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Reports from Planet Drum Staff
Eco-Ecuador Project 2014

Index to 2014 Reports, Set 1

Field Report #1

Clay Plager-Unger
Ecuador Program Director
Planet Drum Foundation
November 5, 2013 - February 5, 2014

Field Report

Note: Click on photos for larger picture.


We ended 2013 with visits to the greenhouse from several more groups of students from the Sathya Sai and Montufar schools. The children thoroughly enjoyed the visits. Some of the younger groups of kids were actually the most knowledgeable during the lecture portion of the workshop and enthusiastic doing the hands-on work.

Orlando instructs students from Sathya Sai on tree transplanting.
Students transplant Mandarina trees.


With help from the groups of students at the greenhouse, we were able to reach our goal of producing 8,000 trees at the greenhouse. 36 different native species were propagated. Half of the species and production totals were fruit-producing varieties.

Sathya Sai students are quizzed on how much they know about native flora and fauna in the region.
Students inside the greenhouse learn about how to grow trees.

Cabo de Hacha and Amarillo seeds were collected.

Orlando holds up an Amarillo seed that was collected from a single tree that had an excellent production this year at the Saiananda nature park.

One morning was spent inspecting a possible revegetation sites behind the Sathya Sai school.

Orlando overlooks a hillside that is a potential revegetation site.

The end of the year typically marks the end of the dry season and the beginning of the wet season. This year was similar, although the wet season had a little bit of a slow start in the Bahía region. As such, we've begun focusing our energy on distributing trees to communities, partner organizations, and anyone who is interested in helping the environment by planting and caring for native trees.

CNEL workers pick up trees at the greenhouse for distribution throughout the Manabí province.

In late December, CNEL (the national power company) came to pick up 987 fruit trees that were distributed to multiple different communities in the region. In rural areas, where new electrical infrastructure is being constructed, each household received one or two trees for planting. The trees were of varieties that are well adapted to each area and were specifically requested by community members, so they should be properly cared for. Hopefully we will have the opportunity to visit some of the communities to meet personally with the different residents and see where the trees were planted.

Sathya Sai students receive native trees from Planet Drum for Christmas.

Just before Christmas, we held a small tree donation campaign of our own with the students from the Sathya Sai and Montufar schools who participated in revegetation workshops. Each student that visited the greenhouse got to request a tree to plant at their house. We took orders from each class and then delivered the trees to their schools for each student to take home. 153 trees were delivered to students at the Sathya Sai school and 102 at Montufar.

Sathya Sai students with their Planet Drum Christmas trees.
Students at the Montufar school also took home trees for Christmas.

In early January, Global Student Embassy picked up a truckload of trees (330) for planting as part of their reforestation efforts with international volunteers and local workers. Two truck loads of trees (250) were sent to land owners in the Rio Muchacho community.

2013 Planet Drum volunteer Kath and friends deliver trees to the Rio Muchacho community.

In January, we also continued to transplant more seedlings to bottles for the 2014 production since there are seedbeds of Guayaba, Tierre de monte, Guachapeli, Mandarina, Naranja, Pomarosa, and Guava de Machete that are ready. We'd made contact with the administrations at the Vicente Hurtado (private) and Miguel Valverde (public) schools about taking groups of students to the greenhouse for workshops. They were very receptive to the idea, particularly the teachers, who think that this is a fantastic opportunity for the students to learn and experience something new. So far, two groups from Vicente Hurtado and one group from Miguel Valverde have visited the greenhouse.

Orlando talks compost to a group of students from the Vicente Hurtado school.
Students fill bottles with reutilized plastic bottles with soil for transplanting trees.
Students planting Guava de Machete seedlings.

We will be talking with many more schools in the area about collaboration this year as well. And since schools will be on vacation from March through April, we will look into working directly with local community groups to see if there is interest in doing workshops, too.

Orlando explains how to fill bottles with soil to a group of students from the Miguel Valverde School.
Students filling bottles.

 

At the end of the workshop, each student takes a tree home.

Aside from distributing 2013 trees and producing new 2014 trees, we will also design and plant a few revegetation sites ourselves with help from a couple of new volunteers who are arriving in early February.
 

Pásalo bien,
Clay
 

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