Ecuador Project Reports: Heather Crawford, Aug.-Nov. 2005

Heather Crawford, Field Project Manager 
Planet Drum Foundation  
Report August 1-7, 2005

Well, this week the house went from being full to empty as we had the three Canadians leave on one day. Now it’s just Jackie and me until David gets here next week, which is Jackie’s last. She has been sick with a stomach virus type thing and wasn’t able to work for a few days. It will be just David and me till the end of August, when an Australian couple arrives, and then 3 more volunteers by mid-September. I will be able to get help from some local volunteers if needed.

Last week we watered the Universidad Catolica, the 3 Maria Dolores sites, both Jorge Lomas sites and El Bosque. We also installed the rest of the watering pipes we had prepared at the Fernando site. That day we had help from Carley’s brother, Ajay, who was visiting for a few days.

I collected seca seeds from a friend’s property way down the coast past Punta Gorda (which is past Punta Bellaca). They are drying outside now. Also, the owner of a nearby soda bar rode by our house this weekend offering plastic bottles for transplanting. I picked up two rice sacks worth. We will be getting more from the Dept. of Hygiene and continue to collect from the U.C. cafeteria too.

We are in the process of adding all the new information we got for the Seed Bank into the excel table, which will then be translated and sent to Juan Carlos of Funadcion Futuro.

More improvements were made to the house – the small wall surrounding the window panes behind the stairwell was painted yellow to cover up some unsightly artwork. It looks a hundred times better, especially with the new color scheme. A curtain was made for the front bedroom as well. Our landlord got our water pump fixed for us, as our water pressure had been very sporadic. It is such a relief, and we can shower comfortably in consistently warm water now.

Our computer problems are finally over! (for now)  I was at last able to transfer the files from the old laptop to the new one. I went through all the files, consolidated the material on the new laptop, and the old laptop is now retired.

Till next time….Heather

Heather Crawford, Field Project Manager 
Planet Drum Foundation  
Report August 8-14, 2005

The Planet Drum House is not the same anymore. The summer chapter of girls has closed and we are in transition to a mixed bag of fall volunteers. Right now there is only one volunteer, David, who arrived Thursday, and the next volunteers will be arriving about the end of August. Jaime (“Flaco”) and Thea (Peace Corps) each helped out one day this week as we were low on volunteers.

There was a bit of drama with the Cherry Tree site. We arrived to water one morning, only to find it partially burnt!  Most of the trees had been spared but some were charred. I talked to the caretaker about this, and found out that the property had changed owners from Janel Acosta to Miguel Vera. The new owner plans to make it into a sporting complex and wanted the hillsides cleared of “monte” (weeds) just so that it looks “clean”. I asked the caretaker to please not burn anymore until I was able to speak to the new owner. I got his phone number and called various times with no success. So we went back to the property to see if we could meet up with him (and also to give the stressed out trees extra water). We found that they had burned more, despite my plea to the caretaker, and the phone messages I left for the owner. I would say we lost about a quarter of the trees. I was able to talk to the new owner that morning however, who had no idea about the revegetation project. Now that he knows, he said he will cease the burning, and he actually wants to show us one of his other properties as a potential planting site. 

Things are going fine in the greenhouse. None of the seeds we sowed had sprouted (I think they were too old as I planted the old ones first), except for the cascol seeds I had collected from Bella Vista. They are sprouting in the shaded seed bed under the moyuyo tree.

We got a lot more plastic bottles from the Universidad Catolica, and watered the trees on the plateau.

Both Jorge Lomas sites were watered and seem to be doing well. We get water for the older site from a man in the neighborhood named Angel, who is very friendly and says we can have as much water as we want. I gave the a bit of money to the man who gives us water at the new site as he has to pay a donkey to bring it up to fill his tank.

We watered the InterAmericano site, as school was on vacation that week. Dr. Sanchez, the principal, requested 4 samango trees for the school, so we dropped those off as well.

We began hulling the barbasco, algarrobo and seca seeds I had collected—quite a time consuming process, but it’s nice to chat as we work.


Report #34

Heather Crawford, Field Project Manager 
Planet Drum Foundation  
Report  August 15 to 21, 2005

(I forgot to say in my last report that we also watered and picked up trash at El Bosque last week, and I worked on a tree ID sheet and quiz for Genesis School as we will be taking them on a tour there soon.)

