April 30-May 4, 2007
We started off the week with more Bioregional Education preparations and a trip to the greenhouse. At the greenhouse we turned compost and weeded trees. While volunteers took care of this work, I had a meeting inside the Universidad Catolica, to discuss possibilities for working more closely together, beyond using their land for our greenhouse. University students may be able to help us with site maintenance, including tree watering. There is also the possibility of making a new reforestation site on their land for next year’s rainy season. The university has lots of available students, who we may be able to connect with volunteer projects, such as our eco-tourism work in Maria Auxiladora. It was a promising meeting and I look forward to working more closely with the people at the University.
On Tuesday we took a field trip over to the Bellavista neighborhood and met up with our good friend Orlando. He led us around his neighborhood and we collected seeds from a Laurel tree and a variety of Cascol and Uña de Gato trees there that are dropping their seed pods. We collected hundreds of seeds from all three species of trees.
On Wednesday we were back at the greenhouse. There is a stash of baby Guachepelli growing in a field nearby and we are going to try and transplant them into bottles to grow in the greenhouse. We also did a trip with Ricardito to the dump to throw out a barrel full of trash—the rest of the pickup truck was full of plastic bottle cuttings, which we took to a man we know in Leonidas Plaza who runs his own recycling business in his backyard. Plastic recycling collection is surprisingly non-existent in Bahia, which is one reason finding 3-liter soda bottles around town is so easy. Wednesday night three new volunteers showed up: Judith, originally from England, has been teaching English in Quito and is taking a month to volunteer on the coast; and Kirk and Crista from Canada, Kirk is fulfilling the field portion of his masters program and they will be here for the next three months.
Thursday we did more Bioregional Education preparations and transplanted another batch of Guachepeli trees. I had to stay in Bahia for a meeting at the municipality about a group of landowners who are joining together to make a network of private protected areas in the Bahia region. We also discussed preparations for a related international exhibition of ecological work in Bahia that will take place May 10th and 11th at the municipal theater. More details on this as progress unfolds. That evening Marcelo Luque and I presented the second part of our evening adult education program at the Eloy Alfaro University in Leonidas Plaza. I gave an introduction with a background of the work that Planet Drum has been doing over the years, including a detailed description of our reforestation project, with slides from the past four months. I then left the stage to Marcelo who gave an excellent presentation about the Flora and Fauna of Canton Sucre (this region of Ecuador), detailing the different ecosystems present here: Very dry tropical forests, Dry tropical forests, Wet tropical forests, Mangrove estuaries, and Marine life. With an audience of over seventy students, members of the community and the staff of Planet Drum, the presentation was a big success.
The next morning as we rode the bus to the greenhouse, we heard a detailed description over the radio of the previous night’s presentation, which was repeated several times. Once there, we finished our transplanting of Guachepeli trees. Some of us stayed home and did even more Bioregional Education prep and that afternoon I went up to Bellavista to talk to some locals about helping make some bunk beds for one of the dorm rooms in the house. The bunk beds will allow us to have another volunteer stay in the house, which will bring the total space for volunteers in the house up to six.
More volunteers keep showing up and soon we will be able to accommodate one more in the house. As our numbers increase so does the amount of work we can take on. If you’re interested in volunteering, send an email to: planetdrumecuador at yahoo dot com.