Patrick Wylie, Field Project Manager
Planet Drum Foundation
July 17-23, 2006
This has been the most productive week of my tenure here at Planet Drum! In addition to our usual watering of 400+ planted trees, we undertook major construction projects throughout the work week. On Tuesday we gathered up all the eco-locos (local term for greenies in the city) and had a construction work-party at the greenhouse. With over a dozen volunteers we finished construction of the greenhouse, began a seedling inventory and created a separate shelter for transplanting new seedlings. For many of us the highlight of the day was learning to make a thatched roof which will be used for shade in the new transplanting area. The transplanting area, to the pleasure of past volunteers, replaces the muddy hole in the ground which had been the source of many dirty clothes and back problems. On an ironic note, we transplanted the last seedling of the year on Monday.
On Wednesday, Andrea Coronado, a local volunteer, joined us for the beginning of her months with us. She helped water trees at La Cruz and Cherry Tree sites. After those field visits we headed back to the greenhouse and began digging seedling beds deeper and filling them with new compost/topsoil. These preparations coincide with the beginning of our annual seed collection, which provides seeds for planting next year. Each year of seedlings breaks down and withdraws the nutrients from the soil in the greenhouse, so we are preparing the seedling beds to provide life to the next round of seeds!
Cheo and Jaime helped out as usual with our usual tasks in Bosque Encantado (Enchanted Forest). Besides watering and map updates, we undertook major trail renovations to make our daily work more comfortable, safe and environmentally-friendly. Following months of erosion and volunteer stumbles we have built ladders, constructed steps and relocated 300 meters of trail to avoid future trip-ups on the site. We would usually avoid the installation of these temporary structures, however we plan to plant more trees in this area next year and hope to minimize our long-term impacts on the soil.
Outside of the great week we all experienced together in the field, we also felt our house shrink as Johannes moved on to new adventures. It was great having all our local and international friends come together to see him off to the bus station after cocktails and a bonfire on this part of the Pacific Coast we call Bahia de Caraquez!
Hasta pronto, Pat