Well, no more burning at the Cherry Tree site.  David and I had a hard day of watering there and at the Dairy Farm, just us two.  As we water, we check up on the watering pipes and if they’re not draining properly open the hole again with a nail.  We also repair the fences as need be.

Did some minor repair at the greenhouse and compost hole, weeded, watered, composted and transplanted a few little trees that were growing up outside the greenhouse.  Also watered the trees at the Universidad Catolica site.

Watered the Fernando site with Thea’s help, and got a tour of eccentric Carlos Salazar’s home improvements, such as his new kitchen mural, and front yard cat walk.

The tour of El Bosque went well with the Genesis school – about 25 students and 5 adults.  We talked about the history, dry tropical forest and species, burning, the importance of an urban park….  They helped us water the trees as well, and received their treat handouts at the end.

The trees at the Endara site near Cherry Tree and Dairy Farm continue to do well, and probably won’t need any watering after next rainy season.I dropped off the convenio (contract) for Maria Piedad to sign but haven’t heard back from her yet.  She’s fine with us planting on her land near Interamericano School in the winter.

Hasta pronto!


Report #35

Heather Crawford, Field Project Manager 
Planet Drum Foundation 
Report August 22 to 28, 2005

This week we repaired and reinforced the greenhouse (the dogs had broken in through a weak spot), did the usual greenhouse chores, and sowed seeds – aguia and cedro amargo. We also continued hulling seeds (seca and algarrobo), and even collected more algarrobo seeds from the Cherry Tree site. I discovered that seca seeds can also be collected there, but at the moment we have plenty.

We tried all week to get the plastic bottles from the Depto. de Higiene (Health Department), and finally got over 15 rice sacks full. Thank goodness for a large bodega. David experimented with making water bottle carrying contraptions using rope, since all the water bottle handles are breaking.

We checked up on Inter-Americano Site, and did some mulching, watering and pipe fixing. The kids were out watering when we were there. Each class waters once a week, but they don’t seem to have clearly designated areas so the trees further away may get missed. Dr. Sanchez had planned to plant the 3 samangos from us later that week, as an experiment of sorts. The rest of the planting on the expanded site should take place in the winter.

Both Jorge Lomas sites, El Bosque, the Dairy Farm, Endara site and Cherry Tree all got watered, and we unplugged some of the blocked water pipes. Some of the semi-burned trees at Cherry Tree are showing signs of recovering, while others have since died. Still a good survival rate, but the hillside is now so barren of any other vegetation, that erosion will still be a big problem.

Two Australian volunteers – Natalie and Michael, arrived Friday morning, but by the weekend they had decided this place wasn’t for them, and moved on in their travels. The next volunteer is slated to arrive next Wednesday afternoon, and another on Sunday evening. That will put us to three volunteers, which is a good number to work with. I found out from Nicola Mears that one of the volunteers also plans to work for her environmental education project in the schools which could lead to a time conflict, however the volunteer herself has not mentioned anything about it to me over e-mail.

I tried to meet with the property owner, Marcos, of a potential site which stretches from km8 towards Fanca, but he ended up being unavailable. A man named Fernando had organized the meeting and says that if we can secure that tract of land, it would have a great impact and be something on a larger scale than we have worked on. I still have not heard back from Maria Piedad since dropping off the convenio (contract), but I know she is still interested in having us plant on her land. I also made an appointment for next week to tour the tract of land adjacent to the Cherry Tree site. If we plant there this winter, that will make three tracts of adjoining land (including the Dairy Farm) that we have revegetated. 

The weather has continued to be good for our work schedule, with clouds in the morning and some afternoon sun to enjoy in the afternoon. We even had a couple very light rain sprinkles.

Report #36  

Heather Crawford, Field Project Manager 
Planet Drum Foundation 
Report August 29 to September 4, 2005   

This week two new volunteers arrived – Briana and Stephanie, which puts us to 4 people living in the house.  Both speak Spanish.

