazon River (read more).

Many thanks to BirdsEye Nature Apps and the EcoTeach Foundation for making this project possible!

How it Works

  1. You decide to donate your gently used, waterproof optics to a great cause!
  2. Students from Tualatin Valley Academy will inspect and clean used binoculars and prepare them for use in the Amazon.
  3. Participants of the Educator Academy in the Amazon Rainforest will personally deliver your binocular donation to our Amazon bird education outreach team.
  4. The EcoTeach Foundation will provide you with a tax-deductible donation receipt.
  5. Students and teachers in the Amazon will be given the tools they need to enjoy, appreciate, investigate, and protect Amazon birds!    ​

What we need

We are looking for donations of “real” binoculars that are powerful and high quality enough for adults but user-friendly enough for older children and teenagers.
​Binoculars should be:

  1. In Working Condition (Not Broken) External blemishes, lost lens caps, no neck strap or case? No problem, we will get them ready to be used again.
  2. Waterproof
  3. Sturdy / Durable – Shock Resistant, No Plastic Models, No Toys
  4. Quality Optics – Generally speaking we are looking for binoculars that retail new beginning at $100 and up.
  5. Power of Magnification – 6 X 30, 6 X 42, 7 X 30, 7 X 42, 8 X 30, 8 X 42 (Others may also be appropriate, but generally once you are up to 10 X the magnification is too strong to hold steady.  Once you are up to X 50 the binoculars are getting too heavy.)
  6. Weight – Not too heavy or bulky.  Between 16 – 20 oz (400 – 600 g).
  7. Length – Size 4 – 6 inches (112 – 125 mm).  No Compact or Pocket Models, No Huge & Heavy Antiques.

We will also accept:

  • Lens caps, neck straps, and cases
  • Lens cleaning cloths & supplies
  • Desiccant silica gel packs
  • Birds of Peru field guides & charts
  • Monetary Donations

How to Donate

1. Complete this donation form.
​2. Include it with your binoculars, wrapped in protective padding.
​3. Mail to:
Phil Kahler
Tualatin Valley Academy
Science Department
7405 East Mainstreet
Hillsboro, OR 97123

Don't have binoculars, but want to help honor Lucio Pando's life and legacy?  Your monetary donations will help us:

  • Provide environmental and bird education training for Amazon teachers.
  • Provide Cornell Lab of Ornithology International BirdSleuth resources to Amazon Classrooms.
  • Develop materials to share Lucio's story - including a children's book and video - for both US and Peruvian classrooms. 

Click here to make your financial donation online.    ​​

Learn more about the students benefiting from your donations!