The latest from Honduras
The updating of our work in Honduras has been done by the newsletters, so we recommend that you see these links to follow the progress in Honduras.
Last year Rainforest Saver did a successful crowd funding for Dr. Valle’s work with Honduran schools. This is to provide environmental education and education relevant to sustainable farming to rural high school students. He is now concentrating on teaching the teachers who can then pass on the knowledge to many more students than he and his fellow professors from CURLA (the university) would be able to do themselves.
The map shows the locations of the schools that have been selected to cover a large area of Honduras.
At least 8 schools have been visited, and Inga plots created in most of them.
Up to May 2013
The FunaVid project is an integrated project to improve the lives of the people and preserve and enhance the environment from the forest on the mountain down to the coral reef at the foot of the mountain. Central to this is Inga alley cropping. A large demonstration of that will be set up on the mountain. Inga alley cropping provides better crops for the farmers without the need to destroy more forest, and also greatly reduces the erosion that is smothering the reef. If such an alternative is not provided for the farmers they will have little option but to destroy any forest there is so as to grow food for their families. Reforestation is then not likely to succeed. As well as benefitting the local people and environment the FunaVid project will we hope be a demonstration for a wider public of how a sustainable area can be set up that benefits all.
Part of the plan is an eco-tourist trail up the mountain. This has the potential to provide both publicity and income. A small house on the FunaVid premises is being extended to provide accommodation for tourists, and also for the students who do internships at FunaVid, and their professors.
Extension of small house for tourists and students. Work in progress earlier on left, house nearly finished in the centre, and inside the house on the right.
Trees like mahogany and fruit trees have been planted to enhance the eco-tourist trail and improve the forest for wildlife. A jaguar, big iguanas, toucans and monkeys are among the wildlife that have been seen at FunaVid.
Wild flowers on the FunaVid mountain. They are big. And some of the wildlife – iguana that was almost as long as a man is tall, and one of the monkeys that come down to the house.
Regenerated rainforest showing the lianas (vines) on the FunaVid mountain.
The state of the coral reef is being assessed, and the Honduran government has given FunaVid a boat confiscated from drug traffickers to assist in this.
View from the eco-tourist trail over a Canadian holiday settlement. Several people who visit there are interested in the FunaVid project. On the right, choosing a boat.
Most of the food eaten at FunaVid both by the staff and by students who study there, is grown at FunaVid. This also provides a practical experience for students. Drip irrigation has been installed on some of the land where. This is very efficient.
Drip irrigation of vegetable patch, and orange blossom, at FunaVid.
Another group of students did their final school year internship at FunaVid in September 2012.
2012 internship students on the eco-tourist trail on the FunaVid mountain, with Dr. Dodson on the left, and Dr. Valle on the right.
A couple of the Inga plots planted at schools will soon be ready for pruning. The students’ parents are farmers and all who want to will be invited to see these stages in the Inga system and encouraged to take home Inga seedlings to plant. Some of the Inga trees in the corners of the alleys at the schools will not be pruned but will be left to bear fruit so that there will be some to give to the farmers.
Well grown Inga plot at Las Marias school. FunaVid student, school teacher and Dr. Valle among the Inga on the left, and school students peering through the Inga on the right.
Visiting the Inga plot at Cacao school. Left to right the teacher, Dr. Valle, and two students working at FunaVid.
You can read more about the past year’s work in the following newsletters:
September – October 2011. Internship of senior high school students at FunaVid.
Eight selected senior students from three local schools stayed at FunaVid for six weeks in September and October. They were taught by Dr. Guillermo Valle and other professors, and also supervised by Dr. Valle’s assistant, Rigoberto Blanco, a graduate student. Students from these schools were allocated to various internships. The students who came to FunaVid were selected as being the ones most likely to benefit from this particular experience. It seems that they were very well selected. Dr. Dodson expressed great satisfaction in their performance and considered that the course had been a great success.
Students and teaching staff. Photo by Dr. Guillermo Valle 2011.
The course included a great deal of practical work. They worked in the nursery and planted many trees on the mountain.
Students working in the nursery. Photo by Dr. M. Dodson 2011.
Rigoberto planting a tree. Photo by Rick Seal 2011.
Students writing up their end of internship report. Photo by Dr. M. Dodson.
Throughout their stay at FunaVid Dr. Dodson’s helper, Maritza, kept everyone well fed, involving a great deal of extra work for her, which she performed so well that Dr. and Mrs. Dodson gave her a certificate of thanks and appreciation. The success of a project like an internship of several students depends not only on the teaching, but also on the back up staff.
Maritza (on the left) receiving a certificate of appreciation from Mrs. Dodson. Photo by Dr. M. Dodson 2011.
At the end of the course the students graduated in a ceremony held in the neighbouring town of Jutiapa.
Graduation. Dr. Guillermo Valle, Dr. M. Dodson and Rigoberto are centre back. Photo by Dr. M. Dodson 2011.
This internship was supported by funds from Rainforest Saver.
Summer 2011 Seedling nursery and tree planting at FunaVid
FunaVid will create a large Inga demonstration plantation high up on the mountain. However at present Inga seed is in short supply. Preparations for this project are nonetheless well under way. An eco-tourist trail up the mountain will end at this plantation. Fruit trees and other useful trees, such as mahogany, are being planted along the trail and on the mountain to enhance it.. Some of the fruit trees will provide tasty tropical fruit for the tourists, and some will attract wildlife.
A large tree nursery has been established on the flat ground at the foot of the mountain where seedlings for this planting have been grown, and the Inga seedlings will also be grown.
Clearing the ground for the nursery. Left to right: Rigoberto Blanco(Dr. Valle’s assistant), Dr. Guillermo Valle (professor at CURLA) and Dr. M. Dodson (head and founder of FunaVid) Note the top of the FunaVid mountain in the background where the Inga plantation will be – see picture below. Photo by Dr. M. Dodson 2011.
Creating the tree nursery at FunaVid. Photo by Dr. M. Dodson and Dr. Guillermo Valle 2011.
The nursery at FunaVid. Photos by Dr. Guillermo Valle and Dr. M. Dodson 2011.
Part of the FunaVid close up and as seen from a distance. The white lines mark the area to be planted with Inga. Photos by Tiiu Miller 2009.
Working on the FunaVid mountain. Mahogany seedlings. Marking out strip for reforestation. Photo by Rick Seal 2011.
FunaVid have allowed rainforest to regenerate on their land on this mountain. In the higher parts there is good forest, but in many parts lower down it is more like shrub, and so they are planting more trees. The mahogany trees were donated by CURLA (part of the University of Honduras). They donated around 3,000 trees to FunaVid through a program in which they reforest the local mountains. This also enables the area to be registered as a plantation which will afford it more protection in the future.
Busload of tree seedlings from CURLA. Photos by Dr. M. Dodson 2011.