We were able to retire one of the compost piles at the greenhouse and move it over into the storage area. We also repaired the fence around the compost area, and put up a new section. Parts of the netting that were flapping off of the greenhouse roof and walls were also fixed. I tilled the soil, and removed some big seeds from the seedbeds that had not sprouted in months. Some of the guachapeli are now coming up. It may be because I buried the seeds a bit deeper in the tilling process last week, whereas before they were practically just on the surface. We began going through each plant individually to fix up the baggies (add dirt, loosen soil, set straight, fold open top of bag, etc) and take out dead plants. Completed the colorados and ceibos, and got started on the samangos. I sowed a few guaba seeds I had brought back with me from Esmeraldas as an experiment. It may be that they are better suited to a more humid zone.

We watered Cherry Tree, Endara, Dairy Farm, El Bosque and  Fernando sites.   

Talked briefly to people at Cherry Tree and Dairy Farm about why they clear the hillside vegetation down to the very last blade of grass, leaving all the dirt exposed.  The answer was to keep the area “clean”, so I tried to explain a more ecological way of thinking to them. There’s not much use in us planting trees, if nothing else will be allowed to grow to protect them and keep the soil intact. 

At El Bosque we also installed some new watering pipes, picked up trash, and fixed the rope fence at the bottom entrance. The top of the hill (lookout point) was somehow wet with water and the land was eroding down the top set of stairs. We will have to think about how to go about fixing this as a big crevice has opened where the stairs are.

I stopped by the property of Pepe Santos, neighbor to Cherry Tree, to see about planting there this winter. He is still into the idea and will look over the contract I left. We talked about what types of trees he wants, and I will get a tour of the property in the afternoon sometime. Peter and I also scouted out some new planting sites this weekend. El Toro was badly and quite extensively eroded.

We continued hulling algarrobo, seca and barbasco seeds. Also found a place to recycle glass bottles around the corner from the Bed and Breakfast.

Report #37

Heather Crawford, Field Project Manager 
Planet Drum Foundation 
Report September 5 – 11, 2005

We have been going into rainy season prep mode by preparing seeds (hulling, soaking) and sowing in the greenhouse. This week we hulled some more of our barbaso-algarrobo-seca store, and sowed zapote de perro and algarrobo. We mixed some more sand and compost into the seed beds before sowing, as it seemed that the soil was getting too compacted with the watering due to the high clay content. 

The aguia seedlings have come up. We have a lot more of those seeds so it is good to know they are still viable. So now we have 3 species sprouting in total (guachapeli and cascol as well). 

We had bought some fishing line to repair the greenhouse netting, which seems to be working better than the wire, as it doesn’t cut into the netting as much, causing it to eventually fall apart. Part of the fence around the compost pit had been knocked down and was put back up. 

The new volunteers got a tour of the the revegetated area at the Universidad Catolica by Peter Berg, and brought down a drum that had been used for water storage which was no longer needed on that hillside. The weaker trees at that site were also watered.

We finished fixing up the samangos in their baggies, and started in the cedros. We did an inventory of the plants (only those in bags/bottles) as follows:

algarrobo                     9

colorado                     84

cedro                        232

ceibo                        111

ebano                         11

guachapeli                  96

jaboncillo                     5

guayacan                   208

samango                    104

seca                             1

We passed by Inter-Americano to check up, and ended up doing all the watering as the school was on another vacation – something having to do with the election of a school “reina” (queen).

We watered Cherry Tree, Dairy Farm and Endara sites, as well as both Jorge Lomas sites and El Bosque. A jaboncillo tree which had been burned at the top of the hill at El Bosque, and was as dry as a bone, miraculously sprang back to life with little buds coming from the base just above ground level. I have found this to be common among many of the species that we plant. Some are surprisingly hardy. We found the source of the water that had destroyed the top staircase, as a spring spontaneously appeared on the hilltop while we were fixing the stairs!  I found out from EMAPA (responsible for municipal potable water supply) that it is due to a problem in the water piping somewhere else so the backed-up water had found another outlet. They are working on fixing it. In addition to fixing various steps and handrails, we also put in another watering pipe, and located a missing sign (“ceibo inmaduro”) and post, which had been dragged half way across the park. I got holes punched in the sign in order to reattach it to the post.

