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Reports from Planet Drum Staff
Eco-Ecuador Project 2008

Index to 2008 Reports, Set 1 (Dec.17,'07-Jan.25,'08)

January 10,2008 Letter

Clay Plager-Unger
Field Projects Manager
Planet Drum Foundation
Letter: January 10, 2008   

Hi Everyone,

Things have been moving so quickly around here lately with the rains and the holiday season. I can't believe how far behind I've fallen with my reports already. Everyday I say I'm going to do one and then a dozen things come up and the day is gone. (Rewiring the electricity in the house, getting kicked out of the bodega by the landlady, getting Freddy, the muralist, settled, etc., etc.) My dad and sister are finishing up a short (8 day) visit which has added to the mayhem, but in a good way. My dad did a bunch of cooking for the house, it was great and they both have had an excellent time.

My knee is effectively better. I went on a 3 hour hike in Rambuche this past weekend without any problems. I'm at work everyday (machetes and hole diggers). I haven't tried carrying watering jugs because that hasn't been necessary, nor have I been playing sports or surfing yet. I'm still taking it relatively easy; I want to do another week or so of bicycling before trying to strain it like that.

Freddy (Fred Alvarado, the muralist from San Francisco, CA) arrived without any problems. Monday I got him going at the school. We met with the Director, got him hooked up with a class of kids (9 and 10 year olds), and bought supplies. It appears that he can do the job for under $60 of our funds. He's donating over $100 worth of 'nice' paints that he brought, plus his time obviously. He decided to only tackle a portion of that mural given his time. So far progress has been great and he's ahead of schedule. He starts painting with colors tomorrow.

I'm going to present the Eco-Mandato for immediate public changes to facilitate creating an eco-city to the eco-amigos at a meeting this afternoon @ 4. This is the meeting that was supposed to happen several weeks ago and got postponed. I'll let you know how that goes.

Eco-Noticias (Econews) has been very slow. One volunteer is going to work on an article about a new Saiananda jam that is being sold around town. I'm going to talk about this at the meeting as well and maybe find some outside collaborators.

Volunteer numbers have been good. There are two vacancies in the house right now, one of which will be filled by the end of the week. One girl seems to have flaked out on showing up, I'm still waiting for an email from her. The crew is great, some really hard workers, we've been digging holes like crazy for the past week. We have 659 dug so far. The volunteer schedule is packed through February and into March. Emailing has died down slightly recently, maybe because of the holidays/new year?

It's looking like we're going to revegetate with approx. 2200 plants this season. The sites are coming together very nicely. Water sources so far are ample and very, very close to the plants, which is going to be supremely critical for watering next dry season. If I can get one last site in Jorge Lomas (or that vicinity) I will be in excellent shape. I'll have a detailed report of sites soon.

Weather has been exceptional. Lots and lots of great rain. The really heavy stuff hasn't started yet, but most nights there's at least a drizzle, and often a heavy downpour. There's even been some daytime rain as well. Last year’s trees made it through the dry season strong and are taking off!  The sun finally came out yesterday after a week of clouds and rain. The soil has been penetrated about 6 inches deep with water, so we could still use just a bit more for planting, which works out well with our schedule. We've been opening the holes ahead of planting so that they collect some water before trees go in them, I think this will help with moisture as well. My goal is to have everything planted by the end of the month. I think we can do it.

         Atentamente,
         Clay

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Report #1

Clay Plager-Unger
Field Projects Manager
Planet Drum Foundation
December 17, 2007– January 11, 2008

Note: Click on photos for larger picture

A New Year brings a new Rainy Season…

In the week before Christmas we were watering and keeping the greenhouse house operating at full tilt. All of the revegetation sites received their weekly dosage of water, 1/3 of a gallon per tree. 


Nadine moving trees around in the green- house to free up space.
In the greenhouse, fresh batches of soil were prepared with river sand, compost, dark dirt, and a bit of wood chips. Bottles were collected from around town and cut and cleaned. The new soil went into seed beds of Amarillo (collected from Orlando's farm) and Guachapeli. 

Amarillo seed bed.


