August 7-13, 2006
Our last week was filled with the smiles. While celebrating the Ecuadorian Battle of Independence (10 de Agosto) we welcomed 13 students from a local scool to our greenhouse. As part of the continuing Bioregional Education Program children’s seminars being held, these fifth graders were another success. After watering, transplanting and composting at the greenhouse we hiked overland through a new trail which leads to our nearby Cherry Tree site. The kids then put us to shame watering the site in about 20 minutes (it takes us about an hour). We fixed a fence to keep the recent cattle invasion at bay, had a picnic and took a group photo. The group has now asked to take care of the site on a weekly basis as part of their science class… think of it as an outdoor classroom!
Despite two evening rain showers that coincided with the recent full moon, the ground here is hard and dry. The surrounding wells have begun to run dry (Bosque Encantado). As mentioned last week, to help our seedlings survive the ongoing 8 month drought, we have begun digging two-foot humidity circles around our trees. These circles are about six inches deep, and though at first glance may appear to act as a moat for our watering, they are actually full of leaves. The leaves add compost and help increase the soil humiditiy while the tropcial sun bakes the surrounding soil. In our first two weeks of this tiring work, we have already been able to half our watering frequency. We are also beginning to see a growth response for inventoried / measured seedlings.
Seed collection season has begun, with Tagua and Ascacia seeds now in the beds. We headed out to collect seeds last week with local forest aficiando Orlando. It was a great trip for the volunteers as they had a chance to collect the seeds while getting a bird’s eye view of Bahia and also observing a series of plantings from the past two years which are now up to 5 metres high! Although it feels great to be planting and watching seedlings grow, it is quite nice to have to look up at the trees as well!
While former volunteer Johannes Ackerman came back to expose his visiting family to the joys of Planet Drum, we sadly saw Sam and Jennifer leave after a lengthy stay. The newly weds will not be far away from Bahia however as Sam has accepted a teaching position in Quito for the next two years. All the best in the new adventures and please don’t be strangers!
Hasta pronto, Pat