Ecuador Project Report: Heather Crawford, Jan.–July 2005

Heather Crawford, Field Project Manager 
Planet Drum Foundation  
March 15th to 20th, 2005

We are doing fine according to our timeline. The Dairy Farm site was planted three times this week with the help of Carlos Franco (son), Andrea (Renée’s friend), two traveling volunteers from Quito, and two workers from Bella Vista who came because of the meeting I had with the Municipio’s agronomist working on the Bella Vista model community project. That afternoon, we told them we needed help, and the next day two youngsters came knocking at our door at 7AM!

Due to all the help, we were able to accomplish more than expected this week. A local young man, Blas who was painted as a cheetah for the Eco-week parade, also helped out in the greenhouse. It needed some maintenance as farm animals were breaking in, so we fixed the back wall. We cleared out a few more plant beds, and began transplanting the cedro (cedar) saplings. The transfers look good so far, and trees both in the greenhouse and in the field have been perking up with the rains we’ve been having. 

We finished clearing the University site, and also cleared Cherry Tree and both Jorge Lomas sites. Inter-Americano Colegio has been cleared by the school staff. Endara  Farm site needed no clearing as it is pretty bare.

Vladir says the water heater Riccardo installed at the Genesis School as a Planet Drum model project is working out well so far.

I finally saw Cerro Seco Reserva this weekend. Apparently it’s closed for a few months because lots of animals, especially birds, are reproducing at this time. The trails were in pretty good shape nonetheless.  

Kristen Lansdale is coming this week to check things out and meet and discuss our new Bioregional Education Program with Renée before she leaves.

That’s all for now!

Heather Crawford, Field Project Manager 
Planet Drum Foundation  
March 21st to 27th, 2005

Hello Peter,

The new Bioregional Education Manager Kristen Lansdale’s visit went quite well. First she met with Renée and me to talk about how to get started with the education program and where to find resources. She also helped us plant trees at Inter-Americano Colegio, transplant seedlings at the greenhouse, and wash and cut plastic bottles from the university’s cafeteria. Her father helped out a bit too and took some digital photographs which he plans to send to us. Renée took them both on a tour of our revegetation sites. We got to know Kristen’s grandparents too, as we all went out for dinner at El Buen Sabor, where we ate on your last night here, followed by ice cream at Tropi-Helado.  

We hulled quite a few seeds this week, and labeled and dated the containers. We also got some new ones, cascol, from our walk with the community in Bella Vista barrio. We went there in order to get a sense of their plans for reforestation and offer some advice. Victor and Juan from that community also worked with us this week.

We cleared vegetation from El Bosque en Medio de Las Ruinas, the “wild park” in Maria Auxiliadora barrio, and relined trails with bricks and other debris from houses ruined by the earthquake. I gave Elva a quick visit on the way back down, and she says the Eco-Amigo kids have been asking her when they’re going to work with us again!  We also brought a big sack of waste paper from our office over to the Arte Papel group for recycling.

As far as my impressions of Cerro Seco Reserva near Bella Vista, I remarked to Marcelo how small the trees looked for being so old, and he said that they grow quite slowly in the dry tropical forest. It was interesting to see cactus mixed in with the forest, and to observe how the trees we are planting will look when they are grown. The vegetation was quite green and abundant, and I’m sure it will look completely different in the dry season. Since a lot of animals, especially birds, are reproducing at this time of year, Cerro Seco is closed to the general public for a few months.

I spent the Easter weekend in the highlands around Quito, and Renée went to Quito in order to meet a friend. 

More later, Heather

Two Linked Reports
Heather Crawford, Field Project Manager 
Planet Drum Foundation  
April 11 to 17 &  April 18 to 24, 2005  

April 11 to 17 
Well, it has definitely been raining this week! Saturday night there was an especially huge downpour. We will plant as long as the rains continue, but I am assuming not past April. Those plants which have been in the greenhouse since last rainy season I think we should donate to community groups if we can’t plant them all ourselves. Those saplings which we have recently transplanted I believe will make it through the dry season in the greenhouse. There is a good deal of space for sowing seeds thissummer.

This week we did a good deal of greenhouse maintenance – fixing seedbeds, greenhouse walls, and organizing the plants. We put up a chicken wire fence against the wall where the dogs were getting in. We also continued with transplanting cedar saplings.

We planted again at the Cherry Tree site, and attempted to do another planting at the Fernando site in Jorge Lomas but old man Salazar came out of his house ranting and raving and made us leave until we return with a copy of the permission convenio that was signed with neighboring Fernando’s family, plus a new one for him. I plan to do it so we can continue our work.

We cleared the old Jorge Lomas site, where we also collected passion fruit which had fallen ripe from the vine. 

In addition to the regulars – Jaime, Andrea, Kristen, Cheo – we also had help from Jorge, a friend of Blas’.


April 18 to 24

We planted trees at the Fernando site in Jorge Lomas, and at the Carlos Endara site. We have come to terms with old man Salazar (the other supposed owner of the Fernando site) for the time being. At the Endara site, we got some help from Dario, a nephew of Colombele (the tenant) who happened to be around. There are a lot of little trees naturally growing up there from the vegetation along the fence borders. After a few years, it may not be used for farming maize anymore.

We collected  about 100 seedling guayacans that we had taken out of the ground in Bella Vista Barrio and brought them to the greenhouse. We finished transplanting the cedros, and organized the greenhouse in labeled sections according to species. Kids from the Fanca Eco Club helped us make the signs. We did an inventory of the transplanted plants on Friday:

  • Guachapeli         110
  • Jaboncillo            22
  • Algarrobo             47
  • Ceibo                128
  • Guayacan             83
  • Laurel                  12
  • Cedro                 298
  • Colorado              35 (a lot are ready to be taken out of the seed beds as well)
  • Samango             183

On Earth Day, we did a beach cleanup and gave away trees (13 samango; 7 guachapeli) to passersby who had space at their houses to plant one.

Caitlin Donnovan arrived on Wednesday afternoon (after a very long bus delay due to the political protests that ousted the nation’s president) and has taken the back room. She will stay for two to three months. Kristen and Andrea are now sharing the front room. The next volunteer, Carley, will arrive on May 4th. 

Hasta el proximo!

Heather Crawford, Field Project Manager 
Planet Drum Foundation  
April 25 to May 2, 2005

Vladir wanted me to tell you that they tried out the water heater for the first time with the kids at Genesis School on Earth Day because they were all muddy from planting mangroves. The shower water had to be mixed with cold water in order to bring it to a comfortable temperature, so it is working well.

This week it was mainly Caitlin and I working. Blas came one day, and Jaime another. We transplanted mostly Colorados and some Ebonos, along with a few stragglers of other species. Since our repairs, no more break ins to the greenhouse so far.

We planted and cleared at the Cherry Tree site, where we found a beautiful matacaballo (local anaconda) snake in the lower branches of a small tree. It was quite large but not dangerous unless provoked. We think we found its hole in the ground. I had to clear up a misconception that Janela Acosta had. She thought Renee had told her that we would maintain her whole property free of weeds and regularly maintain it as if we were landscapers. She now understands that we do that as needed only for the trees that we have planted.   

We also planted and cleared the Dairy Farm site, and some cows escaped on us!  I am trying to get a hold of Carlos Franco to discuss this.

I went on the nightly “Cronica” talk show again at FB radio, and talked about the education program as well as our other activities.

I am not sure how much longer to continue planting since we are in the transition period from winter to summer. 

Hasta la proxima!

Heather Crawford, Field Project Manager 
Planet Drum Foundation  
May 2 to May 8, 2005

The climate has been changing already – more breeze and cooler nights, and no sunsets. 

This week we planted and cleared at Inter-Americano and the Cherry Tree site. The school children at the Inter-Americano should soon begin to water twice weekly. We also began planting the new site, which will be called Hidalgo, the owner’s last name. He says he will water the trees himself.  We transplanted more Colorados and continued turning the compost pile.