Jasper and Deven preparing soil.

Deven collecting Guachapeli seeds.
 

 

Baby Guachapeli, Bototillo and Balsamo were transplanted into 3-liter bottles.

For Christmas Eve we hosted a large dinner at our house and spent the next day at the beach relaxing. 


Deven, Jasper and Clay as the 3 Kings with Cesar our neighbor.
Three of the men in our house were invited to participate in the neighborhood events which involved loosely reenacting stories from the Bible. We got to be the three kings in the festivities. 

Christmas week, among the festivities, we watered the 2007 sites for what would be the last time. It is Planet Drum practice to water the trees that we plant for the first dry season that they have to endure to boost survival rates and help them get established. This is particularly important on land that has been completely denuded.

I did some more surveying of new revegetation sites for 2008 and volunteers began breaking trails at a couple of them. 


Jaime in the brush on the hillside above the greenhouse, Bahia in the background.
The new site at the greenhouse was laid out and the first trails were cut through the brush.

Darline, Cheo and Anita loading trees into Ricardito's truck, the Enterprise.
At the new site at Ricardito's farm (Bosque Encantado) the first of nearly 300 holes were dug and a batch of trees were transported from the greenhouse.

Ricardito handing me trees at Bosque Encantado.

I took a ride out to the El Toro watershed with Don Pedro Otero to discuss the possibilities of starting revegetation on his land on the opposite side of the El Toro watershed from where we have worked in previous years. He is enthusiastic about the project and promises to work with us to secure a water source (tank) near to the site where we will plant. He will also contribute some fencing to ensure that cattle can't get into the revegetated area.

[To be continued…]

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Report #1 Part Two

Clay Plager-Unger
Field Projects Manager
Planet Drum Foundation
December 17,2007 – January 11, 2008

Note: Click on photos for larger picture

Continued…

The New Year marked the beginning of the rainy season. After a couple months of signs of a changing climate: warmer ocean currents, more intense sun, and hotter days, the rains began. Our work routine changed completely. Instead of maintaining the 2007 sites with weekly watering we shifted our efforts to preparing 2008 sites. Trails need to be cleared, holes need to be dug and trees need to be transported before planting can begin.


The Planet Drum crew showing their strength, finished holes are visible on the hillside in the background
On Don Pepe's land we have constructed a fence on the barren hillsides to prevent cows from entering the revegetation site. During two days over two hundred holes were dug there. 

Nadine digging holes at the greenhouse site.

At other sites, such as the one on the hills behind the greenhouse, there is some existing vegetation and trails need to be cleared through the brush so that we can plant our trees. The same is done at the Nuevo Globo site, located in the same watershed as the Don Pepe sites. It occupies the entire face of a large hill and horizontal trails are cleared from top to bottom at 3-5 meter intervals. The trails make planting easier and will be necessary for when we have to water during the dry season. GPS coordinates are taken at the sites to be able to calculate areas and design maps. 


Jasper and Caroline make their way through the Moyuyo.

Out taking GPS readings in the field. The landscape is already changing color from dusty brown to brilliant green.

In the greenhouse, trees continue to germinate and we continue to prepare for transplanting. 


Nadine, Steve and Rose taking care of another batch of 3-liter bottles.
My dad and sister came to Bahia to visit me and got involved in some bottle preparation while checking out the greenhouse. 

In a grueling day we loaded up trees from the greenhouse for transport to the site in El Toro. 


Jasper carries a load of trees from the greenhouse extension to a waiting truck.

As we drove along the dried river bed of El Toro deep into the watershed it began to drizzle and the dusty road immediately turned to slick mud. Nearly sliding off the road with every turn, the truck loaded with what will hopefully some day be a new patch of dry tropical forest pushed onward. Finally arriving at the land we were faced with the task of hand-carrying the trees the rest of the way to the site. This required crossing the same dried up river bed.


Carrying a load of trees, Jaime descends into the 'river' which was created by the massive amounts of erosion during the El Niño phenomenon
Fortunately the drizzling subsided and we didn't have to deal with the dangerously slippery mud.

