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Reports from Planet Drum Staff
Eco-Ecuador Project 2012-2013

Index to 2012 Reports, Set 6 (November 2012-January 2013)

Field Report #6

Clay Plager-Unger
Project Program Director
Planet Drum Foundation
November 2012 - January 2013

Field Report

Note: Click on photos for larger picture.

There have been a number of developments related to the Planet Drum projects here in Bahía in the past few months. In November, we received a visit from Judy, Planet Drum Director, her daughter Ocean, and grandchildren Florence and Stellie. While they were here, Bahía unveiled a plaque honoring Peter Berg and the work that he was done here with Planet Drum. There was also a beautiful ceremony where the Mayor and Patricio Tamariz spoke about the impact that Peter created by working for so many years in Bahia. It was a moving morning where the fruits of Peter’s labor were celebrated by the city of Bahia. The plaque has been installed at the entrance of city hall and was unveiled by his daughter and grandchildren.


Judy receives a memorial plaque and flowers from Dr. Carlos Mendoza, Bahia’s mayor.

Judy gives a speech and Clay translates.

The audience for Peter’s memorial ceremony.

From left to right: Florence, Stellie, Ocean, Judy, Carlos Mendoza, Patricio, and Clay in front of the plaque dedicated to Peter.

Close-Up of the plaque.
Patricio gives a speech while a slideshow of Planet Drum photos rolls in the background.

Also in November, Orlando’s daughter, Nicole, who was a Planet Drum Bioregionalista, was chosen to be profiled for a national television program that follows young Ecuadorians lives and their interests. Nicole decided that she wanted to shoot a segment for the program at the greenhouse, so we spent an afternoon there rehearsing lines and filming parts of the greenhouse work that Nicole found most interesting.


Nicole films a segment for an Ecuadorian television program at the greenhouse.

In the office, a second Rufford Small Grants Foundation donation will help us advance the Revegetation Project. We’ve committed to producing at least 8,000 native trees in the greenhouse for 2013 and will be working more directly with regional communities, organizations, and international groups. PD's goal is to become the headquarters for Dry Tropical Forest revegetation in the province.

A friend from San Clemente takes a truckload of trees to plant with local residents and school kids.

A  Revegetation Manual has been created with extensive help from Hari Khalsa, an intern during the Fall 2012. The Manual has 24 pages, is in English and Spanish and has numerous illustrations. It explains in detail the entire revegetation process, from seed collecting, to greenhouse construction, to site selection, planting and maintenance. It also provides an introduction to bioregional perspectives, including examples of sustainable, local business ideas and practical methods to put bioregional theories into practice. We will be able to include copies of the Revegetation Manual with the trees we distribute thanks to support from the Rufford. Digital copies will also be available on the website. As much as possible, we will accompany tree distribution with workshops about tree planting, bioregional ideas, and revegetation techniques.  2013 looks to be an exciting year for Planet Drum’s Revegetation Project!


Hari works on a mural, which was one of the many projects she undertook while interning with Planet Drum.

The brand new Revegetation Manual.

In field work, volunteers were watering and maintaining revegetation sites from last year as the dry season gave way to the rainy season in early January. Also, there has been lots of work at the greenhouse to keep tree production up. Bottles were collected and cut. Seeds were collected and prepared. We have a huge collection of Tamarind seeds, which is always a very popular tree. We are also gathering a large collection of Guachapeli seeds, which has a fantastic survival rate. Orlando says that this year lots of people are asking for Algarrobo trees, so we will have to boost production at the greenhouse.


Planet Drum remove Guachapeli seeds from their shells for storage.
Trees at the greenhouse.

As the seasons change, so does our work schedule. We no longer have to water  in the field and can focus energy on the greenhouse and planting trees in the field. Planet Drum donated a large number of trees to the Global Student Embassy (GSE) group which is headed this year by long time Planet Drum partner Ramon and his GSE counterpart, Lucas. They are leading a tree-planting campaign on Ramon’s family land at Punta Gorda. 


GSE students help out for a morning at the greenhouse. Here they prepare Guachapeli seeds.

GSE students cutting bottles at the greenhouse.
Ricky and two GSE students fill bottles with soil for transplanting trees.

Planet Drum accompanied GSE on one of their tree planting work days. We helped make trails, dig holes and plant trees in the heart of Dry Tropical Forest. Since GSE was unable to plant all of the trees that were delivered to the site, Planet Drum will be paying them a second visit to ensure that the trees are properly planted there.


Wyeth from GSE explains to a group of students the differences of some of the Planet Drum trees that they will plant at Punta Gorda Nature Reserve.
Planet Drum spends a morning assisting with GSE tree planting at Punta Gorda.

As is typically the case, the rains began in early January. They have been light rains, mostly in during the night, with an occasional drizzly day here and there. We’ve yet to have a hard rain yet, which is actually a good thing, since the lighter rains allow for better penetration into the soil. On cue, Guayacan trees have flowered with their beautiful yellow flowers, Ceibo trees are sprouting bright green leaves, and the red flowers of the Acacia tree have come out. Everywhere, patches of brown are turning into green.

A view of the inside of the greenhouse.

Community members from Bellavista and acquaintances of Planet Drum have been requesting trees from Orlando, who has been distributing them as necessary. Now that we have the Revegetation Manuals, we will schedule tree-planting workshops in the areas that will receive trees.

It’s an exciting time of year and we have a solid group of volunteers who are helping enormously with the Revegetation Project. The greenhouse is in spectacular shape and we are excited to be distributing trees to the region.

          Pásalo bien,
                     Clay

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