The Civil Defense Force would like to cooperate with Planet Drum to plant 150 trees along the road from km 8 going into Bahia. They want Guachapeli and Samango, which is good because we have a lot of those and they are good fast growing shade trees. 

Our new volunteer from Canada, Carley, arrived Wednesday night and is settling in quite well, in spite of not knowing any Spanish upon her arrival. She is learning fast and studying daily!  Blas, Jaime and Cheo each helped out a day. Riccardo came through and left for England on Sunday. He is thinking of coming back for part of the Bioregional Education Program.

We are still doing quite well with publicity, thanks to “Cronica”, the week night talk show. We don’t even have to be there and they talk about us!  This week Blas went on talking about how it is to volunteer with us, and also about the new education program. I attended the BEP informational meeting on Wednesday but I’m sure Kristen’s filling you in on that so I won’t go into details.

I got to organize the electronic seed bank information and will soon determine the next steps to take with that project.

We got a lot done around the house this week – fixing toilets, a new (old) oven, screens (thanks to Kristen’s dad) and working on flowerbeds. It looks like the toilet in the front bedroom may need to be completely replaced according to one of the plumber’s who came to look at it.

More later!


Heather Crawford, Field Project Manager 
Planet Drum Foundation  
Report: May 9 to 15, 2005

This week we finished transplanting the Colorados, Ebonos, and the Guachapelí and Samango stragglers that were big enough. We also did a lot of work with the compost pile. That was Caitlin´s special project. She completely turned the entire thing to aerate it, as it was lacking air. It is now well on its way to forming good compost. The finished side was also tended to – it was thoroughly weeded, and the fruit trees which had come up were transplanted. The finished compost was then transferred to the storage area under the tarp. In addition, repairs began on the small planting beds outside the greenhouse.

We planted again at the new site in km 4 (Hidalgo), and planted a few trees at the Eloy Alfaro High School down the street from Bosque en Medio de la Ruinas, with the help of students and the ecology teacher. The make their own compost there and had made biodegradable paper bags for planting.

A lot of house maintenance also got done, including the painting of a wall, and the sanding and varnishing of shelves in the kitchen.

Andrea came back to volunteer with us for the latter half of the week after a two week absence (which she had advised me of). Blas volunteered one day.

More later!

Heather Crawford, Field Project Manager 
Planet Drum Foundation  
Report May 16-22, 2005

I let the Civil Defense Force know that we are willing to work with them on the tree planting project, and am awaiting a response. 

It rained a few days this week. I spoke with Carlos Franco about fencing on the Dairy Farm and he is placing the final gate which will complete the proper fencing required (shoulder high barbed wire). Carlos Endara, Cherry Tree, Inter-Americano and the Hidalgo sites are also fenced with barbed wire. I will have to look into the Fernando site as there is currently no fencing. 

This week we worked in El Bosque – maintained trails a bit, fixed handrails and placed a few new ones, fixed steps and leveled trail where needed, replaced missing signs. 

We worked in the vivero (greenhouse) transplanting many Colorados, turning compost (as usual), continued fixing plant beds and weeding. We also cleared the University site. We are actively collecting plastic bottles, and our biggest source is the Depto. De Higiene (Sanitation Department), which has started to separate them from the trash they pick up. 

We helped in the building of a vivero for mangroves at the Universidad Tecnica, and went on a tour through their mangrove forest. Dr. Acosta at the UC expressed interest in PDF doing mangrove planting projects. 

We continued with the house maintenance – painting, organization and inventory of tool cupboard, making of a garden area downstairs. 

Seed bank – This weekend we went to see Mike Morgan, his nursery and to visit Cerro Blanco. We received 3 types of seeds from him, and collected a fourth on our own. I also picked out which species we need more information on in order to continue research. 

Hasta la proxima! 

