Creating a strong network of ecologists in which to exchange information and seeds—Mike Morgan.


May 29, 2004

Hey Peter,
I’m feeling much better!

Here is the week in review for May 24th thru the 29th.

Monday we started the barbed wire fencing at Jorge Lomas Canal.  We accomplished an amazing amount in one day, thanks to the help of two very enthusiastic sojourners from the USA.  Wes and Zan had been staying in Bahía since the previous Thursday. (I had met them in Canoa previously.)  They were passing through on their way south and offered to help out while in town.  In Bevan’s absence I embraced this serendipitous event and put them to work. They volunteered a couple days in the field and helped out around the house on the weekend.  Besides the manual labor they also offered music making and good conversation. I thank them both for their hard work and companionship.

Tuesday I was sick and slept the entire day.  Bevan took care of me.  I’m quite the invalid when I’m not feeling well.

There have been several cases of dengue in Bahía recently (including Laurita, Tanya’s daughter).  I had been running a fever off and on since Monday and therefore decided to take a trip to the emergency room of the hospital and get checked out by a doctor.  Fortunately, my blood test results were negative for dengue and by Tuesday evening I was feeling much better.

Wednesday morning consisted of running errands and preparation for our trip to Guayaquil that afternoon.  Not much more to say.

We arrived at Cerro Blanco in the late evening where a volunteer greeted us. Mike Morgan had arranged housing for us in a guesthouse.

Thursday we started early and got the grand tour.  Mike and his staff accompanied us through each of their projects.  Throughout the day we swapped information and restoration tips.  Mike is extremely knowledgeable and took time to answer all my questions.  He showed us all the methods they are implementing for irrigation at site, erosion control techniques using native plants, and the fencing he uses to deter animals from eating his plants.  As I mentioned in a previous email, they use a cylinder heavy mesh to surround individual plants, which I feel is more feasible for certain sites.

I know Mike takes the time to read my reports…Again I would like to extend my gratitude to Eric, Mike and all the volunteers at Cerro Blanco for their hospitality and support.  I feel it is crucial in our line of work to keep communication flowing and create a strong network of ecologists in which to exchange information and seeds!

Friday we headed back to Jorge Lomas Canal to finish the barbed wire fence. Two interesting things occurred this morning.  When we arrived at the site there was a burro tethered to our recently constructed fence.  The burro had actually slipped through the fence (it still needed another two rows of wire to be complete) and knocked a couple of the poles loose.  The good news is that it did not eat any of our plants!  I untied the burro and walked him to another area outside of the site.

Following this episode, shortly after we finished the fence, we were approached by a man who claimed to live in the area and said that we were on his friend’s property without permission.  He was very vague.  He won’t say where his friend lives or his name.  We explained to him several times that we had spoken to all the nearby residents both before we started planting in the area and before we started constructing the fence.  He wasn’t very responsive or threatening, he just stood there staring at us.  So we finished what we were doing and left.

Here is what perplexes me.  I was under the impression that we were on public property and that we were asked by the municipality to plant at this location.  From Brian’s instructions I gathered that we need to make a contract only when we restore private property such as the dairy farm.  That afternoon we went to see the architect that is working on the construction of the canal who had instructed us (Brian and myself) as to were it would be safe to plant.  He corrected my misunderstanding and stated that the land was indeed private and that if the owner did not want us there we would have to stop working there!  I do not understand why Brian did not formulate a contract with the landowners BEFORE we started planting on this site.  What is the proper procedure?

After the architect we went to the hardware store to pick up supplies.  The fencing material that I had hoped to use to construct the individual plant cages cost over 50 dollars for thirty meters!  I’m at a loss.  This means is would cost nearly 2$ to protect each plant!

Although it was a frustrating day I managed to end it on a more positive note. I fixed two leaky faucets and cleaned out the bathroom sink drain.  I’m happy to report that we are no longer contributing to frivolous water waste via inefficient plumbing! And that one can now brush teeth without the bathroom sink overflowing.

I spent the remainder of Friday writing back to potential volunteers.  We have over twenty people that are currently applying!  This carried over into Saturday as I took my time to organize all the correspondence and computer files. Saturday we also cleaned the apartment and applied the anti-termite solution.  I’m sorry to say that it only left an awful smell which the termites don’t seem to mind.

I will send the latest volunteer schedule before you leave should there be any additions.  What time should we expect you on the 7th?  I generally make the work schedule for the week on Mondays.  Should I leave Wednesday completely free for us to meet?

Bevan and I have to go to Manta on Monday to have our passports renewed.



Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply