This week was full of excitement and activity. Starting off on Tuesday I met with the presidents of the barrios to let them know about the bioregional education project. They were very interested and in fact one of them wants to participate in the project. They suggested several ideas of projects we could work on and I am thinking of having the first Saturday of the month be a community service day in which the participants get together with the barrios and do a clean up of education project dependent upon what we are learning at that point. Wednesday was the big day in which all the people interested in participating in the course met in the municipal building in order to learn more about the course. We had a grand turnout of fifty-five people, mostly from the colegios and Universidades, but also some that had heard radio interviews or read about the program in the newspaper. We started off the day with the bioregional quiz that I made into a game. I split the group up into groups of five and they filled out the quiz together. The group that got the most answers correct was awarded native trees that the whole group had to identify. There was a lot of enthusiasm and positive energy coming from the participants and we decided to meet on Tuesdays in the Municipal building (I am in the process of getting permission for the space) and Thursdays for the practice, 4-6 in the afternoon. We will be meeting on Tuesday to start the course and I am interested to see how many actually come. Right now it seems that there might be too many, but I want to wait and see what the first week is like before I come to any conclusions.
Tonight we had a meeting of Amigos de la Ecociudad and I presented to them what the BEP (Bioregional Education Project) was all about. They were also very interested and helpful in thinking of projects and people that could help teach the different subjects of the course. It is great to see all the enthusiasm and all the support that I am receiving from the community. Everyone says that the themes of the course are exactly what needs to be taught.
I have broken down a tentative budget based on currently available funds as follows (a year):
- Transportation: $72
- Communication: $48
- Research: $120
- Materials: $180
- Excursions: $130
- Other $30
I have found a voluntary assistant who is a local Bahian, went to the Univ. Catolica and studied Marine Biology. Blas is very enthusiastic about helping out with the course.
I have spoken with Mike Morgan as well and I think that Heather and I will be going to visit Cerro Blanco Reserva in Guyaquil in the next couple of weeks to see what is happening there, talk about the Dry Tropical Forest and obtain seeds.