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Oct 8, 2020

A very successful Reforestation Season

Volunteers in a reforestation in La Miel
Volunteers in a reforestation in La Miel

 The reforestation season is almost over in Azuero and it has been quite a busy time for Pro Eco Azuero! We have conducted 16 different reforestations in 11 different parcels with local landowners, and the participation of more than 45 volunteers. This season we planted 4,498 native and fruit trees species in the Los Santos province. This is a huge step to further our vision of creating an 80 km tropical dry forest ecological corridor that restores spider monkey habitat, protects watersheds, enhances food security, and builds climate change resilience. 

Due to the high demands of our reforestation goal this year, and the huge unexpected challenges due to COVID 19, we could not achieve this alone. We invited our allies in the Azuero communities to join us in producing as many seedlings as possible from their homes, allowing us to carry out the planned reforestation for the year. Pro Eco Azuero offered rural community members, many who are low-income elderly, vulnerable to COVID, who love to cultivate land, the opportunity to generate a small income through microcontracts, potentially helping to ease their financial burden. These microcontracts are an agreement where the allies were committed to providing us with seedlings and Pro Eco Azuero provided them with monetary compensation in return. Through this project we were able to help more than 15 families and produce more than 7,000 seedlings. The 4,998 seedlings that were planted in the corridor this season will be monitored by Pro Eco Azuero and the trees that do not survive the dry season will be replaced the next reforestation season ( see our youtube channel for more details on this program Monitoring Program video).

In a country that has been deeply impacted by the global pandemia, the project has empowered rural community members to produce and generate income through this difficult time. This became a way to support their families while accelerating efforts to combat another crisis humanity now faces - climate change.

 The project was shown in a local TV news program, as a success story, that even in Covid times, environmental heroes prevail in rural communities. (TVN showcasing Pro Eco Azuero's project)

At the same time, we gave enough material to our Eco Artisans to produce from home. The Azuero Eco Artisans, is a group of rural community members that produce crafts made of natural fibers and or natural raw material, making their products sustainable. Without leaving their homes, they were producing crafts. Thanks to this project, we were able to attract a potential business ally and they are in the process of establishing a commercial alliance. With the material Pro Eco Azuero provided, they produced enough products to open an “Etsy” page and their own social media to showcase their products (to see their products and learn more about this program you can follow them on Instagram @ecoartesanosazuero).

To learn more about this and other of our initiatives, please visit our website at www.proecoazuero.org.

 

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Community member and producer, planting tree
Community member and producer, planting tree
Volunteer reforesting
Volunteer reforesting
Seedling producers in rural community
Seedling producers in rural community
Crafts made by the Azuero Eco Artisans
Crafts made by the Azuero Eco Artisans
Crafts made by Eco Artisans
Crafts made by Eco Artisans

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Jun 9, 2020

In total lockdown, climate action heroes persevere

Eco Artisan from Paritilla, using Cogoyo from home
Eco Artisan from Paritilla, using Cogoyo from home

Our rainy season has arrived to Azuero and it is the right time to bring new seedlings to life. Due to the high demands of reforestation goal this year, we cannot achieve this alone, so we invited our allies in the Azuero communities to join us in producing as many seedlings as possible from their homes, allowing us to carry out the planned reforestation for the year.

 Within the communities, there are many low-income elderly, who, along with their families, were selling their products in informal markets and neighboring villages due to the lack of large-scale agriculture. However, at the moment, these practices cannot be carried out, directly affecting the income of these families.

 The Azuero Eco Foundation is offering these individuals, who love to cultivate land, the opportunity to provide us with seedlings from the comfort of their homes, allowing them to generate a small income through microcontracts, potentially helping to ease their financial burden. These microcontracts are an agreement  where the allies are committed to providing us with seedlings and Pro Eco Azuero will provide them with monetary compensation in return.

Through this project we have been able to help precisely the MOST vulnerable populations to COVID- elderly, low-income community members by making them into income-generating environmental heroes at this difficult time.

In a country that's in total lockdown, the project has empowered rural community members to produce and generate income through this difficult time. This has becomes a way to support their families while accelerating efforts to combat another crisis humanity now faces - climate change.  The project is directly tied to our vision of restoring an 80 km tropical dry  forest ecological corridor that restores spider monkey habitat, protects watersheds, enhances food security, and builds climate change resilience. Through this project we have been able to help more than 15 families and produce more than 7,000 seedlings. The seedlings produced will be planted in the corridor in the comming months and monitored by the Pro Eco Azuero team (see our youtube channel for more details on this program). 

