LRFF/CR received a very generous donation (thank you dear friend) in February for the Rio Sol Biological Corridor and this has enabled the crew to continue the maintenance on the project. I’ve been going to Guatuso every other week to pay the crew and see the progress of maintenance and tree growth. The photos tell the story…
The trees were much less than a meter tall when they were planted, June 2011. Most are medium fast growers so take a look at the photo of Chavo and Deibys next to a fast growing tree at Chino’s property, planted in June as well……..
See the photos of why the maintenance cleaning is so important. Without maintenance the trees would drown in vines and weeds.
When the crew does the maintenance on each area they always replace trees that didn’t survive since the last time they passed by. Because of this LRFF’s reforestation projects have a very low mortality rate.
Steven Sukh from London came to visit us in March. He walked the Rio Sol Biological Corridor with Jimmy, Jorn, Chavo, Oto and me. He was amazed at the same things you see in the photos but very tired from the walk in the hot sun. You’re all lucky that I don’t have to walk your asses off to give these update blogs, eh?!
I have great news to report here in the first part of 2012 as well as a concern to share with you. The great news is that on December 20th LRFF/CR and the Maleku planting team finished planting more than 31,000 of the 35,000 trees that is the Rio Sol Biological Corridor project. All of the trees were purchased from the participating families the week before planting began November 28th. Just after the first of the year the planting team went to work to plant the last 4000 trees of this project. They completed their work on January 27th. Kudos to all involved! Over the next two years it will be necessary to perform supportive maintenance for all 35,000 trees to keep the invasive, non-native pasture grasses from over-whelming them. My concern is funding for this part of the project, which will require a little over $1,000 a month for the next two years. We have worked hard to raise funds as this project has moved forward. We have received donations from many of you specifically for this project. Our organization has used undesignated prize money to contribute more than $10,000. From a budget of $60,500 we now need just $25,000 more; this says much for our tenacity. A further positive note is that we have created an enormous amount of positive energy with the Maleku people, they believe in us. We have shown them that when we say something we do it. This is a new experience for them and we deeply want to keep such positive energy going.
I am writing for your help. We are committed to keeping these trees alive and thriving but we need your help to do so. Please help us spread the word by sharing the link with friends, family and co-workers. Together we’ve planted 35,000 trees, together we will ensure they thrive.
Thank you from Mother Earth and all of us here at LRFF.
*Read on, this project is urgently in need of funding. Since writing this update a week ago the trees are planted and maintenance is being done as I write, but we are without funds to continue the maintenance for two years and plant the final 4000 trees in this excellent project.
This past week Grupo MPD S.A. (Manejo Profesional de Desechos S.A.) was responsible for paying the planting team for this second stage of the Rio Sol Biological Corridor project. They gave all of their clients, more than 250, certificates of a tree/trees planted in their honor within the Rio Sol project. Thanks to Adrian Castro, CEO of Grupo MPD , who had this great idea, and all of MPD’s clients throughout Costa Rica.
November 28th work began on the second phase of the Rio Sol Biological Corridor. The first week the ten man planting team hauled the 21,000 trees out of the various Maleku nurseries and put them along the road, next to the Methodist Church in Palenque Tonjibe.
Felipa Alvarez and Edwin Elizondo’s nurseries were on the road to Viento Fresco where 17,000 of the trees would be planted. Felipa’s nursery was ½ kilometer from the main road so with the help of oxen the team spent the first day bringing her trees down to the road.
Jimmy Acosta E., LRFF’s field director, hired a tractor with a large trailer for hauling the trees from Palenque Tonjibe, as well as trees from Margarita, approximately 4 kilometers up to the planting site at Marvin Castro’s farm. Here is where the fun begins……
The eleven man crew would load the trailer with about 1500 trees, climb on where they could and ride with the trees up to the farm. On the way up, every trip, one resident ran out of his house yelling and making obscene gestures at everyone. Once at the farm the tractor would slosh through the mucky entrance road carrying each load to the area where the baby trees were to be planted.
On Monday, December 5th Dan ad a serious eye infection. The doctor ordered him to rest and not drive for a week. Yours truly, RWS, set out early Tuesday to spend the week planting with the crew.
Tuesday morning it was 5:00 am to catch the taxi/truck that delivers the team to the project ever morning and retrieves us in the afternoon. We dug holes, distributed trees and planted on a rainless day. By afternoon Jimmy, Chico, Deibys, Estefan and Ivar met the tractor to finish hauling the remaining trees. Two trips brought the rest of the trees up, we finished at 5:00 pm.
Thursday, Irma Acosta E., Jimmy’s sister, volunteered. It was great to have another girl on the planting team. She and I planted trees behind the hole-diggers. We get a rhythm going and it’s like a machine. Here’s the routine:
When we quit at midday on Friday we had only one large pasture left to plant. The taxi didn’t show so we walked to Franklin Mojica’s house, our central meeting place each day, for planting up at Marvin’s. In less than four days this amazing team planted more than 8,000 trees.
Daniel went back to work this week and a HUGE thank you to Grupo MPD S.A. in Costa Rica. Because of their generous gift of trees to all of their clients the team had the funding to work this week. Thank you so much don Adrian!
