The rains have begun in Costa Rica. It’s the perfect time for planting trees. Unfortunately the 8 hectares in this project can’t be planted until something is done about the African grasses that dominate the pasture. One option would be to spray the whole field with herbicides, but that would have a negative environmental impact on the area, including inhibiting the growth of newly planted trees. In addition, there are any number of animals who have made their homes in the dense matt of grasses. We don’t want to wipe out their entire habitat with poisons.
The alternative, therefore, is to use manual labor to clear multiple swaths across the field wide enough to allow young trees to grow to the point where they will out-compete the grasses. This tactic allows for a period of transition in which the species populating the area will gradually shift. It is also labor-intensive and time-consuming. We estimate it will take over a month to create enough clear space that the trees planted will be able to thrive. Of course, it will also create much-needed jobs for locals. (As in the United States, the down-turn of the economy has left many local people searching for work.)
Your help with this project will accomplish two goals. It will help provide jobs and it will begin the transformation of the last large open field on the La Reserva property back to native forest.
HEADS UP! Next Wednesday, June 16th from 12 midnight to 11:59pm Global Giving will be matching all donation up to $1000/donor/project. Give a generous donation to Project Hometree on that day and remind your friends as well. Just think if you can only afford to donate $10 that donation will be $15, plus we don’t have to pay GG the 15% commission on these matching funds.
Ten years ago La Reserva was nearly all pasture land. Natural reforestation has allowed most of the property to once again become home to a wide variety of flora and fauna that needed the food and protection provided by forest and was absent in pastures. It has been exciting to watch the return of local and migrating birds and to see an increase in the population of sloths and howler monkeys. Roberta’s blog, which can be found at http//:lrff.org, notes when new species are spotted out in the forest. But it appeared that the white-faced (Capuchin) monkey which once thrived in the area was gone for good. The statistics about the declining population of all four types of monkeys in Costa Rica was a sad confirmation of that assumption. All four species are now on the endangered species list in Costa Rica. Last year when Roberta saw a single white-faced monkey there was a good deal of speculation about whether these intelligent primates were, in fact, coming back. However, as Roberta said at the time: “One monkey can’t do it alone!” So this year there has been much rejoicing at the sighting of a pair of Capuchin monkeys within the primary forest of La Reserva. There is great hope that they will be the beginning of a family group that will grow and occupy a niche in this forest preserve.
The last eight (8) hectares of La Reserva won’t return to natural forest without help. The imported African grass has formed a matt so dense that seedlings cannot take hold. Your help is needed to fund this project that will create more forest for all the species that thrive in this area, including the white-faced monkey.
The Avatar Experience
Two weeks ago, today, we experienced Avatar in a 3-D cinema. It was amazing and blew me away. I felt as though I were “in” the movie. Walking along the Hometree’s branches was as if I were back home in the top of La Reserva’s own Hometree, Papa Loco, the giant Ceiba (Kapok) tree.
At this cycle of the year the bromeliads have already flowered some months back and now the seedpods are dry. Within each seed pod there is a multitude very small seeds. On each seed is a fuzzy puff so that when the breeze blows the seeds are wafted along on the air and attach to another tree. When the rains begin in a couple of months some of the seeds germinate to create new bromeliad plants. These puffs in the air that follow me throughout the day remind of the puffs that were in Avatar. If anyone knows the name of them please remind me, I can’t remember.
The point is that Avatar’s scenery was an exaggerated tropical, rain forest. Whoever came up with all of this has spent time in the tropical forests of the world, most definitely.
This coming Tuesday, March 16th, global Giving will be matching all donations by 30% up to $1000 per donor. Here is our opportunity to get this project funded so that we can plant it during the rainy season.
COME ON EVERYBODY, LET’S GET PLANTING!!
Avatar, the biggest movie ever made was released on December 18th. The environmental message takes place on an alien planet that is a metaphor for Earth and what is happening here.
Giant Studios had commemorative wristbands made to give away at the screening party they held for the cast and crew on December 16th. Each wristband is embossed with AVATAR, GIANT STUDIOS and PROJECT HOMETREE. Together we created a small booklet that was attached to each wristband talking about the collaboration between Giant Studios and the La Reserva Forest Foundation with before and after photos of tropical reforestation.
Before the movie’s release we jointly created a new URL at http://projecthometree.org When this link is clicked it takes you directly to the LRFF website (http://lrff.org) and the new page we created there for Project Hometree. Giant Studios has also included Project Hometree on their website at http://giantstudios.com as one of their projects.
The “Project Hometree, La Tejona, Costa Rica” project at Global Giving has now earned $1307.00 from 20 donors. Thank you all for your valuable support. We are hoping to get these projects funded before the rainy season beginning in June, tree planting time.
We will be collaborating, directly or indirectly, on more projects in the future with our friends at Giant Studios. They are dedicated to restoring the world’s vital native, tropical forests for all the right reasons.
The first photo is of Hometree in the movie Avatar superimposed on David Alvarez’s newly planted corridor property done at Giant Studios. The second is a new shot of the Hometree here at La Reserva, Papa Loco. The last photo is of a new miniature orchid we’ve been seeing recently here.
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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