There are a million good reasons to plant trees, particularly in the tropical climate of Nicaragua where deforestation has become a national crisis—preventing soil erosion, reducing flooding during hurricanes, providing shade and food, improving air quality in dusty areas are just a few of them.
Based on those and many other reasons, New England Biolabs Foundation provided us with a grants for an Urban Reforestation Project.We had hoped to enlist 30 of our Youth Project kids to help plant 600 trees in the dusty, treeless barrios that have been springing up around Nagarote.
In fact, 60 of these amazing kids volunteered and in six months they created the tree nursery, filled thousands of plastic bags with prepared soil, planted the seeds, cared for the seedlings, canvassed the neighborhoods getting the residents to agree to care for the trees, and delivered the saplings—all in time for the rainy season to water them.; The result: more than 20,000 trees grown and distributed since 2006.
The youngsters work under the direction of an arborist trained in Agro/Ecology at the University in Leon, Nicaragua. These teens, all from the Jeronimo Lopez barrio of Nagarote, undertook this enormous job as a community service project. Learn more about the Youth Project by clicking on the tab above.
The youngsters check on their growth and development with regular visits, maintaining a record of the condition of the trees and entering the data into a computer. They have also replaced trees that didn’t make it. Youngsters in our art classes painted signs with the names of each tree for the nursery
The trees planted included indigenous fruit and hardwood species. One outcome of the project is to provide training to those youngsters who are interested in becoming Agro/Ecologists.The project has been overwhelmingly successful on all counts.
Not surprisingly, we received three more grants from New England Biolabs Foundation and the kids are already hard at work. Although 2009 was our final year of the Urban Reforestation Project, we have contracted with SosteNica to provide trees to the farmers practicing sustainable agriculture with SosteNica loans.