Renée Portanova, Field Project Manager
January 21, 2005
This week, January 17-21, we continued with our regular water maintenance of the sites and the greenhouse. Last week’s rain (although only a fraction of what is expected for this time of year) had a huge influence on the surrounding landscape. I was astonished to come back from Quito to a plush green covering where just a short time ago there was nothing but brown dust. The sites responded well to the rains but continue to need our assistance.
In addition to our normal upkeep responsibilities we have began plotting our planting schedule for the coming week. We visited four of the new sites over the past few days. We drew maps, discussed logistics and informed landowners and their immediate neighbors that we will begin planting soon. This has been somewhat trickier than it sounds…For example, we had an appointment with Jose Franco (Dairy farm) on Wednesday in which he never showed. He was supposed to pick us up at the office and we all were supposed to go to the dairy farm and walk through the site together, discussing the revegetation plan. As you may remember he hasn’t signed the agreement yet, only his father, so this meeting was necessary for many reasons. Well now we are back to tracking him down and making another appointment. Cheo, of course, has been scouting the streets for him since he flaked on the meeting.
Regardless, I’m optimistic that we will get plants in the ground next week. Thesooner the better for obvious reasons: the plants will inevitably do better the longer they are exposed to their natural environment, taking full advantage of the rainy season, and we need to start clearing plants out of the greenhouse. We are running out of room! With the large amount of seeds we have sown over past weeks, if we don’t get the older ones in the ground soon, we simply will not have any place to put the pending transplants. Today alone we began transplanting only a fraction of what is to be expected over the next few months and we had difficulty finding a proper location to place them.
The momentum for planning the sixth anniversary celebration of the declaration of Eco-Bahía continues to escalate. We had our third consecutive meeting this week, which continue to demonstrate cooperation and enthusiasm among a diverse group of people. The schedule we have selected consists of an array of activities, some education orientated, some entertaining, and others more hands-on. Everyone is taking a good amount of responsibility however, unlike last year, it is more equally dispersed. Planet Drum is mainly involved with the Open House and guiding groups on tours of our projects. We are not involved with the organizing, simply in participating with scheduled events. We (more specifically Ryan) are co-organizing a “Green Dance”. The idea is to draw greater participation from teenagers and young adults by holding a dance. One receives a free admissions ticket as a reward for attending one of the scheduled events.
On a personal note, I plan on spending more of my free time preparing for your and Heather’s arrival in just a few short weeks, Feb. 6 & 9. Riccardo, Ryan and Hanna will all be here still when you come. In early March we will be expecting a new volunteer from the States. I’m relieved that there will be so many experienced volunteers here for Heather’s transition to Projects Manager.
We have been having quite a few tremors lately. Being from the East Coast I haven’t experienced an earthquake on any scale. Perhaps I will look up some information on what to do in case of an earthquake…just in case.