Caroline does her part to move trees to the revegetation site at El Toro.

After a snack we began breaking trail at the site, machete-ing our way through the undergrowth.

And finally we tackled the most rewarding part of the process which is actually putting the trees in the ground. We commenced this year's planting at Ricardito's farm. 


Sam and Jaime mix up compost and Tierramonte, in the foreground trees are organized for planting.

Deven liberates a Pechiche tree.

Ramon shows how to plant a Ceibo.

Anita and Ramon joined up with us for the event. Trees were carried to previously prepared holes and planted with a booster of compost. 

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January 25, 2007 Letter

Clay Plager-Unger
Field Projects Manager
Planet Drum Foundation
Letter: January 25, 2008   

I presented the Mandato (See Attachment Below) prioritizing changes to make a better eco-city at the first Eco-Amigos meeting of 2008.  The meeting appears to have been a bit of a rebirth.  At the session we elected a Coordinator and Vice-Coordinator, Ronald and Cheo respectively.  I want to add an official post for a kid to get in there as well.  There's a lot of representation from kids in the group, it's great.  There has also been a real opening up on Ronald's part.  He now shares a lot more information about what is going on and there's more access to the municipio.  And there are lots of new opportunities opening up for projects and events, especially for the kids.  I feel there is a lot more transparency with the Environment department now, for example with funding and funding opportunities Anyways, the presentation went over well, Ronald and the old representative of PMRC (who's head is really in the right place) were both present and got copies of the Mandato.  Right now I'm looking for more opportunities to pass the word out.  The next edition of Eco-noticias would be a great idea.  I'll see how I can edit a bit to get it to fit better, it's a little long right now for Eco-noticias.

About Eco-noticias.  One of the current volunteers offered to get involved and I sent him out to Saiananda to do an interview about the organic jams they are making (using a lot of local varieties of fruit).  So that's another article for the next edition.  In bigger news, it appears we will have a chance to get some funding for the project from Canton Sucre (money allocated for Bahia, but from a Canton level?).  Their meeting was supposed to be this past Wednesday but got rescheduled to next Wednesday.  I've attached my proposal.  It's in Spanish, but you'll get the idea.  Let me know if you have any suggestions for changes since there's still time to put them in.

About Revegetation 2008.  I've also included the Excel document I'm using to keep track of species inventory during the planting season (See Below).  It shows the sites we have and also includes a breakdown by species of the numbers we have at the greenhouse and how many go to each site.  There are different 'sheets' for each site, there are only 5 sheets right now (for the sites we've been working at so far).  It's a work in progress as we get trees in the ground.  You'll notice I still need to pin down a site for Jorge Lomas.

I had a mini-adventure this morning. There was a meeting with Don Eduardo, director of El Nuevo Globo newspaper, to go to his land and talk with some of the members of the community about land usage and some problems we've had with them planting crops in our sites.  Cheo came along for the ride and we happened to run into Don Eduardo at the entrance to the watershed. It was raining and he and his driver were wondering if they'd be able to drive in or not.  He cracked a joke about how Cheo and I were both in sandals.  We were able to drive in and then found the woman who previously claimed that we needed to have an ordinance to be able to build the fence we constructed for the 'Nuevo Globo' 2008 revegetation site, as well as the fellow who just planted corn for the second year in a row amidst the young trees at the Maria Dolores site (2007).  Fortunately none of the trees were harmed. Eduardo laid it out for the residents explaining that it was his land they were using (and claiming to have governance over) and that they had been using it without asking him permission.  The entire neighborhood there is constructed on his land and was a donation to the people.  There had been previous problems with some residents abusing his generosity.  We are meeting again next week to determine how to handle the issue of the baby corn that has been planted at the Maria Dolores site, but there shouldn't be any more conflicts in the future.  It was one of those times where things come together and several problems get resolved at once.  Also it was amazing to see Don Eduardo's deep passion for the projects we are doing on his land.

It's been raining for the past 3 days, a nice steady rain.  Perfect.

