Local Student Workshops at the Greenhouse

June 11 – July 29, 2014

Field Report

The past seven weeks have been dedicated to hosting revegetation workshops with local school students at the greenhouse. The Fanny de Baird school has 16 groups of students (averaging 40 students in each group) who are in the proper age range for participating with Planet Drum. So far students from the 8th and 9th grades (ten groups) have visited the greenhouse.

Large groups of students from the Fanny de Baird school are visiting the greenhouse on a very regular basis.
Orlando explains how to fill bottles with soil to a group of students.
Students help plant trees during the workshop.
Some of the students become very interested in the work and want to help with every aspect of tree production. Here they carefully help dig up seedlings from a seedbed.
Students work together to organize bottles for transplanting trees.
Orlando teaches a group of girls how to mix soil. It’s their first time using shovels and they did a great job!

Nearly all of the kids are very enthusiastic about the workshops and we’ve received strong support from the school administrations as well. At Fanny, for example, when I arrive to organize the next group who will visit the greenhouse, kids who previously visited frequently run up to ask me when they can return or to inform me that they’ve already planted the tree(s) that they took home.

Clay explains how to fill the bottles with soil.
Students cut bottles as part of the workshop.
Orlando explains how to transplant the seedlings into the bottles.
The visiting students water and prepare the bottles for transplanting by poking a hole in the soil.
Then the students plant trees into the bottles.
Fanny de Baird students help to transplant Guachapeli trees.

We’ve also been working with the Eco-club at the Montúfar school at the greenhouse and at their school, where they are implementing a composting system and garden.

The Eco-club at the Montúfar school meets for the first time. A space at the school will be dedicated to a composting system and garden for the students.

Orlando and several students dig wide, shallow hole in the middle of banana trees for a compost pile.
Clay explains seed planting to the Montúfar Eco-club at the greenhouse.
Some of the Eco-club members even wanted to help water the revegetation site on the hillside behind the greenhouse.
Here they help turn the compost piles.

Three new volunteers arrived recently: Joe (US), Grace (Australia), and Kimberley (Scotland). They are adapting well to life in Ecuador and are enthusiastic about moving the projects forward.

The dry season has firmly set in, and even the occasional drizzle has stopped. El Niño worries for this year still exist, but since April, the most recent scientific predictions show a dramatically decreased risk of a major Niño event. Despite the reduced probability of an El Niño phenomenon for 2014-15, local residents are still on edge. Understandably so, since any year could be an El Niño year, and despite it  being late July now, it’s still too early to predict accurately what will happen this year.

Since precipitation has completely disappeared, the hills and vegetation have turned their dry season brown and many of the trees have lost their leaves to conserve moisture. This means we will have to begin watering the trees that were planted earlier in the year.

After a morning of transplanting trees, the students each take trees to plant at their homes.

In addition to watering, we are continuing to expand and improve the greenhouse facilities and will be hosting many more workshops with local school students.

Pásalo bien,

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