Reports from Planet Drum Staff
Eco-Ecuador Project 2014
Ecuador Program Director
Planet Drum Foundation
July 30 - August 29, 2014
Note: Click on photos for larger picture
In August, Planet Drum hosted several educational workshops
at the greenhouse with students from the Fanny de Baird School in Bahia and
the Padre Jorge Paladines High School in San Vicente. The visiting students
were given a brief lecture on the main features of the dry forest bioregion
and a tour of the greenhouse. Afterwards, they participated in the
revegetation process by assisting in transplanting seedlings into reutilized
plastic bottles. Before going home, each student was offered a tree or two
to take with them.
||Clay talks about Dry Tropical Forest revegetation to a group of
students from Fanny de Baird.
|Orlando explains the composting process to the visiting
||The students tour the greenhouse to see the different aspects of
the project firsthand.
|Students assist in transplanting trees.
Nearly all of the students who visit thoroughly enjoy the experience. Many
ask questions such as: Which trees are native and non-native? How long do
certain trees take to produce fruit? And, when can they return to help out
||Students from San Vicente tour the greenhouse.
|Part of the workshop involves cutting plastic bottles to prepare
them for reuse as tree containers.
||Students are eager to participate in the work.
|Nicole, Orlando's daughter, came along on this day and shared an
intriguing story comparing the value of money to the value of nature with
In order to hold such frequent workshops, many different materials and
preparations are needed. Seeds and seedlings are needed so that students
have something to transplant while at the greenhouse. Both of these are
collected in the field, which requires finding, collecting, and preparing
them. Most seeds are planted directly in the seedbeds for germination.
Others are stored for later. Several vendors at the market now assist in
collecting damaged fruits for us to retrieve the seeds from.
||During an excursion to the Rio Canoa area, Orlando and the
volunteers collect seedlings of Cedro, Fernán Sanchez, Lengua de Vaca, and
Tillo. The seedlings have germinated alongside a riverbed and were delicated
pulled up and transported to the greenhouse for transplanting.
|Grace (Australia) and Joe (US) help to remove seeds from damaged
Oranges that were collected at the Bahía market.
||We also experimented with tossing the squished up fruit directly
into the seedbed.
Soil must be prepared for the seedbeds and for transplanting the seedlings.
Each workshop uses a large pile of soil that gets filled into the plastic
bottles. One of the main ingredients of the soil mix is finished compost.
The compost pile must be constantly fed food scraps, which are collected
from the house, our neighbors, and at the market. The other ingredient for
compost is saw dust. Since the compost production has been dramatically
increased recently, the need for sawdust has gone up proportionally. An
entire morning was dedicated to acquiring sawdust from a local saw mill.
||A truckload of sawdust is dropped off at the greenhouse, and a
large sack full of plastic bottle tops is sent to the recyclers.
|Orlando, Grace, Joe, and Kory water and tend to the trees.
||Harold Rivandeniera from the National Electric Company visits
the greenhouse to discuss continued collaboration with Planet Drum on the
'Electric Tree' project.
In addition to hosting workshops at the greenhouse, Planet Drum also partook
in an open house held at the Universidad Catolica (where the greenhouse is
located). Many students visited our table and several groups received in
depth presentations on the revegetation project. We even used the event to
donate trees directly to interested visitors.
||Clay shows off the Planet Drum stand at the Universidad Catolica
|During the open house, Clay explains the Revegetation Project to
a group of students from Tosagua.
||Orlando engages visitors in a discussion on revegetation
The quantity of trees at the greenhouse is growing rapidly and we are
organizing, maintaining, and expanding it accordingly. Watering all of
the plants at the greenhouse now takes one person most of the morning. We
are also repairing and expanding greenhouse infrastructure to accommodate
the increased tree production - more on this next time.
||August 26th: Probably due to unusual weather patterns this year,
a Guayacan tree flowers out of season in downtown Bahía. Typically this
occurs sometime around December and is a signal of the upcoming rainy
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