Dear Friends, I'm copying here Camino Verde's latest email Missive, which was very popular with our supporters this month. Please let me know if you'd like to be included directly on our email list. We send out Missives 3 or 4 times a year. I hope you enjoy it! ....
Camino Verde is in an exciting period of transformation and growth. Now, usually in these missives I give you a summary of what's new with Camino Verde. And I will do so, briefly, at the end of this one. But first I want to tell you a bit about what makes the work we do so meaningful to me. When people ask me what Camino Verde does, I tell them what our mission says: we plant trees. And encourage others to plant trees too. This usually makes people think of little seedlings in planting bags, or the image of hands carefully placing a plant into the soil. And indeed it was a photo of just that which appeared on one of our very first missives. But now when I'm out walking in the twenty acres of trees we've reforested, it seems to me that the seedling maybe isn't the appropriate image anymore. The exact tree pictured in that old missive photo is now taller than me. We have breadfruits that are perfectly respectable climbing trees at this point. Pink cedars that at two years old are eight inches in diameter and several stories high. Jackfruits that are adorned with watermelon-sized offspring. Hundreds of trees planted by our partner farmers that are now taller than the farmers themselves. And it's a particular thrill to stand in the midst of five hundred moena hardwoods that are now all nearing ten feet tall, remembering well the month we planted them all. Maybe I should be telling folks, "We plant trees, and then we take care of them." We watch in awe as they grow past us in size and weight and majesty. We end up wide-eyed at their power and humbled at how their lives improve, and even allow for, our own lives. We pretend that we're the ones doing important work, while they silently remove tons of carbon from the atmosphere and help the soil spill over with microscopic life. We are in the business of sitting at the feet of the true master environmentalists. At least that's how it feels to me. That, and it feels like an honor. To advocate, to steward, to serve these extraordinary and beautiful bearers of life. Since the average Camino Verde tree is no longer a baby, it seems to make sense that we are now building our own plant nursery to keep bringing in those new generations. The first nursery module for producing a thousand seedlings a year was finished this month (photos here). Everything comes full circle. The organization isn't a seedling anymore either. In 2012 we continue to deepen our alliance with the Center for Amazon Community Ecology, creating sustainability standards for the harvest of Amazonian medicinal plants and developing community-level reforestation plans. We're about to raise a 20-foot water tower to keep our nursery well supplied. The Peruvian Society for Environmental Law just awarded us a grant to build a visitor center to receive our increasingly frequent stream of volunteers. Carpe Diem Education placed an intern with us for a semester and brings another group of students our way in April. And we just got a total of 2500 trees into the ground to start the year off right-- 1500 we planted ourselves, and 1000 that went to our partner farmers. These are just a few of the accomplishments that keep us busy. But what makes me so proud is to see so many seedlings that we planted, many from seeds we harvested from the forest, now towering above us, providing shade, making the world beautiful and livable, teaching us what it really means to care about the Earth. The name Camino Verde refers to a path of cherishing and fostering life. And on this path it is the trees who are our great teachers. My warm greetings, and gratitude always for your awareness and support.
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