Ramon’s Weekly Report #2
Summer Session, 2008
May 7, 8, 9, 2008
We met in the park as is customary and with the help of Raisa and Roberto, began to study the newly-revised Bioregionalismo booklets. The first topic was the different characteristics of a bioregion. The students split into groups and I asked them questions about what constitutes a bioregion. Carlos said soil and landscape, Joao said watersheds, and Susy said the mountains, plants and animals.
Then the students wrote answers to questions in the workbooks.
I was surprised when most of the students could not even describe the differences in climate between the wet season to the dry season. So I began to ask them questions about when vegetation changes color, they answered: around the New Year, because it rains a lot and gets hotter. I asked them when is it that they go on vacation. They said: January, February, March, and April. I explained that those were the months that it rains, it’s the winter, and that during the drier and cooler months, it’s the summer.
They also didn’t know the difference between native and non-native plant species. Taking examples of trees from the park where were seated, I explained the difference between a Ceibo tree (common native) and the Neem tree (common introduced species). We talked about some of the native birds and animals in the area as well.
Thursday there was a public workshop on environmental education that was held in Bahia. Raisa and Roberto decided that they wanted to give a presentation at the workshop, so Clay helped them get together pictures from previous classes of the kind of work we do in our classes. The workshop was held in the auditorium of the Museum of the Banco Central.
They introduced themselves as volunteers who are participating in the program of Bioregionalismo. Then they showed slides of the activities we do and how we work.
The Minister of the Environment, Minister of Education, Supervisors of Education, Representatives from the Municipio of Riobamba and facilitators from Quito were present in the audience.
The presentation was excellent and they received congratulations from everyone and were invited to participate in the events of the day.
On Friday we went on a hike to the Bellavista community and visited a vantage point of the region, the lookout (mirador) at Bellavista.
Along the way we spotted Laurel trees, which were flowering, giant Ceibos, and also passed birds and baby Guayacan trees. We also identified types of soil in exposed areas of the ground. We distinguished the humus layer by its coloration and I explained that that is because of the nutrients it contains.
We read a translated article by Peter Berg in our workbooks which discusses how industrialization has led to pollution of the planet, the history of how Bahia declared itself an Ecocity, the ecological impact the shrimp industry has had on the estuary, and how we must participate in the restoration of our bioregion.
Translated by Clay.