La Reserva Forest Foundation

La Reserva Forest Foundation is a Costa Rican non-profit, tax exempt foundation working to restore and preserve native tropical forests, dedicated to creating "tree bridges" linking isolated forest islands using volunteers and the local school communities, and fighting global warming through various carbon neutral projects.
Jan 9, 2015

8000 Trees in Two Months

Starting out, the land is prepared/cleared
Starting out, the land is prepared/cleared

LRFF planted 7000 trees in July 2014 (you remember “For the Monkeys”) and another 1000 in September 2014, this time at the Maleku Indigenous Tribe Reserve again.

We planted Helen Hollenbeck's trees on September 8th at Nicida Elizondo's property in Palenque Margarita. It was a super hot day, full sun and there were 6 of us planting. YES me 2! A BIG thank you goes out to Beth Hollenbeck for her generous donation to honor her late sister, Helen, making this project possible. 

Helen was one of LRFF's first supporters, when I founded the organization in 2005 in Costa Rica. She was instrumental in putting together our first, local fundraiser at the nearby "party house". She continued to support our projects until her death almost two years ago. She now has a one-hectare forest that holds her spirit, along the Rio Sol adjacent to the 35-hectare Rio Sol Biological Corridor project planted in 2011 - 2012 (35,000 trees).

See the photos for a sequential view of the planting…another 1000 trees in the ground. They will sequester and store more than 20 metric tons of GHG emissions each year.

We finished the planting by 3 pm and then went to pay doña Nicida for the trees she raised in her nursery for six months prior to the planting. We planted over 95 native species. 

 

Maleku Cultural Festival

My family, the Maleku indigenous tribe, held their annual cultural festival the first weekend in October. I haven't attended since 2010 but made it a priority this year.  I didn't get many photos but my friend, Hiqui Maleku posted Ricardo Araya's professional quality photos and I wanted to share them with you...

One other contest was the Chicha drinking contest. Chicha is the Maleku version of wine or beer, fermented Yuca (Cassava), Corn or even Pineapple. This year the contestants were all women and Daisy won by drinking a large bowl in less than 45 seconds.

HAPPY NEW YEAR...and LET'S GET PLANTING IN 2015! 

Yours truly planting! :)
Yours truly planting! :)
Sharpening the machete
Sharpening the machete
1000 trees in the ground the same day
1000 trees in the ground the same day
Maleku cultural festival...fish anyone?
Maleku cultural festival...fish anyone?
Weaving
Weaving
Jan 2, 2015

A Sampling of Tropical Fruits Anyone?

Rambutan or Mamon Chino
Rambutan or Mamon Chino

Happy New Year, 2015! Thank you all for you generous support this past year. We look forward to serving you and our community again this year and have launched our new website at www.lrff.org for a start so please go check it out.

Just to give you an idea of some of the native fruits LRFF will plant with Angel Silva in his project, “Angel’s Fruit Forest” I decided to make this progress report an enticement, in the way of tropical fruits, to really get the juices (funds) flowing J This is such a great project and we’re hoping to plant it this year making it possible to begin harvesting some of the faster maturing varieties in two years, 2017. Be sure to see all of the photos of the different fruits for mouth-watering enticement. You might want to jump into some of these pics.

Angel already has over 1000 native cacao (chocolate) trees that will be planted in the project and the sooner the better because they’ve been sitting for more that a year now and getting root bound in their nursery bags. The Maleku use cacao as a sacred part of their ceremonies and drink it unsweetened. The pods are collected and a few of the seeds can be removed and eaten raw but not too many or you’ll be sorry later. Chocolate is used medicinally externally and consumed, YUM.

Guava, Guayaba in Spanish, is also used medicinally and the fruit eaten in a variety of ways. The leaves are used for medicine and we plant a lot of these already in our projects. In Costa Rica the fruit is used in jams, juices, sauces and eaten whole. The wildlife are crazy about them as well, birds, monkeys, squirrels, insects…

Star Fruit, Carambola in Spanish, is a small, bushy tree. The fruits are delicious and beautiful. The fruit is sour and acidic and it is used in natural drinks and cut crosswise makes a lovely garnish.

Soursop, Guanabana in Spanish, is a funny looking fruit that sprouts out of the trunk of the tree like cacao. The skin is bumpy and leathery but inside is the most luscious flesh you can imagine, creamy, white with large black seeds. Medicine made from the leaves and fruit is said to be 10,000 times more powerful in the treatment of cancer than chemotherapy.

Mango is my favorite fruit, I don’t know about you. There are thousands of varieties in the world and many grown here in Costa Rica.