Over the weekend, Peter Berg and I took a hike into El Toro to look for planting sites. We identified two possible areas. We also had a meeting with Angel, president of the Maria Auxiliadora community association, to talk about his idea for a project to fix up El Bosque en Medio de Las Ruinas.

I put together a seed collection schedule, and will continue to do research to fill in missing information for certain species.


Report #38

Heather Crawford, Field Project Manager 
Planet Drum Foundation
Report September 12-18, 2005 

We’ve begun watering the greenhouse three times a week, and have already seen improvements, especially with the samangos, perhaps because they are not native to the dry tropical forest, and do better in transition zones (according to Dario of Rio Muchacho). We prepared more seed beds and sowed seca (soaked for different lengths of time as an experiment), barbasco and guachapeli seeds. I don’t expect the guachapeli to come up as they are old, but we’ll see. All the seed beds have been sown now, but some more may become available from seeds that do not germinate. We fixed up some cedro and guayacan seedlings in their baggies and repaired the compost fence on the side where the soccer ball hits. The trees planted on the hillside were watered. We also continued the seed hulling this week (seca and algarrobo).

We watered Endara, Cherry Tree and Dairy Farm, the latter two twice as we had enough time to do it, and of all the sites, they could use it the most. 

In El Bosque, a few more watering pipes were put in, trees watered, trash picked up and the #4 sign (ceibo inmaduro) put back up in its place.

We watered both Jorge Lomas sites and took a hike up the path behind Las Casas that goes off to the left on the hill top as we did not know what was there. We followed it as far as the summit – quite a good view. It continued along the ridge but we came back down.

We were interviewed for both the radio and newspaper (El Diario) together regarding the Green City Accords signed by Bahia’s mayor. We also obtained the survey map for the new property acquired by Planet Drum for the purpose of building a bioregional institute.

The volunteers also had time to work on their own special projects – David created a new spreadsheet for keeping track of tree survival rates in all the various stages of their growth, Briana hemmed up the curtains in the front bedroom, and Stephanie began making new signs for the greenhouse trees. We are also bringing home dirt from around the field at the Universidad Catolica for making a garden downstairs in the patio area.

Talk to you soon!


Report #39

Heather Crawford, Field Project Manager 
Planet Drum Foundation
Report September 19 to 25, 2005 

We went to the greenhouse 3 times again this week, and sowed more algarrobo seeds. Ramon’s dad, from whose land we got the seca seeds, said that those seeds may take months to sprout. I trimmed up the muyuyo tree where it was getting in the way around the outside seeds beds in front of the greenhouse. We emptied the sacks of compost from the Depto. de Higiene. The 16 rice sacks will be just as much appreciated as the compost was!  That day we had help from Marc Beck, the tourist who went with Peter Berg to El Bosque. 

We visited El Toro to look for road access on the other side of the gorge, but there was none past the driveway to a farm, and on the other side of the farm was another steep-sided gorge. We may be able to use the top of the main gorge and part of the slope as a test patch. The land on that side belongs to a Gutierrez from Bahia. The first site we had decided on last time belongs to Rita’s family.

I got a tour of the site on land beside the Cherry Farm – only about 2 hectares of it is plantable, and he has cows roaming all over it. The owner suggested that we plant only along the fence line and make a parallel fence to protect the trees. I don’t know if that is worth it since it seems like a landscaping job now.

We watered all the new sites, Dairy Farm and Cherry Tree twice. Endara site didn’t get much water because the cistern was empty but luckily we had a bottle left over from Dairy Farm to use. The two watering pipes that had been installed at the top if the hill in El Bosque were missing, and the water leakage continues, but not as strongly as before – great for us!

Volunteer David is now working on figuring out tree survival rates for the whole project from the maps we have drawn with the dead trees crossed out. Volunteer Stephanie got her tree ID signs laminated, and Briana finished the office curtain hemming. We finished hulling the seca seeds and continued on algarrobo. I got some more information from Marcelo Luque on when to collect seeds of certain species. It seems like a lot will be falling in the next couple months before the wet season.

The new boat club Puerto Amistad had an “inauguration” this weekend, but it wasn’t that rip roaring of a time. David, the Genesis volunteers and I went to a friend’s farm (Baron) in Rambuche this weekend, and collected some guasmo seeds there.

