Finally, after such a lengthy time-awaiting, we are taking a solid pathway towards the jungle! Glen, with a small team of workers and volunteers, is building this daily and we plan it should be complete within the next ten days or so. Not only this, but we also have our first water system in place……………it is such an amazing feeling to be able to turn on a tap and water come out on the land. This water is brought by hosepipe from the smaller stream nearby and the tap located outside, close to where the team is working – brilliant! The path itself will be very low-maintenance and will be an excellent access route to the Centre, the jungle and rivers.
So the Big Fun Activities at the moment involve carrying sacks of sand and rocks to the pathway site – though it is such a beautiful area and progress (or should I say frogress as we are disturbing a large number of our amphibious friends as we move closer to the trees) is fast, that time does go incredibly quickly!
After a recent night of very heavy rain, we found ourselves sharing the worksite with another of our local inhabitants – an armadillo (eight- or nine-banded….to be determined!). This was an unusual sight in daylight hours as they are generally nocturnal animals and can be heard around quite regularly at night. We reckon it has been disturbed by the heavy rains and attracted by the moved soil around the path for a potential worm-feast.
At the moment, we are reviewing our plans for the area where we are going to build our first rooms to accommodate developments for the Conservation Centre. Some basic designs have been produced to be discussed with those who are going to help us further this work, hopefully later this year.
I would also like to mention that we continue to work closely with many other groups and individuals with similar aims and intentions to ourselves around the area. One of these is Henry Sanchez of the Sumak Kawsay In Situ Project ( www.sumakkawsayinsitu.org) who is leading workshops for young people and other visitors. This Project is based not far from us farther along the road towards Mera and is based around conservation and environmental protection and education.
We are also very pleased that the local Provincial Government of Pastaza allowed us to visit their arboretum and tree nursery at Pindo Mirador recently. It was a very interesting visit and tour. They have now agreed to give us 340 endemic, endangered tree saplings to plant and grow. In the future these will not only provide cover and extend the jungle around the site, it will also provide food for animals living in the area, as well as for those we may be directly working with. We hope to collect the trees very soon and start planting both within the jungle and around. We have been offered more than fifteen different species – many of which are useful fruit-bearing specimens. The seeds for these trees have been collected from different areas within the Oriente of Ecuador in order to enrich the genetic bank. We look forward to watching these trees grow tall!