Global Forum on Forests and Technologies

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Tech Matter’s Terraso team was absolutely thrilled to participate in Reforestamos’ 2023 virtual Global Forum on Forests and Technologies. Picture this: Two days packed with insights and inspiration from experts hailing from diverse fields, united by a shared passion for conserving our environment and the wonders of technology.

On the first day, the focus was on two key themes: integrating technology for mapping and monitoring natural resources, and the innovative initiatives propelling ecosystem conservation. Day two took us even deeper into the area of technology’s impact, especially in the realm of forestry research and its diverse applications in optimizing and conserving our forests.

Hana Lee, Terraso’s Principal UX Designer, and I (Terraso’s Program Manager) had the exciting opportunity to be right at the heart of the action for the forum, staying in Mexico City, the home base of Reforestamos. Following the conclusion of the forum, Hana and I led an in-person workshop sponsored and hosted by Reforestamos, speaking further with the attendees about Tech Matters’ work and how technology fits into forestry entrepreneurship.

A picture of high school students working on a story map during the workshop
Amaya and Hana smiling at the camera during the workshop.
Workshop participants watching the presentation.

We kicked things off by introducing workshop participants to the mysteries of the Agile methodology. What it is, what it means, and how it works. We took attendees on a journey through the real-life workings of the Terraso team, demonstrating how Agile is the backbone of our operations and showcasing the technology tools we rely on to make sure feature development is as efficient and effective as possible.

We presented User-Centered Design (UCD), explaining the principles of the approach and, most importantly, how it’s embedded in every action the Terraso team takes. Then came the showstopper – a live demo of the Terraso Platform, with a special focus on the new story mapping feature.

A photograph of Hana presenting.
A photo of Amaya in conversation with two workshop participants.

Of course the participants weren’t allowed to just watch; they dove headfirst into the action. In the final hour of the session, everyone rolled up their sleeves, fired up Terraso, and created awe-inspiring story maps to introduce their projects and work. The enthusiasm was palpable, and it was exciting how swiftly they wove compelling narratives using the story mapping tool. Hana and I were downright impressed!

Unfortunately, time was a bit of a spoilsport, and only three story maps could take center stage. But fear not, dear reader, all the story maps are published and we urge you to check them out because each is a gem!

A high school student presenting his group's story map during the workshop.
A  photo of a woman presenting her story map during the workshop.
A man presents his story map during the workshop.

Making the participation in the forum and workshop even more special for both Hana and me was the fact that this trip marked the very first time that anyone on the Terraso team had the chance to meet the Reforestamos crew in person. It was like a heartwarming family reunion, long overdue and oh-so-welcome.

Reforestamos played the perfect hosts, treating us to a tour of their stunning office in Mexico City and introducing us to team members we’ve only known virtually.

After the tour, it was time to celebrate the culmination of a wildly successful forum and workshop. What better way to do it than by indulging in traditional Mexico City fare?! We were introduced to the wonders of “elote con salsa de grillo” – roasted corn served with a smoky and very spicy salsa that had a bit of a surprise element: crickets! As the night rolled on, smiles abounded, laughter echoed, and our already strong co-design partnership began to morph into an equally strong friendship.

Hana and two members of the Reforestamos team smile at the camera while making hearts with their fingers.
A group photo of Amaya, Hana and the Reforestamos team in front of a Reforestamos sign at their office.
Hana smiling and showing her corn with crickets.

The bonds formed during this unforgettable journey continue to strengthen, and the Terraso and Reforestamos teams remain as close as ever. In fact, the forum and workshop were such a roaring success that we have been invited to return and deliver a similar talk at The Polytechnic University of Atlautla in the state of Mexico in late October. We can’t wait to see where this extraordinary partnership leads us next! Stay tuned for more adventures in the world of technology, conservation, and in-person meetings.


  • Amaya Webster

    Amaya is a tech-for-good geek with more than a decade of experience. Prior to joining Tech Matters, Amaya worked at Benetech creating software-for-good as the project manager for their R&D initiative, and the community and marketing manager for their work on digital accessibility of STEM educational materials. Amaya believes that there is little more rewarding than doing work which creates positive, sustainable impact. With degrees in anthropology, biology, and art, a career in tech may not have been the obvious choice, but she has found that her eclectic background lends itself particularly well to the tech-for-good field—especially when it comes to user-centric product design, research, and creative approaches to problem solving and strategy design.

Global Forum on Forests and Technologies
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