Heather Crawford, Field Project Manager 
Planet Drum Foundation  
Report May 23-29, 2005

This week we prepared and maintained seedbeds in the greenhouse, and kept up the regular activities of watering, transplanting, cutting bottles to make insect guards, and composting. The BEP (Bioregional Education Project)  class also helped us out one afternoon, and sowed laurel, compoyo and guasmo seeds. We have an arrangement with the Dept. de Hygiene now to collect the city’s plastic bottles from them.

Also quite exciting was finding a coiled up matacaballo snake under the tarp that covers the compost. Carley found it just after telling us about a dream she had had a few nights before about a snake attacking her, which looked exactly like the snake at the greenhouse!  It was injured and part of its tail was missing and bloody.

Here is the greenhouse inventory taken on May 23rd:

Guayacan                    64

Cedro                       178

Algarrobo                    12

Colorado                   243

Ceibo                         97

Seca                            1

Papaya                       22

Ebono                        71

Jaboncillo                    8

Mamey                       16

Samango                   150

Guachapeli                144

The Civil Defense Captain said that they are not ready for the trees yet to plant along the highway since they haven’t organized anything. So it looks like it may not happen this rainy season.

I’ve talked to the property owners at the Jorge Lomas/Fernando site about fencing and they are fine with it. I bought a hole digger and am in the process of looking around for stakes. We can start off using the barbed wire we already have in the bodega.

We maintained trails in the Bosque, mostly weeding, and I took the mayor and his assistant, Teddy, there on Friday afternoon. He said he had no idea it was up there and seemed pleased with the visit. We walked all the way over to the bamboo house that is at the top of the park and met the people that live there.

I’m trying to get some new sites for next year and have a lead on one behind Interamericano School. It belongs to the Mayor’s wife, Maria Piedad.

We maintained the three sites in Ciudadela Maria Dolores (km 8), i.e. Endara, Cherry Tree and Dairy Farm. The trees at the Endara site look superb and have grown much more than at the other sites. I think it’s because the water level is near the surface.

That’s all for now!  Happy World Environment Week!  (We had a meeting at our house last week to plan the activities that will take place in observance of Environment Week.) Heather

Heather Crawford, Field Project Manager 
Planet Drum Foundation  
Report May 30-June 5, 2005

Volunteer situation:  Hannah and Montana arrived on Wednesday night, and Jackie on Saturday night. They will be staying through the summer, except Montana, who leaves mid-July. He is staying at the Bahia B&B. (Hannah was actually one of students in the group I led in a previous job to Costa Rica for the Experiment in International Living.)  We now have 6 people living in the house. Two brothers come for two weeks in July and will also stay at the B&B. In August there will be new volunteers coming on the heels of those who leave so I expect the house to remain full until October. I revised and updated the contents of the Volunteer Manual.

Fencing:  Afran Hidalgo, the property owner of our km 4 site, also sells wood. He will get me as many moyuyo posts as I need for $1 each. We may be able to get two posts from one as they are quite tall. I am thinking of doing individual fences around the trees in the ditch at the Cherry Tree site using scrap wood that we have in the bodega. The barbed wire I would use for a ditch at the Dairy Farm, and also the entrances to the Fernando site.

Watering:  Trip Martin says we can have whatever bamboo is left over from the dock complex construction within the next month in order to make more watering pipes. It turns out we were using the wrong technique with that. I discovered after a trip to the Bella Vista revegetation area (I’ve been up there a few times, including with the mayor), that you’re only supposed to make a small hole with a nail to perforate the membrane inside the bamboo stalk so that water slowly trickles down and the soil stays moist. We had been removing the entire membrane so the water shoots straight down. The plants are not showing any signs of lacking water yet and look quite healthy.

New sites:  Maria Piedad is having her site cleared before we come to visit, which should be this week. Plan to plant the Leonidas Plaza site on Thursday.

Week’s Activities:  Caitlin was intensely sick last weekend and so was not able to work a few days this week. She did some research for the Seed Bank though. I took her around to the doctor, hospital, etc. It turns out she had a mystery virus which hit hard and then left.

