This little Blue Jeans Dart Frog is singing about the good things to come soon in the second phase planting of the Rio Sol project and the progress that has taken place at some of our previous projects.
“Connecting Forest Islands in Costa Rica”, David Alvarez’s property, was LRFF’s first project on Global Giving. We won the GG Open Challenge in August 2009 because of your generosity, donating more than $4000 from 50 unique donors. Giant Studios made the final donation to fund the project in November commemorating the finish of the film Avatar that they did the image work on.
The 2+ hectares were planted the following week, bringing the total trees LRFF planted in 2009 to 10,000. Daniel and the maintenance crew have been cleaning the property for two years and we feel that one more cleaning in January will be the last. I wanted to share the progress in only two years of this project. One year ago we passed by and found cow pies in the planted area. The neighbor’s cow had broken down the fence and been eating the grass and our little trees. The fence was repaired immediately and now one year later the trees are all growing, look………….
If you plant it they will come and stay. In the photo above you can see the connection already from the fence line to the forest in the background. Thank you for helping us implement this successful project.
“Increasing Tenorio Volcano Forest” on Roy Whaley’s property is a completely different story. Another great Global Giving project that many of you supported in donations and/or volunteering. We planted Roy’s 1½ hectare area in June 2010 with 1800 native trees of more than 70 species.
The maintenance crew has returned every three months to clean the trees and always finds a large percentage “disappeared”. While part of the crew cleans the trees others replace trees that haven’t survived or “disappeared”. But, alas, three months later when they return those same trees and others are completely gone without a trace, not even a little stick left.
Daniel has puzzled over this and last week when the crew returned to Roy’s it was the same story. The soil is extremely depleted from cattle grazing and it has a steep incline so that whatever nutrients are in the soil run down with the rain to the depression below where Roy’s compound is. Dan hasn’t taken any photos of Roy’s because he feels it is a failure but it’s important to share every part of our work with you.
Dan picked up a truckload of large trees and delivered them to Roy’s while the crew cleaned that day. We will return again at the beginning of the year but in the meantime Roy’s worker will be planting these new trees. We will keep you posted on this mysterious tree mortality problem at Roy Whaley’s farm.
This past month Omar, Miguel and Kyra Hagl cleaned and replaced trees here at La Reserva for Project Hometree. Above you can see the furrows the planting crew cut in the deep African grasses to prepare the 8 hectares for planting last year. This is a labor-intensive project, preparing the land and now the maintenance. Miguel and Omar worked at cleaning and replanting for three weeks. Kyra Hagl arrived the last week and was a grand help planting replacements while the guys concentrated on the cleaning.
You can still see the furrows above but the trees are now taller than the grasses. We have one more year of maintenance on Project Hometree, this is a very successful project. In the majority of the planted areas the trees are growing at an amazing rate. There are lenses in the soil in all of our project areas where the trees just don’t grow well or not at all. Even the pasture grasses don’t do well. These lenses are usually a very fine-grained, red clay. Now that leads us to the next story………
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 un-planted 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 waists. 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.
See, the little frog has a lot to sing about. Keep watching and listening, even greater news is yet to come. But in the meantime we’ll be…………………..
PLANTING TREES AND SPREADING SEEDS!