Passion fruit, Maracuya in Spanish, grows on a vine that will do great in the fruit forest habitat because it uses the trees to climb upon. The leaves are useful medicinally by making into a tea or tincture and ingesting as a sedative. The fruits, yellowish, ovoid pods filled with black seeds all enveloped in a bright orange pulp, can be eaten, seeds and all, by scooping them out of the pod with a teaspoon and are said to be a natural deworming medication if one eats one fruit this way each day. Mainly used for natural drinks, desserts and sauces.

The Peach Palm, Pejibaye in Spanish, is a tall palm tree whose trunk is covered in long, super sharp spines. They do very well in the Maleku Reserve area and I can remember when we first came here in the 80’s when the Maleku people used to haul the big bunches of Pejibayes over the hill on the bus and set up in front of the bus station in central Tilaran where I live. It was very beautiful to see their smiling faces with all the bright fruits in the foreground.

Lastly the amazing Rambutan, Mamon Chino in Spanish, it’s the first photo in this lineup. The strangest looking fruit but inside is a little juicy fruit, kind of like a grape with a large seed. A person can eat a lot of them and as you can see they grow prolifically in big bunches on the trees. I’ve even eaten them stewed, like prunes, in Jamaica.

Are you hungry yet...because this isn’t even half of the native tropical fruits we will plant in this project. You are hungry, mouth watering…well come on then, put out the word, share this project with your friends and on your social networks so we can…

GET PLANTING ANGEL’S FRUIT FOREST IN 2015!

Cacao = Chocolate
Cacao = Chocolate
Star Fruit or Carambola
Star Fruit or Carambola
Peach Palm or Pejibaye on the tree
Peach Palm or Pejibaye on the tree
Mango
Mango
Guava or Guayaba
Guava or Guayaba
Passion Fruit or Maracuya
Passion Fruit or Maracuya
Soursop or Guanabana, some call it Graviola
Soursop or Guanabana, some call it Graviola

Links:

Dec 30, 2014

MALEKU PERSPECTIVE

Maleku warrior in play depicting traditional life
Maleku warrior in play depicting traditional life

Since “Uplifting Tribal Artisans….”, has quite a ways to go for full funding I decided to share a recent visit to the Maleku Reserve so you have an idea of the cultural activities they practice and offer to visitors.

My friend and board member of LRFF, Gretchen Engbring and her family traveled to Costa Rica from Oregon for the Christmas holidays. One day just before Christmas day we drove over to the Acosta Elizondo “rancho” in Palenque Sol to enjoy a full tour.

The day began with a short presentation in which Jimmy Acosta explained some of the Maleku history, beliefs and traditions. The introduction was followed by a walk in the small forest adjacent to the “rancho” where Jahiro Cruz taught us about medicinal plants, how to use them and pointed out resident wildlife.

Back at the “rancho” a lunch, served by Jimmy’s sisters Nancy and Amanda, awaited us. Fish is prepared by wrapping it in Hoja de Estrella leaves and platanillo leaves and roasting on hot rocks. The leaves have the flavor of licorice and the fish has a moist, flaky texture with the slight taste of licorice.

The climax was the theater that the family performed. They have 3 different plays, all involving a typical Maleku family with some internal problem or other. The plays always begin with Jimmy explaining what is going to happen because the entire play is done in the Maleku language, Maleku haica.

The day ended with a bow and arrow contest, each guest got a few homemade arrows and a bow to try and hit the trunk of a banana plant. The bow is made from the Pejibaye palm tree, the arrow shafts made from the Yolillo palm and the cord is made from a spiny plant by the women who extract the fiber and roll it over and over on their leg.

In this project, Uplifting Tribal Artists, we will be enabling many different artists from the Maleku tribe to display their artwork and members of the entire tribe to participate and benefit from these types of cultural events. So come on everyone….

LET’S GIVE THEM A LEG UP!

Maleku drum w/ carved jaguar at front
Maleku drum w/ carved jaguar at front
Back of the jaguar drum with lovely bird paintings
Back of the jaguar drum with lovely bird paintings
With Jahiro on the the forest walk
With Jahiro on the the forest walk
Gretchen and her dad, John...what are they looking
Gretchen and her dad, John...what are they looking
They are looking at this, a Fer de Lance
They are looking at this, a Fer de Lance
Jahiro moves it away from the trail for our safety
Jahiro moves it away from the trail for our safety
Having a grand time we are!
Having a grand time we are!
Back at the rancho we watch the drama unfold
Back at the rancho we watch the drama unfold

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