Carley made a no littering sign in Spanish using scrap wood and paint, which was put up by the greenhouse as the Universidad Catolica footballers always leave their trash behind. The University had a minga (community workday) for Environment Week, which we also helped out with – clearing the underbrush and putting it in a large hole, which happens to make it easy to collect for our composting purposes. We watered, continued fixing the seed beds,  removing dead plants and prepared plastic bottles for transplanting later on. The compoyo seeds planted by the Bioregional Education Program have started to come up already!

The minga (community workday) in El Bosque was successful. We had participation from 2 schools, the Defensa Civil, Maria Auxiliadora,  and Bella Vista communities, and the BEP students. After an introductory talk, we cleared trails, picked up the garbage at the bottom entrance (which still has open dumps on either side), planted trees and made benches from wood donated from a lumberyard. They are located on the summit and under the big Poinciana / flamboyant tree (by the “ceibo inmaduro” sign). We did not remove dead wood from the forest because we thought efforts would be better spent otherwise.

Hasta luego!


Heather Crawford, Field Project Manager 
Planet Drum Foundation  
Report June 6-12, 2005

Aside from the usual greenhouse activities (watering, composting, clearing out dead plants, organizing), we did a lot of structural maintenance as dogs had broken in. We reinforced certain sections with wooden posts and/or chicken wire. Also continued fixing the seed beds. We put up plant label signs for the seeds that the Bioregional Education Program had sowed, and remounted the Planet Drum sign. We got more bottles for transplanting from somebody who had been storing them at his house and was glad to be rid of them.

We further maintained the trails in El Bosque by fixing more steps and handrails. (Clearing dead wood is being done this coming week.)  We made a rope fence at the bottom of the first entrance between the houses, in order to make the path more obvious from the street. We also added compost and water to the trees planted during the minga (community workday) during World Environment Week. I saw a beautiful big mot-mot bird there!  Jackie, our newest volunteer, and I went on Radio FB to talk about recent improvements to El Bosque and to invite the public to visit.

We watered and maintained the Cherry Tree site, Dairy Farm and Inter-Americano Colegio sites. Talked to Carlos Franco about keeping animals out of the Dairy Farm planted area and he plans to reinforce the fencing (in addition to the fencing that Planet Drum will do). We started putting individual fencing around the trees at the Cherry Tree site using scrap wood, with chicken wire to be added later. So far, no signs of animals there though.

The kids at Inter-Americano will soon begin helping us water. I gave Dr. Sanchez a map of the planted area so they could find all the trees, which are also well marked. He offered us sandwiches and drinks from the school cafeteria…awww…..We planted a new site near the football field in Cristo Consuelo, Leonidas Plaza, and constructed individual fences around each tree. Marta, who lives in front of the field, helped us and plans to water weekly. 

More later!


Heather Crawford, Field Project Manager 
Planet Drum Foundation  
Report June 20-25, 2005

Angel and Pablo from Maria Auxilidora stopped by to discuss their idea of fixing up El Bosque with bamboo handrails and steps, and making two miradores. I guess they’ve been inspired by Bella Vista. 

We painted and punched holes in the bamboo watering pipes, and installed them at the three km 8 sites. 

We did not water at Endara as there was no water in the cistern and the plants look the best out of all the sites.. We did water Cherry Tree and Dairy Farm. We put the fish netting over the individually fenced plants around the ditch at the Cherry Tree site as well. 

We kept up the greenhouse chores. The compost is working really well now that Caitlin’s been fine tuning it. We have two mounds above ground in one half of the compost  hole, which gives it more air. We have also been insulating it with grass to keep it warmer.

We went to Rio Muchacho as Nicola invited us, and learned a lot about permaculture, utilizing waste, and the area history in general. They are starting to provide weekly organic food baskets, which we will try out this week. 

Well, that’s all for now. Sorry my report wasn’t that long but most of our work this week was with the pipes, which is hard work but not terribly exciting!