I checked on the Green Accords article that Peter Berg and I were interviewed about at El Diario newspaper a couple times but no luck yet. 

Hope all is well,


Heather Crawford, Field Project Manager 
Planet Drum Foundation
Report October 3-9, 2005

I’m a bit sick—got some dirt in my eye in the greenhouse which caused an infection which I am treating now. I finally bought Blas’ surfboard (he wanted a new one) and so am practising more regularly. I also got attacked by a bees nest at Cherry Tree. It was one I had seen before but forgot was there, low to the ground in the only stand of grass left there. I must have walked right on top of it. They followed all the way down that big hill and to the cistern, where I got Briana to douse me with water and take them out of my hair. The stings were quite painful until the nighttime, when they mysteriously felt better after some cabbage soup. I’ve heard from people here that it’s good to get stung by bees—some sort of physical therapy thing.

Did some repair of the greenhouse walls and sowed the seeds you gave us from Las Coronas. The Zapote de Perro seeds are finally coming up, and more Algarrobo seeds as well. The Aguia seedlings that were coming up seem to be getting smaller — an insect may be getting at them but I can’t see anything. The Cascol seedlings that were transplanted aren’t doing so well—they were probably too small but they don’t seem to be growing anymore in the seed bed. Maybe it will take the rainy season to make them a bit more robust.

There is no water at Dairy Farm or Endara so we have been taking from Cherry Tree to water the other sites. So far it’s been working out, as nobody else is using the water at Cherry Tree right now.

We watered both of the Jorge Lomas sites, and there is construction going on behind Las Casas. They completely removed one house and have cleared out the area behind it. It looks as if they are going to build a drainage canal leading from the gorge with the Guachapelis planted on the side. We lost a couple trees to it—Algarrobos, Colorados and Guachapelis—probably about 5 in total.

David is still working on the survival rate database, and Stephanie finished making her signs for the greenhouse trees. Briana was doing other maintenance tasks such as sharpening the machetes .

Still haven’t been able to see Jacob to hear exactly how many days the men have been working, but will keep trying. I am now giving English classes to Maria Piedad, the Mayor’s wife. She would like to put a sign out in front of her property on the roadside to let people know that Planet Drum is doing a revegetation project there. 

Hasta la proxima! 

Report #42

Heather Crawford, Field Project Manager 
Planet Drum Foundation
Report October 10-16, 2005

The greenhouse inventory below was taken on October 10th (bags and bottles only; not seedbeds). The numbers may not be exact, but they give us an idea nonetheless.

Algarrobo                     9

Aguia                           3

Cascol                        10

Colorado                     83

Cedro                        223

Ceibo                        117

Ebano                          11

Guachapeli                 102

Jaboncillo                      5

Guayacan                    221

Samango                     103

Seca                              1

TOTAL                        888

We did some minor repairs to the greenhouse as usual, and the University has for some reason chopped back the Muyuyo tree that was covering the outside seedbeds. Maybe it will be good for those trees to get more light?  We transplanted some Aguia and Cascol seedlings, sowed more Aguia and Guasmo, and aerated the bottles of some Ceibos that were growing an algae—like film on the inside. Stephanie placed her tree identification signs, which are quite artistically done. The smaller trees at the University site were also watered.

We watered Cherry Tree and Dairy Farm twice—many trees at both sites seem to be doing better now and have sprung back to life after being burnt (at Cherry Tree). The climate has also been a bit moist recently, with light rain in the characteristically wetter areas. Maybe this is slowly recharging groundwater supplies which some plants are drawing on.

The Fernando site is still doing well. The tank we use there is very low, but the owner wants us to finish it off since the murky dregs are good for watering trees, but not much else. I got a few Bototo seeds from a tree there—they are surrounded by a light fluff which feels like sheep’s wool.

Riccardo has decided to volunteer with us two or three times a week as he feels this arrangement is a fair exchange for his stay in the house. David departed on Saturday night, and Megan Bomba, the new volunteer, arrived on Sunday night on the same bus as Stephanie and Briana, who were coming back from a trip to Quito.

