Thank you, muchas gracias, mercí and afepakian…those are the only first words appropriate for this final progress report for the “Rio Sol Bio Corridor, Maleku Reserve, Costa Rica”. It’s been the most gratifying project for LRFF to date and will remain in our memories as our first really massive planting. It was very challenging making it a “seat of the pants” accomplishment in a huge way.
Not least the other projects that this project led to. Just last week we finished planting a three-project combo that used to be on Global Giving, a total of 10,000 trees of more than 150 species and ALL of them now in the ground.
The Rio Sol Bio Corridor was partially sponsored by Sole Technology, the makers of etnies© shoes. In March 2011 the CEO and founder, Pierre Andres Senizergues, came to Costa Rica to inaugurate the project with his team of champion surfers and skateboarders. When he returned to the U.S. he took a limousine home from the airport and the young man who drove him heard all about his AMAZING trip to Costa Rica and how he was helping to plant 35,000 trees with LRFF and the Maleku indigenous people. The driver was a young man named Matt Strack he had a new premier transportation company, Strack Premier Transportation, and using a green approach by including some hybrids in his fleet.
Two years later Matt called me…he was in Costa Rica for a visit and wanted to come see if he could do something similar to what etnies© had done now that his business had grown. He calculated the projected GHG emissions of the business for 2013 and discovered he’d be responsible for approximately 366 tons of emissions. To “offset” those emissions planting trees he’d need to plant almost 10,000. I got to thinking…we had three projects on GlobalGiving earning a few donations to date and by combining the there would be a total of 10,000 trees.
Matt agreed to completely fund the project (10,000 trees) via monthly installments. He planned to pay for the trees planting by asking his clients to voluntarily pay an extra $1.50/ride. He figured he could probably raise around $1000/month, depending on how much his clientele supported the initiative. They loved it and were happy to support it. Strack Transportation hasn’t missed a monthly installment and now all three projects are now planted and in maintenance mode.
I say onward and upward because whilst planting the last 6000 trees in Las Delicias de Upala last week (see photos in this report), @ the For The Monkeys project a neighbor and the local police approached because they have other projects they want us to develop and implement in the surrounding communities and with the local school kids. Onward, upward…
LET’S KEEP PLANTING!
I was going through the pics I have stored on my iPhone recently and was astounded at the stages of growth for this project. Have a look for yourself in this report.
Thank you for being generous in supporting this project. It’s been a work in progress for more than 2 1/2 years and together we have planted over 35,000 native trees in a continuous corridor along the Rio Sol. The river travels, snakelike, through all three Maleku villages or Palenques and the trees are planted along the banks from 10 to 15 meters wide.
It all began when Sole Technology, the makers of etnies Shoes and other great sports gear, contacted us in 2010 to inform us that the board of directors and CEO of the company had voted unanimously to donate $17,500 to buy the 35,000 trees that would be planted with the Maleku indigenous tribe. Pierre Andres Senizergues, founder and CEO of etnies, is an ex-world champion skateboarder and we have remained friends ever since the first tree was planted. Frequently, when I post updates about LRFF or about the Rio Sol project, he will write to say “keep up the good work”.
Last month I sent the photos you see here to Pierre after he wrote one of these notes asking if I had any photos of “our” projects development. He was astounded by the before and after photos of the Viento Fresco property and happy to see his old friend Bienvenido, President of the Maleku Tribal Council. In fact he was so impressed he told his art director who contacted me last week asking me to send the photos to him so they can include them in their latest catalog. The donations from etnies was promoted by the company as a campaign called “Buy a Shoe, Plant a Tree”. The idea is to let the customers see how great the trees they planted are doing.
Pierre’s life story is an amazing account of a poor guy finding his passion, skateboarding, dedicating his whole life to it, traveling across the sea to California, becoming the world champion skateboarder and, after retiring, founding Sole Technology. Even his company is solar powered, check out the link to read about Pierre Andrea and his responsible company.