Clay

 Attachment:

  Perfil de Proyecto

Ecuador

22 de enero del 2008

Titulo del Proyecto:        Eco-Noticias, la difusión de noticias sobre Bahía Eco-Ciudad, los proyectos que existen dentro de allí y el medio ambiente

Solicitante:        Amigos de la Eco-ciudad

Organismo Ejecutor: Amigos de la Eco-ciudad y la Fundación Planet Drum

Beneficiarios:        Población de Bahía de Caráquez

Monto Total:        US$ 800 (2 años)  

I.  Marco de Referencia

Como Bahía de Caráquez es una Eco-ciudad es importante que la ciudadanía este informada de las actividades que se realizan, el municipio, los amigos de la eco-ciudad, las fundaciones y organizaciones a temas relacionados al medio ambiente.  En este proyecto habrán ocho publicaciones de los informes 'Eco-Noticias' durante dos años.

II.  Objetivos y Descripción

Objetivo general

Informar al público los eventos, actividades, y proyectos que se están realizando en la ciudad.

Objetivos específicos

  1. Investigación de todas las noticias que tienen que ver con el medio ambiente y Bahía de Caráquez.
  2. La publicidad de más que mil copias de un informe, una hoja de dos lados, cuatro veces al año por dos años.
  3. Concienciar a los estudiantes, habitantes, y oficiales de la ciudad del trabajo que se están realizando el municipio, los amigos de la eco-ciudad, las fundaciones y organizaciones.

Costos (US$ dólares)

CATEGORÍA

MONTO

Imprimir

US$500

Papel

US$100

Trabajo individual

US$200

TOTAL

US$800

 

III.  Beneficios y Riesgos

Apoyaremos los habitantes de la ciudad con la difusión de las noticias que contribuyen al mejoramiento del medio ambiente en la ciudad de Bahía de Caráquez.  

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Species Inventory Sheets:

Number 1:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Site

Watershed

Estimated Holes

Holes Dug

Trees Planted

 

Bosque en medio de las Ruinas

Bahia

100

 

 

 

La Cruz

Bahia

100

 

 

 

Don Pepe 2

Maria Dolores

226

226

215

 

El Nuevo Globo

Maria Dolores

200

200

200

 

Bosque Encantado 2

Fanca

287

252

252

 

La Granja

Fanca

250

271

270

 

???

Jorge Lomas

200

 

 

 

Alcalde

Fanca

300

 

 

 

Don Pedro Otero

El Toro

250

 

 

 

Greenhouse

Km 8

250

 

 

 

Total

 

2163

949

937

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Species in Greenhouse

#

Updated #

Remaining (Planned)

Remaining (Actual)

 

Algarrobo

258

319

154

154

 

Balsamo

0

39

18

17

 

Bototillo

0

33

12

11

 

Caoba

134

145

71

63

 

Cascol

17

21

8

11

 

Cedro

235

246

118

117

 

Ceibo

343

339

153

158

 

Dormilon

135

141

62

67

 

Fernan Sanchez

7

7

3

5

 

Guachapeli

215

224

90

95

 

Guarango

71

71

32

41

 

Guayacan

156

151

55

62

 

Jaboncillo

6

6

2

3

 

Moyuyo

250

250

95

105

 

Pechiche

88

88

38

38

 

Seca

85

84

39

39

 

Tierramonte

34

34

14

13

 

Total

2034

2198

964

999

Number 2:

Bosque Encantado 2

 

 

 

 

Goal to plant

287

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Species

Greenhouse

Avg for site

Plant @ Site

Already @ Site

 

Algarrobo

319

41.7

42

42

 

Balsamo

39

5.1

5

5

 

Bototillo

33

4.3

6

6

 

Caoba

145

18.9

19

19

 

Cascol

21

2.7

3

3

 

Cedro

246

32.1

28

28

 

Ceibo

339

44.3

43

43

 

Dormilon

141

18.4

15

15

 

Fernan Sanchez

7

0.9

1

 

 

Guachapeli

224

29.2

25

25

 

Guarango

71

9.3

7

 

 

Guayacan

151

19.7

28

28

 

Jaboncillo

6

0.8

1

1

 

Moyuyo

250

32.6

34

34

 