I went to look at some new land for planting on the hill above the Mariantia Jesus neighborhood. It is the land around the defunct cement water tanks up there. I think it will be a feasible site. We have permission from Roberto’s family, who lives in the area. I should also get permission from the Municipio, as some of it is public land. Let me know if you would like me to send you pictures.

I also went hiking to La Gorda (a couple of beaches past Punta Bellaca), where I collected some Pela Caballo seeds. This is the place where Don and Thea are working on an eco-tourism project with the land owners.

Hasta luego, 

Report #43

Heather Crawford, Field Project Manager 
Planet Drum Foundation
Report October 17 to 23, 2005

For the first time since the dry season started we had a reasonable rain in Bahia on Wednesday!

The dogs have found new ways to break into the greenhouse so we have reinforced the walls again. What we thought were Zapote de Perro seeds coming up were actually weeds, but now the real seeds have started to come up, although in small numbers. The first Seca has come up as well. They take quite some time. We have been recording greenhouse and site inventory data into the new database that David designed for us. I think it is basically the Seed Bank in a nutshell!  We added dirt to some of the seed beds which were getting low, and also repaired one side of the seed beds inside the greenhouse. We also transplanted into bottles many Guachapeli that were getting too big for their bags.

In Jorge Lomas, the Fernando site is doing quite well, and it turns out the digging beside Las Casas was indeed for a drainage ditch which will connect to the main one in the middle. 

The three km 8 sites are doing fine—Cherry Tree and Dairy Farm continue to receive water twice a week. There is still no municipal water supply to anywhere in Bahia but luckily Cherry Tree still has enough water for all, and as far as our house goes, we apparently have a huge cistern.

I met up with Shane, the Aussie who is doing his PhD on “learning tourism”, who took me for coffee and asked a few questions. I gave him a self-guided tour pamphlet for El Bosque Park and mentioned that the Maria Auxilliadora Barrio  Community where it is located is thinking of turning it into a tourist attraction.

Speaking of El Bosque, most of the signs there are now missing, posts and all, with no trace left behind. We did some trail, handrail and step maintenance, and the usual trash pick up. It is a bit better than before, but is still accumulating litter.

Riccardo fixed the screens on the windows in the dining room, and the women volunteers worked on placards for the Catolica University Open House next week. Stephanie made a new one for composting. We have formalized weekly house meetings again. The first one went well, and was relatively stress—free. Megan is settling in fine, although she was quite tired the first week. She also speaks good Spanish. Now we have four volunteers total.

I went to the launch of a UN Environmental Global Citizen Program, of which Canton Sucre is one of two selected cantons for the project (the other is Riobamba). Also, Friday was the launch of the USAID funded Solid Waste (garbage separation) Project. Looks like things are happening in Bahia!

Hasta pronto!


Report #44

Heather Crawford, Field Project Manager 
Planet Drum Foundation
Report  October 24-30, 2005

I have circulated the strategic plan you left, which some of the volunteers were interested in seeing. It is good for them to have a better understanding of what Planet Drum is all about.

This was a greenhouse intense week, as we did a lot of maintenance to prevent further dog break-ins, such as putting up more stakes, lining the walls with big logs at the bottom, and sewing up the mesh with fishing line. We neatened the area in general, e.g. fixing up compost fence, removal of old hoses, etc. in order to prepare for the Universidad Catolica’s Casa Abierta (Open House) on Thursday. They also inaugurated the new meteorological station on this day—the mayor and Cristi Ruperti gave speeches. He always says hi to me and asks about the trees. We put up the placards on composting, bioregionalism, and revegetation, and gave talks and demonstrations to groups of students who passed by. We also led students up the hill and watered, to show them our revegetation site. The students ranged from elementary school to university age, and seemed to be quite interested in our work. I also gave a short interview for FB Radio.

In the greenhouse, we also transplanted 33 Cascol seedlings, and hulled Pela Caballo and Algarrobo seeds. 

