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Reports from Planet Drum Staff
Eco-Ecuador Project 2011

Index to 2011 Reports, Set 6 (August 29-October 28, 2011)

Field Report #7

Clay Plager-Unger
Field Projects Manager
Planet Drum Foundation
August 29-October 28, 2011

Note: Click on photos for larger picture  

Panorama of Anneliese watering at the greenhouse.

The past couple of months have been spent focusing on the greenhouse and getting trees ready for planting in the 2012 rainy season. We have surpassed 5,000 trees that will be ready. We have a ton of native fruit trees (Guayaba, Pechiche, and Chirimoya) and lots and lots of other species. Fruit trees tend to be good for donating to the communities and people around town. The others are great for preventing soil erosion because they grow quickly and don’t need much water.


Alicia and the students from Fanny de Baird who have worked with the Bioregionalismo class and also the Global Student Embassy visited the greenhouse to help transplant trees.

Orlando explaining tree transplanting technique to the students.

Liz watering the Ceibo seedbed.
Ramon passes baby Ceibo trees to Liz and the visiting students to plant in the bottles.

We’ve also made a couple of new additions to the greenhouse. The old ramada with it’s falling down roof was replaced with a new, taller one. It is made out of bamboo and thatch, two of the most sustainable local building materials available. We had some left over thatch from the new ramada, so we decided to buy some more bamboo and make another shade device nearby. These ramadas serve as places to work out of the sun, rest when we need a break, and also as a way to provide shade for recently transplanted trees, which may be sensitive to too much sunlight. Ceibos, for example, are particularly sensitive when they are first transplanted.


Aaron, Sam, Spencer and Miles prepare soil for transplanting trees.
Orlando and Alicia transplanting more Ceibos.

We have also accomplished seed collecting and seed preparation. A couple thousand Guachapeli seeds were collected and removed from their shells for storage until next year. Jaboncillo seeds were also collected in the Astillero barrio.


The crew at work.
Transplanting baby Jaile trees.

On a regular basis we go out for a walk to collect bottles. Neighborhood residents are now accustomed to seeing us out looking for bottles and have started helping us by collecting bottles in their houses in sacks. Now when we walk through town we just pick up the sacks and are able to collect a lot more bottles much faster. We have promised to donate baby trees to the households which have helped us collect the bottles. Routinely collecting bottles like this has meant that we no longer need to go out looking for bottles in the trash. Quite the improvement!


We also paid a visit to the Planet Drum land to work on the access road. We got in some solid machete work clearing back brush that was overgrowing the way in. Volunteers sharpen machetes at the tent platform.

In addition to continuing greenhouse maintenance, in the next couple of months we will be talking with landowners about creating new revegetation sites and prepare them for planting. This will involved a lot of macheteing trails and digging holes. If you want to get your hands dirty repairing damaged ecosystems, come volunteer!


A close up of a Chirimoya plant growing in a plastic bottle with mushrooms popping up around the trunk. 

 

 

Photo by Leah Garfield-Wright.


Close ups of Guachapeli, Guayaba, and Pechiche trees.

 Photo by Leah Garfield-Wright.


From left to right: plastic bottles that have been cut waiting to be filled with soil, sacks of saw dust for mixing in the compost are stored under the new thatch roof, a biology professor from the University comes out to chat at the greenhouse, each coral of trees holds between one hundred and one hundred and twenty trees.

 Photo by Leah Garfield-Wright.

A lizard hanging out around the new thatch roof perches on a Tierramonte plant.

           Pásalo bien,
                 Clay

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