The team will finish planting 17,000 trees at Marvin’s this week December 19th, just in time for Winter Solstice. They will follow the planting by doing maintenance on the trees in the first stage of the project, planted last June. The maintenance is urgent to free the, as yet, small trees from the vines and grasses so they can thrive. After the holiday we will plant the remaining 4000 trees on the other three participating properties in the Rio Sol Biological Corridor Project. Give a donation via a Tribute Card to this amazing project.
It’s amazing how well the transplanted trees do in this project. They are planted one day and the next day, when we pass by the same area, very few show signs of shock.
That’s the latest, greatest news from LRFF’s Rio Sol Biological Corridor. Wish we could share the fun and great pride we all have doing this work. Plant it and they will come! That’s what we say at LRFF and this little iguana can’t wait for us to finish. He came for a visit on Maikol’s shirt. HA!
LET’S ALL GET PLANTING!
November 17 and 18 Jimmy Acosta, Bienvenido Cruz and myself did the tree inventory of the nurseries growing trees for the second phase planting of the Rio Sol Biological Corridor project. The final count was 20,250 and over 95 species.
I felt very fortunate to write all of the checks to the 18+ nursery owners on my birthday, what an amazing gift. Daniel, Jimmy and our friend Brian Bubb delivered them the following day, Friday, November 25th. Everyone in Tonjibe knew they were coming but I wasn’t able to tell them what time exactly. Dan, Jimmy and Brian had to go first to Katira and Guatuso to deliver checks. When they arrived at Palenque Tonjibe the bus was parked waiting, all of the nursery participants were waiting to receive their checks and board the bus for Guatuso where they would cash them. Only problem was each person had to also sign a receipt and by the time everyone signed the bus had left, leaving quite a large crowd of women and children behind. Daniel had to go up into the housing area to pay a couple of people who weren’t out in the street. When he came back to the car he said he’d never seen so many taxis coming in and leaving with so many people. Everyone doubled up and rented taxis because they’d missed the bus.
This past Monday, the 28th, work began planting the second stage of the Rio Sol project. The preliminary crew hauled the trees from Felipa Alvarez’s nursery (500 meters into the forest without a road) out to the main road using a team of oxen and a small cart.
On Tuesday the full ten man team hauled all of the trees from the nurseries in Palenque Tonjibe out to the main road using plastic boxes and wheelbarrows. They also brought the 1000 cacao trees from Deiby’s nursery in Katira that took two trips with a cargo taxi. A truckload was also taken from the La Reserva nursery, approximately 800 trees of 15+ species, and delivered to the church in Tonjibe. That makes a total of over 21,000 trees and 110 native species. By the end of the day all of the trees except a small amount on the road into Tonjibe were sitting next to the bright green church ready for pick up by the tractor and huge trailer on Wednesday morning.
This morning, Wednesday, with everyone ready to haul the trees up to Marvin Castro’s farm in Viento Fresco, the tractor driver called to say he wouldn’t be able to make it. The team worked the rest of the morning hauling out the other small amount of trees at Palenque Margarita and then were done for the day. Mañana says the tractor driver. Hmmmm.
Waiting to ………………..GET PLANTING
The Rio Sol Biological Corridor with our family, the Maleku. In Guatuso, where the three villages are found with the Rio Sol running through, the soil is sticky gray/brown clay. This is one of the most fertile agricultural areas in Costa Rica and the growth of the trees planted in June is astounding. Here is a photo that our on-site supervisor Jimmy Acosta Elizondo took with his little cell phone. No matter it is blurry, you can see the trees growing against the brighter green of the recently cut rice.
Lillian’s 1 hectare corridor along the Rio Sol has actually been a real pain in the neck but look at those babies grow. On planting day last June the planting team found they were unwelcome when they entered the property to plant the 1000 native trees. Julio, Lillian’s son, mistakenly rented the entire farm area to a local rice grower to plant rice. When the team arrived the rice farmer told them they couldn’t walk back and forth across the newly planted field much less haul the trees to the planting area from the truck with horses. The rice farmer is our friend and is a great supporter of the project. I talked to him, promising the horses would follow the same track through the field each time and the rest of us would only walk on the unplanted borders of the field. He agreed and Lillian’s was planted.
The rice grew and grew. Last month was harvest time and we went with Jimmy and the rice farmer to have a look at the baby trees. Most of the trees had grown taller than the rice already and the rice was above our wastes. We all agreed that Jimmy would find 10 workers to cut the rice by hand with machetes in one day, harvest day, to keep the heavy machinery from cutting the baby trees and running them over with the huge wheels. Above you see the corridor safely fenced, the rice cut, the baby trees cleaned and the ones that didn’t survive have been replaced. Great work, Jimmy.
Above is just one of the 22 community nurseries at the Maleku Reserve. Moncho is participating with almost two hectares of his farm and is growing 2000 trees in his nursery. On November 17th the inventory will be taken of all nurseries, the quantity of trees and species type in each. We bring these numbers home and start writing checks to the nursery keepers and making our new tree species list for this phase.
We have 21,000 trees to plant starting at the end of November and continuing on until we are finished. Volunteers are very much needed for this project. Funding is short and we must be able to plant these and then maintain all 35,000 immediately afterward.
PLANTING TREES AND SPREADING SEEDS!
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