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Round River Conservation Studies & CONAF

Packraft Use By The Round River Conservation Studies & CONAF

Conservation and Environmental Education in Chile.

Last year, Alpacka Raft donated packrafts to Round River Conservation Studies, and their partner CONAF (The Chilean National Forestry Service). CONAF is a private, not-for profit entity under the Ministry of Agriculture, through which the state of Chile contributes to the sustainable development of the country’s forestry and natural resources, fomenting their protection, care and development.

At a regional level, CONAF Aysén is the agency responsible for biodiversity protection, conservation, and, within the distinct ecosystems of the region’s protected areas, for putting special emphasis on scientific cooperation as an important nexus of development and study. This cooperation has the objective of working in collaboration with academia, the government and the conservation organizations that work within Chile, to better understand the natural environment and protecting the species that reside in these ecosystems.

Raul Perreda, administrator of the Tortel sector of Bernardo O’Higgins National Park in southern Chilean Patagonia uses the donated packrafts to support conservation, collect biodiversity data to share with land managers, and to conduct environmental education workshops and outreach to help to support connection and understanding of nature within local schools and communities.

Although COVID-19 has put a hold on Round River and CONAF’s current efforts, the organizations have done a lot of great conservation work with the packrafts they have. Check out the photos below of all of the great work they have accomplished thus far.


A Round River Conservation Studies student paddles in a quiet bay near the Southern Patagonia ice field, on a trip to document biodiversity near the Pio XI glacier.

Photo: Shalynn Pack | Packrafting the Chilean Fords

Round River Chile Coordinator, Fernando Iglesias Letelier, paddles near the largest glacier on the Southern Patagonia Icefield, the Pio XI glacier. Round River first visited this glacier in 2017 to document the terrestrial biodiversity on its fringes.

Photo Credit: Shalynn Pack | Chilean Fjords of the Pio XI Glacier

Round River Conservation Studies students Will Green and Caroline Carter use their Alpacka Raft packrafts to cross the Quiroz River, on day 6 of a 10-day backpacking expedition into the remote Pascua River Watershed. Round River collects data on endangered huemul deer and other wildlife species as part of a larger effort to conserve and protect the watershed.

Photo Credit: by Shalynn Pack | Alpacka Raft packrafts being used in a Pascua river crossing

Raul Perreda, administrator of the northern portion of Chilean Patagonia’s Bernardo O’Higgins National Park, uses his donated Alpacka Raft packraft to collect plankton samples near the Tempano glacier.

Photo Credit: Adam Spencer | Raul collecting water at glacier Tempano
Photo Credit: Adam Spencer | Raul at glacier Tempano
Photo Credit: Adam Spencer | Collecting samples

In collaborative with Round River Conservation Studies, staff from Chile’s Bernardo O’Higgins National Park, and glaciologists from the University of Maine, celebrates a successful expedition on their Alpacka Raft packrafts to collect data near the Tempano Glacier. The team aims to understand how tidal dynamics affect glacial melting rates on the Southern Patagonia Icefield.

Photo Credit: Fernando Iglesias | Raul with CONAF, University of Maine & RRCS team
Photo Credit: Fernando Iglesias | Raul reviewing samples
Photo Credit: Fernando Iglesias | Raul inflating his packraft in the field

Students from Round River Conservation Studies bring their Alpacka Raft to a school’s “Career Day” event, talking with students in Chilean Patagonia about exciting new methods to conduct field research.

Photo Credit: Shalynn Pack | School visits and learning sessions

Youth from the 60-person village of Puerto Eden in Chile’s remote and wild Southern Patagonian fjords, celebrate a successful packrafting and kayak workshop hosted by Round River Conservation Studies and the Chilean Navy.

Photo Credit: Shalynn Pack | Puerto Eden Packrafting and Kayak Class
Photo Credit: Shalynn Pack | Warmup drills
Photo Credit: Shalynn Pack | A quick learner

After completing their first workshop, students from the village of Puerto Eden in Chile’s Southern Patagonian fjords plant cypress trees in front of the local school. These cypress trees (Pilgerodendron uviferum) are endemic to wild southern Chilean Patagonia and a cultural symbol, as local towns, boardwalks, and fishing boats have historically been built from this tree.

Photo Credit: Adam Spencer | After Class Tree Planting

Paddlers from Round River Conservation Studies use their Alpacka Raft packrafts to explore an inland lake near the Southern Patagonia Icefield, as part of efforts to document the biodiversity in this remote and understudied region.

Photo Credit: Adam Spencer | Puerto Eden on Panchotev Lake
Photo Credit: Adam Spencer | Fun while documenting the biodiversity in this remote and understudied region
Photo Credit: Adam Spencer | Taking it all in

Interested in learning more about Round River Conservation Studies? Check out their website and to learn more.