Global BJF team united and reset to take on upcoming challenges


The Black Jaguar Foundation is a global nature conservation foundation with offices in Amsterdam, Munich and Sao Paulo. The Black Jaguar Foundation pursues one clear objective: planting indigenous trees on a massive scale to help realize the Araguaia Biodiversity Corridor in Brazil, in order to improve the lives of each of us and of all future generations on our planet.

The Black Jaguar Foundation started in 2009, its initial goal making a unique documentary about the black jaguar in the wild – a dream of initiator Ben Valks. During his numerous expeditions it was not the black jaguar he encountered, but the drastically deforested Amazon. Inspired by the powerful documentary ‘HOME’ by Yann Arthus-Bertrand and its message that ‘we all have the power to change’, the BJF has expanded its mission. Instead of being the focus of the foundation, the black jaguar became its icon. It symbolizes the precarious future of the entire Amazon and Cerrado as well as the endangerment of our own species.


As a global organization the BJF is always on the outlook to professionalize and grow as a team as well as on personal levels. They share the philosophy of the-power-of-time-off  ‘your projects, your company can only grow if you grow’.  With Covid-19 clearing some space in schedules the BJF took this opportunity to reset and rebalance. As they know best, the forest never sleeps, so this time off was mixed with time on. This became a truly global virtual retreat, with team members from Brazil, Denmark, England, France, Scotland, Switzerland and the Netherlands, many of whom had never participated in a retreat before.


As a team BJF has emerged with a newfound respect for taking time to step back, and reconsider the actions that will help them move forward in their reforestation mission and in life. The results and feedback showed that the team felt more self-aware and more connected. Almost all felt they had learned new insights, techniques and exercises to integrate into daily life for easier rest and relaxation. In addition, they have also noted increased concentration and ability to manage stress, among so many other impacts. The global core team is now re-energized and ready to take on the coming challenges!


Here you can read some personal stories from BJF team-members around the world.

“The meditation was new for me and I thought that this would be nothing for me, but now after giving it a try, I realize this is something for me. After the meditations I even took two hours without television, phone, emails and I felt very good, very calm. Then after two hours I wanted to start working on our mission again! I am happy that we could take part in the online retreat with almost our whole team, located in various countries. I felt we were united.” Ben –  initiator of the Black Jaguar Foundation – Amsterdam

“The online retreat really helped me release stress during the covid crisis. It made me realize that, even if you are busy, you can take time off for reflection and for your physical and mental well-being and it will make a difference in your life.” Camila – lawyer of the Black Jaguar Foundation  – Sao Paulo

“The online retreat was an eye- and a soul opener for me.” Patrick – friend of the Black Jaguar Foundation – Zandvoort

“The combination of the meditation classes, the relevant lectures and the sessions in the morning just after waking up is what I valued a lot of this online retreat.” Francisco – account director of the Black Jaguar Foundation – Copenhagen

“I realized that even though I’m spending time on self-development, there is still so much to learn. I need to be more in touch with my physical self. It does not make sense to only focus on the mental-self, they are incorporated. There are two things I like to highlight; the kindness of which all the different sections were given really felt so safe and personal!; the mixture of retreat participants and also the various ‘teachers’! Super amazing!” Joël – community outreach coordinator of the Black Jaguar Foundation – Amsterdam