March 6-31, 2009
Summary: Another action-packed month passes by. Volunteers disperse and continue with their travels; and as their numbers dwindle, the rainy season seems to be petering out. The transition out of the rainy season means that changing the workload to adapt to the shift in weather.
In total this year, eleven revegetation sites have been successfully planted with over 2,200 native trees in the 8km corridor along the southern side of the Río Chone estuary. Several hundred more trees have been donated to friends and communities, including nearly one hundred to the Los Caras community at Kilometro 16, which we helped to plant during a Planet Drum field trip. Along with the Los Caras visit, several other field trips took place including Río Muchacho, a Planet Drum Institute land visit, and a San Clemente beach trip that followed a 10-hour marathon house- cleaning day.
The weather has been rather unusual. Several heavy drizzles and solid rains recently helped all of the trees planted take root, but other than that, there’s been minimal precipitation. Some indicators of the dry season have been making appearances already such as cooler ocean temperatures, which suggest the return of the Humbolt Current from Antarctica. But there have also been some mixed signs as well. This past weekend we spotted a few flowering Guayacans at Punta Gorda, which is typically a phenomenon that occurs just before the rainy season begins. Flowering Ceibos were seen as well, which usually happens a few months from now. Other oddities include irregular fruiting of Chirimoya and Hobo trees, typically gathered towards the beginning of the rainy season.
Also, after much talk of a heavy (good) rainy season this year, things have ended up being on the weak side (even weaker than last year). Conversely, there’s talk of the possibility of April making up for the scarcity of rains in March. As is typically the case with the weather, it’s wait and see. But there is certainly some confusion amongst the Dry Tropical Forest species this season.
As for the volunteer situation, we’ve currently hit a lull, which happens to work out well with the work load, since we’ve stopped making new sites and planting more trees for the year. Soon it will be overhauling the greenhouse seedbeds and planting seeds for trees for next year. And hopefully some additional precipitation will save having to water the revegetation sites in the near future. The volunteer situation will hit high gear again in June, with numerous new volunteers showing up. Currently the house is very close to being booked from June through October.