For the first time we have lost trees to bulldozers.

May 15-21st

The long awaited compost finally arrived at the greenhouse this week from the city’s composting plant. To accommodate all 900 kilograms that was delivered we dug another trench alongside the greenhouse (appoximately 50 feet long). While Hugo, the compost supervisor, was at the greenhouse he commented on the quality and richness of our own compost that we have been making. He suggested we add some more grasses and leaves to offset the large amounts of citrus fruits we compost. The university in San Vicente has also offered to do a pH and carbon/nitrogen test on our “product”.

Watering our seedlings at Bosque Encantado, La Cruz, Cherry Tree and El Toro continues. El Toro is not only proving to be a dry, dry location, but also brought a tear to my eye last week. It is with great confidence I state that for the first time we have lost trees to bulldozers. Cattle, ants, drought, corn… these I have heard of. The Espinozas seem to have built a road through one of our plantings and excavated a portion of the hill to build adobe bricks! Worse than the loss of 20 trees and our trail into the site, is the river crossing about five minutes away. When they filled in the 50 foot gully with dirt, they did not install a culvert of any sort. While the river is dry right now, the water level in the rainy season reaches almost 10 feet in this section. It will be interesting to see what happens when the river rises again and meets this fifty foot dam of rocks, tree trunks and dirt! I spoke with them when we were at the site last Thursday and it appears they thought the trees were on another hillside, closer to their house. They feel terrible and I have offered to provide them with a map of their property and the location of our trees. Hopefully we can avoid future “miscommunications”.

Finally, although it has been hard to water all our sites each week with only four people in the field, we are making do. The house is full of volunteers but both Heather and Catherine have been out of service for the last week with back troubles and illness. Despite being placed on light duty, they have continued to be super involved and are planning and constructing posters, activities and invitations for Ecuador’s Tree Day next Monday. The mayor has granted us the use of the lower mezzanine at City Hall, where they have invited local school groups to pass through for some games and “educacion bioregional”. It’s quite exciting to see it come together in only a week, while at the same time allowing them to not lose their minds in the house! Monday should be a great time and I hope to send some photos of seedlings and children’s smiles… what more can you ask for?

Hasta pronto,

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