October 29 – November 2, 2007
On Monday morning the Bosque en Medio de las Ruinas and La Cruz revegetation sites were watered. In the afternoon we got an invitation to help repaint some Eco-city murals that were in danger of being painted over because they were starting to fade. While some of the volunteers went to help Marcelo Luque with the murals, I went to the greenhouse with Jaime to water and check in on the plants.
Tuesday we went to Ricardito’s farm to water Bosque Encantado. After watering some volunteers went to the greenhouse to turn compost, weed, and water. Others stayed at the farm and began work on a new revegetation site for next year. Trails were cleared in a new area where trees will be planted. Site design is critical since the new sites will be several times larger than the current sites, about 300 trees per site instead of about 60-70.
The hardest part of the revegetation process is maintenance of the plants, i.e. watering for the first dry season to help the trees take root and increase survival rates. Sites are being designed with this in mind to minimize the time and effort it requires to water each site.
Sites will have natural divisions, allowing individuals to be responsible for watering a specific area and reduce repeated visits to trees to check if they got water. In some areas winding trails will lead to the trees, in others rows of trees will be planted, depending on the terrain. With such large sites efficiency will be crucial. Also, weekly watering of sites by a group of people can have a large impact on trails over the dry season and can create erosion. For this reason I am avoiding trails that go straight up steep hillsides and instead using zigzags where possible.
On Wednesday everyone went to Fanca to fill water jugs at Jaime’s house. While there they did some bottle hunting around the neighborhood. We then split into groups; some people went to the greenhouse with the bottles and prepped them for transplanting. They also made some more soil for planting.
The other group took a truck ride into the El Toro watershed to water trees. While watering I met with one of the land owners who has a cistern nearby the revegetation site. I made an agreement to buy water for November and December. With water on location we won’t have more problems with bringing water into the area, which is quite a hassle. Relations with the landowners at this site have improved slightly.
In the afternoon we met up with some of the after-school students from Planet Drum’s Bioregionalismo class and headed over to the murals to finish painting, just in time for the city’s celebrations beginning on Friday!
Thursday we started off at the greenhouse, collecting more Guachapeli seeds and doing more soil prep and filling bottles with it for transplanting. From there we walked to the Maria Dolores and Don Pepe sites to water. On the way more Guachapeli seeds were collected, this time from a Guachapeli Negro tree.
On Friday the entire Planet Drum family took a field trip to visit our friend Orlando’s farm near San Isidro. After arriving, we took a walk up into the hills along a stream bed. There were young Balsamo trees, a tree in danger of being extinct. While there Amarillo and Guasmo seeds were collected.
We ate Guanabana, Maracuya, fresh Cacao and Grapefruit collected from plants on his farm. A delicious lunch was prepared with his family. Despite being a short trip because we had to catch a bus home early in the afternoon, all had a fantastic time and a lot of seeds were collected.
Another action packed week here on the coast of Ecuador!