Thank you all for accompanying us on this great journey, there is still more to come. But until then…
Let’s Get Planting!!
Last week Jimmy Acosta Elizondo, LRFF’s field director, performed the inspection of the Rio Sol Biological Corridor project. Amazing progress has taken place again. Daniel and I went over on Thursday, January 16th, to do the inventory on the nursery that will be supplying the trees for our next planting coming up on the 31st of January. We also walked along the Rio Sol Corridor within Nicida’s property on the way to another piece she’s interested in restoring to forest this year.
As you probably remember the biological corridor project was planted the second half of 2011. Every time we walk any part of the corridor we’re amazed at how quickly the trees grow in the Guatuso area (we use no fertilizers or other growth inducing supplements). It must be the soil, sun, heat and rain because on this side of the mountain, west of Guatuso, the trees develop about ½ as fast.
Check out the photos and see for yourselves. We still need a small amount of funding to cover the inspections for the next 3 years and the administration costs, but thanks to you we’re almost there!
Plant it and they will come…and that’s what we’re seeing at the Maleku indigenous tribe reserve. The wildlife, flora and other fauna are returning and along with it more and more people want to restore parts of their land back to native forest.
On the way home Thursday afternoon, up over the beautiful mountain, I said to Daniel, “What a great life we have, eh. To be able to plant all those trees, watch them grow into a forest in two years time and be nurtured by those people we call our friends and family, the Maleku. We sure are blessed!
LET’S KEEP PLANTING!!
Two weeks ago it was time for the quarterly inspection of the Rio Sol Biological Corridor project. You guys remember because you helped us plant 35,000+ trees in a continuous corridor along the Sol River in partnership with different Maleku Tribe landowners. I went on October 3rd and got the most pleasant surprise. I described how I felt to my friend yesterday after he saw the before and after photos posted here. He remarked how awesome it was that I'm able to witness the change up close and personal and I told him that it was so awesome I could scream but people wouldn't understand. He answered that he would. :)
And hey, blessed people, I do scream from the hillside up there where it's only the birds, me and Jimmy looking down on this majestic natural ecosystem WE, you, me and everyone who supports LRFF, are responsible for creating.
We planted 14,000+ trees and over 110 species here from nurseries created and tended by 14 different Maleku families in the village of Tonjibe. It's full of birds and evidence everywhere of wildlife living there, in less than two years.
Be sure to watch the short video of this quarterly inspection at this link, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDLg6b9JZ8Q
Thank you, because of you we KEEP PLANTING! LOOK AT THE RESULTS!
The Rio Sol Biological Corridor Project has been near and dear to my heart for the past two years. I started donating a portion of my very small college student budget to the project to help off-set my carbon footprint and to support LRFF. In the last two years, I also saved up more money to come down to Costa Rica and physically volunteer at La Reserva for half of my summer. Financial sacrifices were involved, yes, but the satisfaction that I've gained from reading Roberta's updates, and now having the opportunity to see the progress that I've contributed to first hand, makes any and all sacrifices worthwhile.
During my time going to visit the Rio Sol, I saw that even with persistent checkups and maintenance, no project is flawless. At one site along the corridor, a property owner had sprayed Root Out herbicide onto the understory and destroyed any natural baby trees from being able to grow up. At another site, I saw horses in among the growing trees potentially feeding on their new leaves, and signs of cow tracks in the dark, muddy soil. I was so thrilled and energized to see Roberta respond immediately to the breaches in contact by calling the person in charge of management to straighten everything out. Roberta and Dan’s passion for the foundation is unmatched to anything else that I’ve seen.
And who am I? I am Courtney Caldwell, a proud La Reserva Forest Foundation volunteer. I am concluding my five weeks in the beautiful rainforest with a satisfied heart and new found motivation to continue pursuing environmental science. Thank you so much to all those out there like me who have donated. I hope more of you can come visit this gorgeous country.
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