History of Service

Agroecology Maize Project

About Us


Corp. Charter





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Founded 1980

Amaterra is a not-for-profit charitable organization that emphasizes community and the intrinsic value of the Earth. Our "micro grants"support education and research projects that focus on the preservation and improvement of our natural resources.


From the beginning, in 1980, Amaterra sponsored many field trips, weekend camping, and treks with nature interpreters that were held for families of the small Arizona membership. The majority of our current Board of Directors, thirty-five years later, are able to look back to their own experiences in these early activities: a phenomenal longevity of involvement. In 1985 came the first expansion of our activities to be more service-oriented  as we began our caretaking and nature studies at Sand Canyon Pueblo, in Colorado. This was our longest-lived service project; spanning eight years. Three more regional projects were completed by 2001. That year, a second expansion of Amaterra began as we went "international" and added  projects including two grants in Mexico. Over the last fourteen years we have added a number international projects, including Burma, Thailand, and Africa. We have reached many other countries with our three-year support of Water for People.  Today, these international projects account for one-third of all our projects.Details of our entire history of service, including photos, are posted on this website. In addition to all this, for  ten years, we published  "Earthcare:" a unique journal of original environmental essays, poetry, and graphic arts: each one wrapped in a gift box.

I feel that, as difficult as it is, to "let go" of Amaterra, the passage of the "continuance" proposals this last February by the Board of Directors opens up unlimited possibilities. For me, this represents our third expansion: a  time not for closing our doors. Instead, it is a time for new vision, new creativity, new energy, Let by David Berger and a completely new Board of Directors. 

I wish to thank all the friends of Amaterra these last thirty-five years for the generous support they have provided.

--Roger Irwin, President and Founder of Amaterra

2015 Native Seeds/SEARCH

sunflower scarecrow

In 2015 Amaterra has provided a grant of $2000 to the Native Seeds/SEARCH Conservation Farm for improving and building new  infrastructure that will help their mission of seed conservation to a new level.

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2014 Native Seeds/SEARCH

seed sorting machineSEED CLIPPER CLEANER
During 2014 Amaterra is assisting in the purchase of a seed cleaner to make seed processing more efficient and to provide higher quality seed. Also we are supporting the improvement of water and energy conservation on the NSS Farm.

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2014 "Bees 101"

grade school class

Fascinating bees

     In 2014 a $5000 grant from Amaterra was given to support the work of apiarist Britt Hopper who teaches grade school classes about the importance of bees and the danger of honey bee colony collapse ("Bees 101") as he has done for hundreds of children in schools all over south-central Kansas.

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2012 Camp GLOW project

camp glow poster

In 2012 Amaterra provided a $1000 grant to Peace Corps Volunteers (PVSs) for a program empowering young women in Zambia, Africa. The program focuses on 8th grade school students.

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2013 Camp E.L.I.T.E.

In 2013 Amaterra provided a $1000 micro-grant to support Camp E.L.I.T.E., a leadership and empowerment program designed for young men aged 14-18. The camp focuses on eighth grade students in Zambia.

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earthcare logo

Our Gallery, "Earthcare", contains a collection of essays, poetry, graphic arts and links to other sites that have expanded our knowledge, caught our eye, caused us to think, and connected us to others over the years. These selections, from our our journal "Earthcare" were published from 1982 to 2009. We hope you enjoy.

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2015 Sabino Creek Restoration Campaign

In 2015 Amaterra provided $1000 for seed funding to support Watershed Management Group’s Sabino Creek Restoration Campaign launch.  The campaign’s goal is to restore habitat and surface flow to Sabino Creek, located downstream of Sabino Canyon, the most visited natural area in Tucson.


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2014 Yachats Public Library

children's libraryIn 2014 Amaterra provided a grant  of $1000 for the Children's Library program to create and offer a weekend children's program in conjunction with the local adult community celebration of Earth Day 2015. This grant will also enable the library programs to expand the children's envolvement with wider community resources.

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2014 Watershed Management

water basin

Water catchment basin

     In 2014 Amaterra provided a $1000 micro-grant that has been doubled, due matching funds, to Watershed Management Group, a Tucson based organization.

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2013 Native Seeds/SEARCH

jars of seeds In 2013 Amaterra provided $1000 for the production of the Seed Diaries; a project telling the stories of a sampling of 25 seeds from the NSS curated collection. Seeds and plant materials were photographed and sent along with information on each seed—origin, use, cultural importance, etc., to a university class of art students who contributed their talents to better tell the multi-layered story of seeds.

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Amaterra Agroecology
Maize Projects


Maize agriculture, its socio-cultural context, and the role of traditional knowledge is a special interest of Amaterra. During 2012-13 several maize project grants were given to improve and preserve the health, economy, and social well-being of families and communities.

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2013 ZEROWaste Project

In 2013 Amaterra provided $1000.00 to support the ZEROwaste project in Albuquerque, NM. The project introduces waste reduction and management concepts to participants at local community growers' market.

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2013 Washed Ashore Project

fish This project uses giant sea life sculpture made entirely of marine debris to teach children and adults how to help save our seas. A $1000 grant in 2013, arranged by Board member Joe Swaffar, helps develop educational materials for the classroom.

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2012 Native Seeds/SEARCH

glass bead corn

In 2012 we gave a $1000 grant to Native Seeds Search to pay for two months of curriculum development for their national Seed School.

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2013 Gerdemann Botanical Preserve and Garden

flowerIn 2013 Amaterra funded a $1,000 grant to the Gerdemann Botanical Preserve and Garden, located in Yachats, Oregon.

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he library