Hasta luego, 

Heather Crawford, Field Project Manager 
Planet Drum Foundation  
Report July 4-10, 2005

This week we watered and finished installing pipes at the Dairy Farm and Cherry Tree sites. So far no problems with insects or animals at Cherry Tree, and the trees look healthy. There is a world of a difference in growth between the trees planted just 2 months earlier in the rainy season, and those planted later. Dairy Farm fencing is being reinforced by the owner, and we will fill in any gaps so to speak.

No more break ins at the greenhouse since our last job of reinforcing it. We used some of the logs left over from cutting down all those neem trees as the base, and used scrap wood from the bodega as stakes. We transplanted more trees from baggies to bottles, mainly cedros and ceibos.

We installed pipes at Jorge Lomas Fernando site and watered. Of all the new sites, the trees look the best there, probably from the shade and elevation (more moisture). The Jorge Lomas Casas site was checked and caterpillars have been eating the leaves of the guachapelis. I assume the leaves will come back once the caterpillars move on to the next stage in their life cycle. 

There were two days out of the week that we could not travel to any of the sites as there was no transportation due to the Manabi strike. We did, however, maintain El Bosque en Medio de Las Ruinas – steps, handrails, tree watering, garbage removal. Unfortunately the wood from the benches on the summit was also stolen, so now we have no more benches.

Nicola decided to leave early due to personal reasons, but we had help from a friend of hers and from Jaime as well this past week. We have four short-term volunteers arriving this coming week. Two will stay in the house and two in the hostal. The new low flush  toilet has been installed.

The newspaper article based on my interview about our work here came out this weekend and I have saved a copy for our files.  

Hasta luego!


Heather Crawford, Field Project Manager 
Planet Drum Foundation  
Report July 11-15, 2005

We’ve been having some beautiful weather recently, interspersed with the gray skies and misty air.

All four volunteers arrived, two on Monday and two on Thursday night. Together with Jackie and Carley there are now 6 volunteers. After another week, we will be down to 4.

We spent time at the greenhouse transplanting trees from baggies to bottles, repairing one of the outside seedbeds, and putting up a bamboo fence attached to the football field side of the greenhouse. The bamboo came from the very goal posts of the football field! They were given to us by Horacio, the Head of Maintenance, because the bamboo was old and he didn’t want them playing football there anyway for the time being. We also sowed seeds – cedro, guachapeli and guachapeli balnco, palo de vaca, amarillo and colorado. The seeds were old (from last year) so if they don’t germinate, we will plant fresher seeds on top. One of the compost piles is nearly ready to be transferred to the compost storage area.

We watered needy trees at Jorge Lomas Casas, and found little mammals living in some of the pipes! They look like they could be possums? We also watered all three km 8 sites, and filled in where the kids may have neglected at Inter-Americano. Most trees are surviving at all the sites.

Two of the trees that we planted around the football field in Leonidas Plaza were replaced upon request because they had died. They continue to be watered by the family there.

The bodega downstairs was completely cleaned out and reorganized, and we found quite a few goodies in the process!  Such as a few chairs, a hammock, paint scapers, a surf board case, etc. We filled in the tree ID chart on the wall, complete with drawings, and did some other home improvements.

Jackie and I visited Fundacion Futuro’s new greenhouse in between San Vicente and Canoa. We learned a lot from them and got some seeds (cedro amargo, marañon, manglario) as well. They were very helpful and are willing to collaborate with us in the Seed Bank project, although we still have to talk more about it.

I also went to a greenhouse inland from Canoa to see some cedros that the owner is donating to whoever will have them. We may take some back to our greenhouse when the municipio goes to pick up theirs.

Planet Drum was also part of a crew which released a green sea turtle that had been kept in captivity for months at the Universidad Tecnica. It had been rescued from fishermen who would have killed it, but it was being kept in such terrible conditions and for way too long at the university that it probably would have died anyway had Johnny Delgado not been convinced to agree to let it go. 

