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Reports from Planet Drum Staff
Eco-Ecuador Project 2011

Index to 2011 Reports, Set 5 (June 28-August 26, 2011)

Field Report #6

Clay Plager-Unger
Field Projects Manager
Planet Drum Foundation
June 28-August 26, 2011

Note: Click on photos for larger picture  


Guillaume, Anneliese, and Anja collect Cascol seeds that fell into a patio in downtown Bahia.
Anja and Orlando pick Tierramonte seeds off of the bushy tree in a park in town.
Upclose shot of a Tierramonte seedpod that has opened.
Anja carrying gallon jugs with water at the revegetation site on the hill behind the greenhouse. 

 

 

Photo by Darren.

 

After a morning of work at the greenhouse, we wait to catch the bus back to Bahia. 

 

Photo by Darren.

 

Darren transplants baby Chirimoya plants. 

 

 

Photo by Anja.

 

Freya up on the hill at the Universidad Catolica, fixes up the holes that trees were planted in so that they hold water better, and fills them with dry leaves for mulch and to maintain humidity.
Anneliese and Orlando tend to the trees that we planted six months ago. This site (434 trees) has a mortality rate of less than 3% so far.
This is the view from the top of the hill looking back in the direction of Bahia and includes the entire region in which Planet Drum focuses its revegetation project. 

 

Photo by Thomas Ryan Haac.

Volunteers from the visiting group representing the Children of Ecuador Foundation help out at the greenhouse by tackling an enormous pile of three-liter soda bottles that are transformed into the tree containers.
The Children of Ecuador volunteers also helped with other greenhouse tasks such as mixing soil and transplanting trees. Thanks guys!
As you can see from this bed of germinating Guayaba seeds, we have no shortage of trees that need transplanting. There are easily 1,000 baby trees in this seedbed alone!
We loaded up a rented truck with Bamboo (Caña) to use to rebuild the thatch ramada at the greenhouse. 

 

 

Photo by Thomas Ryan Haac.

Tom and Orlando are quick to get to work at constructing a new ramada with the bamboo materials. 

 

Photo by Darren.

Anneliese and the partially finished ramada. 

 

Photo by Thomas Ryan Haac.

Jack, Guillaume, Tom, Orlando, and our trusty rental truck driver, Don Elember, loaded up and ready for work.
Orlando shows off a perfect Ceibo seed pod without its shell. The white cottony material is connected to the seeds inside and helps disperse them in the wind. It can also be collected for making pillows or even mattresses.
Participants in a traveling environmental course with the Amazon Mycorenewal Project visited the Planet Drum projects and spent an afternoon at the greenhouse learning about revegetation and helping to transplant Jaboncillo trees.
We had a temporary water shortage at the greenhouse and had to manually water the trees with buckets and gallon jugs usually reserved for watering trees out at the revegetation sites.
The Amazon Mycorenewal Project group visited the Bioregional Sustainability Institute site. We spent the morning discussing methods for developing the program and exploring the land. Photo by Anneliese Sytsma.
Despite having an excellent tour of the land and getting to explore and identify numerous native plants and trees and funguses, we were also confronted with some of the glaringly negative human impacts in the area. Someone had entered our land and cut two hollowed out (yet still alive) trees to collect honey from a hive that bees had made inside. This unwelcome activity is a reality of how people are extracting whatever resources possible from the land. Hopefully the disturbed hive will be able to relocate, and most likely the tree will survive having its main trunk cut, by growing new shoots, a common ability of local tree species. Cloud Forest Institute Program Director and Amazon Mycorenewal Project organizer Freeda Burnstad takes a closer look at the hive panels.
Planet Drum volunteers and AMP students take a break on the tent platform to have lunch.
Anneliese attaches the thatch roof to the Bamboo frame for the ramada at the greenhouse. 

 

Photo by Orlando Arias.

Orlando uses a modified pair of pruners attached to the end of a collapsible metal pole to cut down Ceibo seed pods directly from the tree. 

 

Photo by Anneliese Sytsma.

We took a short trip to the San Clemente area (20 minutes south of Bahia) to collect Ceibo seeds from some prime specimens. Anneliese goes for the catch as Orlando snips a ripe seed pod from the tree.
Here’s a shot of the greenhouse with the almost finished ramada. Bottles with transplanted trees abound and mounds of soil await even more transplants.
Lately Mot-Mot birds have been paying us visits at the greenhouse. This one likes to perch on the branches of a young Algarrobo tree near the compost piles.

           Pásalo bien,
                 Clay

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