Saturday, July 21, 2007

planting in the rain

This morning we went up to the highlands with older students from the school to El Junco. El Junco is a collapsed caldera that is in need of revegetation with native plants. We planted Miconia plants and took out black berry which has invaded the area. It was very foggy, rainy and cold. Last week we went up to the same area and lucked out as it was clear. Not so today.

Unfortunately the kids were not a all interested in helping and the group I am here with did the vast majority of the work. I´m not sure if no one explained to the kids why this work is important, or they feel this kind of work is beneath them, or they are just lazy but they did nothing. I´ll take the CSP kids at Bolsa Chica over these kids anytime. As soon as they could they ran off into the fog and hid under plants were we couldn´t see them. The kids who were supposed to water the plants after we put them in dumped all their water on a few plants and then ran off with the water bottles so we couldn´t even refill them from the lake at the bottom of the caldera.

Most of the plants got planted with no water, so it was good that it was raining. The kids may have just been modeling their teacher´s behavior because at the end of the morning I noticed none of the teachers were the least bit dirty so it was obvious they had not done any planting or weeding either.
I ended up the morning just feeling bad that the kids and adults we were with were so disinterested in helping this endangered ecosystem on their own island.

At least we made a small difference, although I am not sure how many of the plants we put in will survive. The soil was very easy to dig and there were numerous earthworms in the soil, so if it keeps raining up there some of them might survive. I saw a grasshopper with the biggest jaws I have ever seen. It surprised two of my classmates by giving them a good bite when they picked it up.

Tomorrow is a free day, so I hope to get in some snorkeling. I am going out early in the morning for another mockingbird survey. I am hoping to see more early in the day. We leave San Cristobal on Tuesday for Isabela, Fernandina and Santa Cruz next week.

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