Pechiche

88

11.5

13

13

 

Seca

84

11.0

10

10

 

Tierramonte

34

4.4

5

5

 

 

2198

287.0

285

277

Number 3:

Don Pepe 2

 

 

 

 

Goal to plant

226

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Species

Greenhouse

Avg for site

Plant @ Site

Already @ Site

 

Algarrobo

319

32.8

37

37

 

Balsamo

39

4.0

4

4

 

Bototillo

33

3.4

4

4

 

Caoba

145

14.9

15

15

 

Cascol

21

2.2

2

2

 

Cedro

246

25.3

25

25

 

Ceibo

339

34.9

36

36

 

Dormilon

141

14.5

14

14

 

Fernan Sanchez

7

0.7

0

0

 

Guachapeli

224

23.0

23

23

 

Guarango

71

7.3

6

6

 

Guayacan

151

15.5

17

17

 

Jaboncillo

6

0.6

0

0

 

Moyuyo

250

25.7

20

20

 

Pechiche

88

9.0

9

9

 

Seca

84

8.6

9

9

 

Tierramonte

34

3.5

4

4

 

 

2198

226.0

225

225

Number 4:

El Nuevo Globo

 

 

 

 

Goal to plant

200

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Species

Greenhouse

Avg for site

Plant @ Site

Already @ Site

 

Algarrobo

319

29.0

30

30

 

Balsamo

39

3.5

3

3

 

Bototillo

33

3.0

3

3

 

Caoba

145

13.2

13

13

 

Cascol

21

1.9

2

2

 

Cedro

246

22.4

24

24

 

Ceibo

339

30.8

32

32

 

Dormilon

141

12.8

12

12

 

Fernan Sanchez

7

0.6

1

1

 

Guachapeli

224

20.4

23

23

 

Guarango

71

6.5

6

6

 

Guayacan

151

13.7

14

14

 

Jaboncillo

6

0.5

1

1

 

Moyuyo

250

22.7

23

23

 

Pechiche

88

8.0

8

8

 

Seca

84

7.6

7

7

 

Tierramonte

34

3.1

3

3

 

 

2198

200.0

205

205

Number 5:

La Granja

 

 

 

 

Goal to plant

250

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Species

Greenhouse

Avg for site

Plant @ Site

Already @ Site

 

Algarrobo

319

36.3

20

20

 

Balsamo

39

4.4

4

5

 

Bototillo

33

3.8

4

5

 

Caoba

145

16.5

17

25

 

Cascol

21

2.4

3

0

 

Cedro

246

28.0

30

30

 

Ceibo

339

38.6

35

30

 

Dormilon

141

16.0

20

15

 

Fernan Sanchez

7

0.8

1

0

 

Guachapeli

224

25.5

35

30

 

Guarango

71

8.1

12

10

 

Guayacan

151

17.2

17

10

 

Jaboncillo

6

0.7

1

0

 

Moyuyo

250

28.4

50

40

 

Pechiche

88

10.0

10

10

 

Seca

84

9.6

10

10

 

Tierramonte

34

3.9

4

5

 

 

2198

250.0

273

245

Number 6:

El Toro 2

 

 

 

 

 

Goal to plant

250

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Species

Greenhouse

Avg for site

Plant @ Site

Already @ Site

 

Algarrobo

319

36.3

36

36

 

Balsamo

39

4.4

5

5

 

Bototillo

33

3.8

4

4

 

Caoba

145

16.5

10

10

 

Cascol

21

2.4

3

3

 

Cedro

246

28.0

21

22

 

Ceibo

339

38.6

40

40

 

Dormilon

141

16.0

18

18

 

Fernan Sanchez

7

0.8

1

1

 

Guachapeli

224

25.5

28

28

 

Guarango

71

8.1

8

8

 

Guayacan

151

17.2

20

20

 

Jaboncillo

6

0.7

1

1

 

Moyuyo

250

28.4

28

28

 

Pechiche

88

10.0

10

10

 

Seca

84

9.6

9

9

 

Tierramonte

34

3.9

4

4

 

 

2198

250.0

246

247

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