Talk to you later,

Heather Crawford, Field Project Manager 
Planet Drum Foundation  
Report July 16-22, 2005

The two brothers who were here short term left midway through the week, and the two Canadian girls, Jenny and Elisabeth, moved in. They will be here a month, till mid-August. They are friends of a past volunteer. Now we have 5 people in the house including me. Carley leaves at the end of the month and Jackie in mid-August. We have more volunteers lined up to come starting mid-August.

This week in the greenhouse we finished repairing the outside seedbed which we had worked on last week, and began repairing the one under the moyuyo tree. We continued transplanting from baggies to bottles, and started taking out the compoyo seedlings which had come up. We moved finished compost from one of the piles for storage under the tarp. Our piles are composting really fast now due to the above-ground method and doing smaller piles so they get more aeration. I watered the few trees that needed it on the lower slope of the Universidad Catolica site. We received 102 cedro amargo trees from a greenhouse near Canoa. They had so many they didn’t know what to do with them all and were looking to give them away. Afranio from the Depto. de Riesgo was our link to the trees and the municipio provided the transport to get them to our greenhouse. I helped them offload theirs at the Fanca greenhouse too. I collected some barbasco and algarrobo seeds for sowing last weekend from the Machalilla area. Below is the greenhouse inventory on July 19th (before we received the extra cedros):

algarrobo                      13

colorado                      102

cedro                           135

ceibo                           120

guachapeli                    114

jaboncillo                        4

guayacan                      152

mamey colorado             15

samango                       132

We watered all three km 8 sites, and El Bosque. We got help in El Bosque from a kid who happened to be wandering around in there.

We also constructed a fence at the Dairy Farm going across a ditch near the entrance. It was the only non-fenced area that we had planted.

We’ve been continuing on the house improvements – getting things fixed and organized. There is now a hammock hanging in the patio area in the back – a prize from cleaning out the bodega last week! 


Heather Crawford, Field Project Manager 
Planet Drum Foundation  
Report July 23-31, 2005

We’ve been getting slight sprinkles here but no rain to speak of. The plants are hanging on, but I can tell they’ll need more water as the dry season progresses. Some have lost their leaves but I am assuming it is because they are naturally deciduous, being native to the dry tropical forest. The ceibos and algarrobos are doing the best, and the colorados the worst.

There is enough water in the various cisterns we draw from for now.

We watered all the main sites – El Bosque, Universidad Catolica, Ciudadela Maria Dolores (km 8) sites, Inter-Americano and both Jorge Lomas sites.  The trees in El Bosque aren’t doing as well as the rest since they were planted in the dry season aspart of that minga we had for World Environment Week. Also, the grass on the hilltop had been burned down and our trees (3) went with it. The trash problem at the lower entrance persists, but we do a cleanup every time we go.  

We installed more watering pipes at the Fernando site, and will have to pitch in for donkey loads of water that are carried up there to keep it full.

The greenhouse is doing well. We finished fixing the last outdoor seed bed, transferred more trees from bags to bottles and sowed some chirimoya seeds. The compost piles are quite warm inside, meaning that they are breaking down fast. 

As far as new sites go, Dr. Sanchez at the Inter-Americano would like us to plant a new section of the hill in the winter and I saw a small property on a hill in the middle of Jorge Lomas, less than a hectare, but it is a barren hillside. The owner said he would like it planted in the dry season but that his employees will water the trees everyday. I didn’t say yes to him because it is like his backyard and is not very big. What do you think?

I had a meeting with Juan Carlos from the San Vicente-based Fundacion Futuro, who is willing to collaborate on the Seed Bank project. We are going to compile the info we have in a table and send to him to fill in the gaps. We think the project name should be changed to reflect the project more accurately, as “Seed Bank” gives the impression of constructing a seed storage facility.

Three of our volunteers will be leaving this coming week, which leaves myself and Jackie. The next volunteer arrives in Ecuador August 10th. By the end of August, we will be full again.

Take care, 

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