Did some fixing up of individual trees at Dairy Farm that weren’t looking so hot. Most of the ones left seem to be doing fine though. Cherry Tree continues to regenerate, and Endara is doing as well as ever, except that we found some cows had gotten in last time. I alerted Carlos Endara about this, who said he would investigate. In Jorge Lomas, the Fernando site was watered, and construction continues at the base of Las Casas. It looks like the trees further up the hill will be safe. The trees at Inter-americano looked healthy, which shows that the students have been watering since we haven’t been there in a few weeks. At El Bosque there were a few freshly chopped trees but nothing blocking the path this time. We lost one Cedro recently, but the other trees left from the June planting look fine. One of the volunteers found a dead Mot Mot bird on the path that had apparently been stabbed by a stick 

Some of the volunteers helped paint a mural in La Cruz this week as they are having their barrio fiestas this weekend. The fiestas of Bahia are next week, which will most likely be volunteer Stephanie’s last. She will be replaced by another Stefanie (from Germany) who arrives a week later.

I got the convenio signed by the property owner for a section of the land in Marianita Jesús (on the hill behind La Cruz). I talked to the municipio as well about the other part of the land, who said it was fine.

I got my eye looked at in Quito, since there are no opthamologists in Bahía and I was going there anyway for the weekend. Apparently when I got that dirt in it from the greenhouse, it caused a tear duct to get blocked. I have a new prescription which should work, but if not, surgery is an option to remove the hard ball under my top eyelid. It’s not serious though.

Hasta luego,


Report #45

Heather Crawford, Field Project Manager 
Planet Drum Foundation
Report  October 31 to November 7, 2005  

Everything is fine in the greenhouse, and the sites— all the regular ones got watered, including Inter-Americano, which still looks good. When I went to water El Bosque, an Ecuadorian friend and four kids from Maria Auxiliadora came to help.

The fiestas in Bahia consisted of parades, street concerts and parties in the clubs at night. There was also a surfing contest, and a rock concert at the skate park. I was asked to model in an “international” fashion show at the Yacht Club, so I did it for kicks, and ended up getting some unexpected perks out of it such as free clothes, and a year’s free entry to the night club next door to it!

Well, sorry there’re not more details to report on the work side of things, but on volunteers, Stephanie and Briana are both traveling for a few weeks, which leaves me, Riccardo and Megan. A new Stefanie from Germany gets here this weekend.

Hasta luego!


Report #46

Heather Crawford, Field Project Manager 
Planet Drum Foundation
Report  November 7 to 13, 2005

This week we did quite a bit of work in the greenhouse, as we sowed seeds (Algarrobo, Bototo, Barbasco and Pela Caballo), did maintenance to the greenhouse structure and outdoor seed beds, finished transplanting the Cascol saplings, moved over a compost pile for storage, and fixed up the other side of the compost hole to start using next time. Instead of having both compost mounds on one side, we will try to have one mound on each side of the little wooden dividing fence to utilize the space. We also hulled some more Algarrobo seeds this week.

We watered all the usual sites, Cherry Tree and Dairy Farm twice. The cows were still in Endara, so I went over to talk to the owner again, and he promised to take care of it this week.  

They are building a drainage ditch at Jorge Lomas Casas, and do not plan to do any further construction into our site. We only lost some trees at the very bottom. There is also a new road cleared directly from that site to the Fernando site, which makes access by foot a lot easier, especially since we had to lug water from below last time, as Don Carlos was out of water at the top of the Fernando site. He plans to get more brought up by donkey load. He also invited us to lunch this week, which we took him up on.

We maintained and watered El Bosque. Here are photos of Megan watering and observing Bahia and Rio Chone from the ridge above El Bosque en Medio de las Ruinas. 

Megan came with me to look at potential sites in El Toro, and we dropped off a convenio (contract) for the Espinoza brothers to look over (the first site we decided on), since the land there is apparently shared between them. They say the area would have to be fenced. 

I didn’t see any hillsides to plant in Pedro Otero’s land—the deforested areas were mostly flat areas, and everything would need to be fenced there because of roaming cattle. There was an area on a low slope above the right hand side of the road (across from the passion fruit orchard going up into Pedro’s property) with frutillo trees that was sparsely forested and could stand more trees. Both sites have no water and pay to fill their cisterns. I would like to talk to Flor-Maria about planting on the slopes closer to the entrance of El Toro. So far we have the two sites you and I identified last time, and the test patch area, which is on the flat land just above the second potential site.

The weather is already beginning to change—more humidity, light drizzle and warmer ocean temperatures.

Stefanie from Germany arrives this weekend.


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