Los Algarrobos School Tree Planting Workshop

In 2014, Planet Drum did a Dry Tropical Forest Revegetation workshop with the Los Algarrobos elementary school in Canoa. Recently we returned to the school to do another workshop. We arrived Friday morning with a truckload of  native fruit trees (one for each student and faculty member and began showing them how to plant the trees. A total of 12 trees were planted at the school with 4 different groups of students. Many of the students remembered us from our visit two years prior, and some of them even commented on how the trees they had taken home and planted were doing!

Clay talks to students at Los Algarrobos School about native fruit trees as he shows them how to plant one.

All of the students were excited about the prospect of receiving more trees. Typically in each group of students there were a few who really got into the work. Although the soil was too hard for the students to dig the holes, they assisted with the rest of the work involved in planting, including dousing the trees with plenty of water after they were put in the ground.

Planting a Guanabano tree.
Watering the tree.

After all of the school trees were planted, we distributed trees to the students based on the kind of fruit tree they wanted. Characteristics such as variety and size were taken into account so that students received trees that will be practical for them. Chirimoyas and Mandarina trees grow much smaller than Pechiche or Guava de Machete, for example. Lots of students were excited to receive trees that their family doesn’t already have growing.

Students plant a Chirimoya tree at the entrance to their school.

We encouraged the students to share what they learned during the tree planting activity at the school with their friends and families at home, when they are planting their trees. One parent commented quickly upon arriving at the school to pick up his child, “Make sure they know how to plant the trees!”
The administration was very supportive of our efforts. Apparently the government has issued requirements for school students to plant trees, but beyond making the requirement there hasn’t been any accompanying support for the plan (that any one has heard of as of yet).

Clay, Orlando, the Principal, and students with fruit trees that they will take home.

The school has also made modest attempts at planting a school garden, but are struggling to really get it going well. We offered technical support for their ecological projects in the form of future workshops, and the school has already invited us back for another session.  At that time we will help them implement seedbeds and donate native medicinal plants for their garden.

Students getting ready to take their trees home.

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