We have now collected the seedlings and pay each community member for their production. 

At the same time, we have given enough material to our Eco Artisans to produce from home. The Azuero Eco Artisans, is a group of rural community members that produce crafts made of natural fibers and or natural raw material, making their products sustainable. With out leaving their homes, they are producing crafts which they will later sell in local markets, fairs and boutiques.  

To learn more about this project, please visit our website at www.proecoazuero.com.

Community Member caring for seedlings from home
Community Member caring for seedlings from home
Couple from rural community and their production
Couple from rural community and their production
Native and fruit tree species production from home
Native and fruit tree species production from home
Eco Artisan showing products made during lockdown
Eco Artisan showing products made during lockdown
Community member receiving payment for production
Community member receiving payment for production
Community members getting paid for their seedlings
Community members getting paid for their seedlings

Links:

Feb 10, 2020

Planning a year of environmental education

Spider Monkey School Initiative 2019
Spider Monkey School Initiative 2019

What is Environmental Education?

Environmental education is “the process of recognizing values and clarifying concepts in order to develop skills and attitudes necessary to understand and appreciate the interrelatedness among humans, their culture and biophysical surroundings. Environmental education also entails practice in decision making and self-formulation of a code of 3 behaviors about issues concerning environmental quality.”1 Environmental education is a continuous process with an emphasis on awareness. It should be complemented by a review of one’s value scale and a strengthening of will. It considers the principal of interand trans-generational equity, and should be oriented towards action and decision making.

Fundación Pro Eco Azuero (The Azuero Eco Foundation in english) [www.proecoazuero.org] is dedicated to environmental education, reforestation, and sustainable land use on the Azuero peninsula. Since 2010, we have served as an environmental resource center for Azuero; included among our programs are an environmental library in Pedasí, a youth group called Pro Eco Pelaos, a school initiative about the spider monkey in 8 rural schools, activities about sustainable farm management, and work with Panamanian and international academic institutions to support scientific research on the peninsula. We have been implementing the Spider Monkey School Initiative in rural schools in the Los Santos area since 2010.

This 2020, the Spider Monkey School Initiative will work with the same 8 rural schools strategically positioned on our focus biological corridor. This program seeks to foment critical analysis of environmental problems, as well as environmental awareness among the participants, in order to transform future owners of these lands into protectors of the environment. Working with rural schools strategically amplifies our impact by first allowing us to educate children and then communicating our message to the entire community through a family event in which the children take the lead in explaining why it is necessary to protect their natural surroundings. Thus, we indirectly create environmental awareness among the parents of families and entire communities about the importance of reforestation in building wildlife habitats in the Azuero peninsula.

Each year, the initiative focuses on a new theme, following a progressive educational logic. This year, we will focus on the important and current topic of climate change. The goal for 2020 is to finish the Spider Monkey School Initiative’s curriculum cycle and to connect prior concepts, such as the conservation of biodiversity, the problems and conservation of forests (habitats), water and soil conservation, and the preservation of ecosystems, with the theme of climate change. Azuero’s producers are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and water scarcity, which has powerful impacts on agrarian production and the country’s food security. The production levels of these small farms experience a decrease of more than 65% in the pronounced dry season of the region. In 2016, MiAmbiente reported that 30 of the 44 rivers in the region stopped flowing. The Azuero peninsula is part of Central America’s dry corridor, a zone recognized as being super vulnerable to global climate change. At the Central American level, more than 1.6 million people have been identified as having insecure food supplies, with 50-90% loss of basic grains and a deficit of $17 million in this region. The FAO has identified it as being in urgent need of innovation in order to adapt to climate change. Far from being an ephemeral or temporary phenomenon, Azuero’s vulnerability has intensified over the past 5 years, and it will continue to be aggravated by climatic changes that prolong the dry period and cause fluctuations in food production and security throughout the country.

January, February and March, while the kids are on their summer vacation it is planning season for us. We take advantage of these months to develop and strengthen our curriculum. Brainstorm new games, plan our teachers workshop and create our environmental kits boxes. Because it is not the first year we implement this learning curriculum, we are changing, learning from past years. Some games are too complicated and we have simplified them to make them more atractive for kids and teachers. We want to work with a graphic designer to create the environmental kits more vissually attractive for kids. 

We are enjoying testing the games among the team members. We have done several game afternoons were we invite some kids from the community and the whole team plays the games with them Testing each one to see if they comply with the learning objectives.  

Spider Monkey School Initiative
Spider Monkey School Initiative

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