We are pleased to announce the release of "Sabiduría de los Rocosos," an artbook of stories and pictures created by the Quiché children of Totonicapán, Guatemala. Guided by ArtCorps Fellow Isabel Carrio, the children interviewed their grandparents for traditional stories about Mayan cosmology, history and culture and then created illustrations using a variety of media including drawing and painting, printmaking and collage incorporating natural objects like leaves, flowers, sticks and sheep’s wool into many of the pictures.
EcoLogic has collaborated with local partner, the 48 Cantons of Totonicapán, a traditional Maya-Quiché governing body, since 2003 helping to restore and protect the old-growth forest and other natural resources. One way to do this is help the Quiché record and preserve the history of their traditional practices and teach those to the next generation. "Sabiduría de los Rocosos," which loosely translates as "Wisdom of the Rocky Hillsides," provided a way to connect families to that history in a personal way. The stories highlight the importance of traditional forest resource management and the interconnection between the Maya-Quiché's livelihood and the environment.
This book is the result of our partnership with ArtCorps. Since 2009, ArtCorps fellows have served at select EcoLogic project sites, using art and personal expression activities to engage people of all ages in environmental and social justice initiatives. Moving forward, EcoLogic and ArtCorps hope to raise funds to publish hard copies of Los Rocosos and also create an English version. In the new year we will post a full version of the book on our website—stay tuned!
Take a sneak peek at a few pages from the book.
In December, EcoLogic Program Officer Chris Patterson took a trip down to the communities of Ixcán and Sarstún Guatemala to meet some of the farmers currently working with and incorporating agroforesty into their farm land. While there, he collected data on how their plants are growing. From 5:00 in the morning until to 8:00 at night, Chris and a team of dedicated staff, field experts, and interns met with farmers, toured the land, and compiled data on how the trees were growing.
The team randomly selected 15 inga trees per plot for recording tree height and growth. Inga is the type of tree used on these agroforestry plots. By integrating inga into their agriculture, farmers can reduce erosion, provide a source of organic fertilizer, maintain a healthy climate for crops, and increase yield thus reducing the need to clear more forests for agricultural lands. If trees were chest height, the team took the diameter and a small soil sample to have a baseline of the soil quality before the trees reach maturity.
By taking advantage of the natural benefits of trees, small-scale farmers can use agroforestry to produce more using less land, easing their burden while improving their crops. We’ll continue to keep you up to date on our activities around the growing agroforestry plots in Guatemala.
In the coastal towns of Punta Alegre and Puerto Lara in the Gulf of San Miguel, Panama, EcoLogic recently held a community workshop on: "Why and How to Plant Trees." The workshop highlighted the benefits of reforestation especially the reforestation of watersheds. Workshops like this allow communities to learn the process and rationale behind reforesting, and reinforce their interest in participating in the project. Through education and learning exchanges, the communities of San Miguel are learning how to preserve their watershed and improve their own well being. Our work in Panama is just another way we are connecting the dots between the health of the planet and its people.
The relationship between forest conservation and water provision is central to EcoLogic’s work in this region, as it is positioned at the very intersection of environmental conservation and meeting people’s needs. Workshops that engage people in the technical know-how as well as the real-life application of reforestation provide the communities with long-term solutions and reliable access to clean water.