Collaborations: Students, Electric Company, Provincial Reforestation Efforts

December 6th, 2014 – March 17th, 2015

Field Report

It’s been an odd rainy season so far, drier than normal.  In January it hardly rained at all, and in February it only rained towards the end of the month.  Finally, now in March it’s raining a little more.  As of early February, only 20% of farmers in the province had planted anything at all, which is totally unprecedented. Hopefully the delayed, relatively weak rainy season will have enough juice to go through the rest of March and into April, which would help both regional farmers and Planet Drum’s tree planting revegetation efforts. The most recent rains have been critical so that the trees that we’ve been planting can take root.

There has been a steady flow of volunteers and interns in the past few months and despite the lack of rains, Planet Drum’s revegetation efforts continue to be strong. We are distributing trees through various outlets to ensure that the more than 10,000 trees produced in 2014 get delivered to as many different communities, landowners, and alliance organizations as possible.

Outside of Bahia, trees have been distributed to the San Vicente Municipality, Peñon del Sol Nature Reserve in San Clemente, San Miguel de Briceño, and San Isidro. Within Bahia we’ve delivered trees to the neighborhoods of  El Astillero, Km 8, and La Cruz.

The National Electric Company has been working with Planet Drum in the distribution of trees as part of their ‘Electric Tree’ program. They have already delivered and planted over 2,000 trees in 23 different communities throughout the Manabí province.

Planet Drum is now officially one of the National Electric Company’s regional contracts and their contractors are obligated to deliver and oversee the planting of our fruit trees in the communities where they implement new electrical infrastructure. This year, the plan is to distribute more than 4,500 native fruit trees to 1,500 different families. Several ceremonies were held at the greenhouse to commemorate the collaboration.  All of the contractors came to sign documents, deliver recycled plastic bottles to the greenhouse, and pick up trees that they will distribute and plant.

Planet Drum is also planting trees at revegetation sites in and around Bahia, including the hillside below La Cruz, behind the University Catolica, and in El Bosque en Medio de las Ruinas park, and in the Rio Muchacho community. We had an amazing morning of tree planting with students from the Montufar school in the Bosque en Medio de las Ruinas. The children were really excited to be out planting trees and we planted more than 150 trees with nearly 30 children in one morning!

There have been a variety of other community and educational activities along with the revegetation activities. Several workshops have been held at the greenhouse with the Montufar and Fanny de Baird Schools and the Universidad Catolica. A presentation was given to city officials, community members, and farmers in San Vicente, and a lecture on bioregionalism and native plant revegetation was given to students at the University Catolica.

The Provincial government set a goal to plant hundreds of thousands of trees with schools, government institutions, and private residents on February 21st. This Provincial Reforestation effort was coordinated by the Corporacion for Reforestation of  Manabi and  Planet Drum provided them  approximately 1,500 trees.  It was exciting to see reforestation efforts getting so much publicity, and Planet Drum was happy to participate in the project.

February 23rd was the 16th anniversary of the declaration of Bahía de Caráquez as an ecological city. A ceremony was held in the Municipal Theater, followed by an open house in the street in front of the Municipality. Leann and Laura, two of Planet Drum’s interns, helped design a pamphlet about the ecocity and bioregional activities. A digital version is available here: 

Looking ahead, we will be continuing tree production at the greenhouse as well as plantings at field sites in various local communities, and distributing trees to the Electric Company and various other revegetation participants. There’s always more to do.

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