A reforestation and permaculture project in Agua Santa, a Kichua-speaking
village in Chimborazo Province, Ecuador
View our Progress Report Presentation
The Pato Reforestation Project is a collaborative effort of the Living
Bridges Foundation, the Tian Gong International Foundation, and
the Fundacion OSA of Costa Rica. The objective is to fund the development,
supplies (including trees), and training for the local efforts
to restore the forest near Agua Santa, Ecuador.
Agua Santa Community, Ecuador
High Andes Reforestation Project
Urcuta Virdi Chura-chi-cunchi –“ Dressing the Mountains in Green Project”. Project
Coordinator Agua Santa: Juan Patricio Pilco
his project proposal seeks financial support for the reforestation
of approximately 30,000 acres, Agua Santa Community, High Andes
region, Chimborazo Province, Ecuador, So. America.
History of Agua Santa Community Region
Approximately 50-150 years ago through the process of colonization
and oppression of the Quechua speaking indigenous people, many
high Andes Provinces, including Chimborazo, were essentially deforested
through agricultural burning and over-grazing by non-native animals
introduced by Spanish Colonial Land Barons. In the Agua Santa Community,
for example, the people underwent the destruction of their ancestral
Inca terraces thus decimating their native style of agriculture which
had protected and preserved the environments and yielded abundant stores
annually for centuries. The lands of the people were literally
stolen and repossessed by the Barons. Gradually, through extreme frugality,
hardship, and diligent work, the people saved money from the raising
and sale of animals to purchase back their homelands from the government.Today
the Agua Santa Community lands are a testament to the fulfillment of
the dreams and work of their ancestors.
Since April 2008, utilizing seed money from several donors, including
Berlin Tian Gong Institute, Tian Gong International Foundation
and Living Bridges Foundation, an initial parcel land was purchased
by Patricio. On this site a large greenhouse or tree nursery was
constructed by volunteers. The nursery construction
includes an irrigation system. 10,000 bags were filled with seedling
trees which are now growing well! The capacity of the nursery is
50,000 trees. From the small initial nursery, 3000 seedling trees
were given to community members to be utilized for wind block,
shade and boundary line planting! In addition, Patricio was able
to procure 6,000 trees from a local government institute promoting
reforestation. These trees have been also planted in the lands
surrounding the Agua Santa Community as encouragement and to provide
visibility for this project.
Dear Donna, Master Tianying and all the friends of Tian
Gong that are supporting our efforts.
We just finished a massive reforestation
session. I struggled hard with the provincial municipality, and
finally they donated 6000 trees and we put 3000 Aliso (Alder) trees
from the nursery. The work session were the past three Sundays,
we had over 50 community members and over 35 people from the local university
of Chimborazo university participated on one of the sessions. It
was the group of law students, because of a friend who’s studying
to be a lawyer who likes our work, and he promoted it among his students
and they joined us on one of the work sessions.
In total we planted
over 9000 native trees for reforestation. These were planted in
the high dry hills surrounding the community. It was a beautiful
thing yet very hard. We are praying the rains will come soon but it has
been quite dry, never the less the trees were all planted with good size
and well rooted into loamy soil, so we have faith that the great majority
will take to their new homes, to help us all have a better home.
has been hard because were all volunteers and the economy is very
low here in Ecuador, it is difficult to make the basic lively hood
and also volunteer so many hours to this important vision, and I am happy
that we have been able to accomplish this first reforestation phase.
We still have many trees in the nursery and we will organize more
reforestation sessions in the months to come.
I know money is not and
ends just a means, and we are happy that we have used all the funds
that you have sent us towards the cause of reforestation. Never
the less it makes it hard to continue without funds. Hopefully we can
get more funds together to continue this work.
The community wants to
help but they are asking for fruit trees so they can plant near
their houses. If we can get them fruit trees then they will be
more motivated to help when we accomplish the reforestation.
I have been
promoting on many levels the importance to reforest the mountains.
Many people think were wasting our time, but at least they are
not going against us, they are letting us plant the mountains and more
people are seeing the importance and helping. We have to continue motivating
the community and the people. It would be great to be able to give them
fruit trees in exchange for their volunteer help in the reforestation.
It is amazing to see how the people are living, and we ourselves are
subsisting pretty much entirely from our agriculture.
I am currently trying
to promote among a local government branch working increased involvement
in our reforestation program. Some friends who work for the government
in reforestation programs have visited our nursery and have complimented
our efforts. I am encouraging them on ways to improve the outreach,
environmental education and to help inspire the communities to
take more action in reforestation projects. There exists hundreds of
thousands of acres of barren lands that once in the past were forested.
To dress the mountains in green is our vision. As a means to replenish
the earth with the clouds and mist that the trees attract, creating habitat
for songbirds and animals and to recuperate these lands and soils. Reforestation
over the long run will transform the entire region into a much
more prosperous location. We are pioneering an awakening of environmental
awareness in the region around this issue of reforestation with native
species as a vital and important action that needs to be taken.
now we are working on fixing a water canal that has broken and
this has occupied a lot of time. My family has had to go on many
long day work sessions with the community high in the mountains to fix
the water canal.
I want to share that I am very very happy with the progress
we are having. And we have taken things to a solid level with solid
advancements. Now over the next months we must focus efforts to
raise money for our livelihood. Don Juan is educating his children and
we live a very modest life but things are always more expensive in Ecuador.
Now we are focusing on agriculture and are producing tomatos, organic
potatoes, white onions, and garlic and bell tomatoes for sale at the
After the incidence of the loss of our sisters, it has affected
the family a lot and especially our mother. Never the less we are
all calm now and advancing in good faith, every day thanking God
all mighty for all the blessings we receive every day, and for more patience
and spiritual virtues and strength.
Thank you for your support and
for the positive energy you have sent us that we feel. Thank you
from all our hearts for your solidarity, one I will never betray.
In dedication to sincerity and to the high and good path of service,
friend in dedication and honor,
Juan Patricio Hipo Pilco
From the village of Maria Auxiliadora, Riobamba
This Andean Region, according to a report filed by United
Nations has the highest top soil loss on any measured on Earth!
The rebuilding of ancient terraces will not only serve to begin restoration
of soil loss, enrich and multiply agricultural potential, but also
serve as a proto-type and teaching model for other communities
in the region. Project Component includes, but not limited to hiring
of a small tractor to; implement swells and provide soil replenishment
in critical areas where soil is most depleted and rebuilding of
ancient agricultural terraces.
Estimated Cost: $ 8,200 US
Development of Mira Loma arqueo-astronomical look-out point
and a Puruhua Cultural Center and eco-tourist hotel for community-based
Developing and promoting a Center for the teaching of traditional
values and ancient methodologies will further sponsor the program
of reforestation and water catchments in neighboring communities
as well as the value of supporting these efforts over time. The
building of a community-shared eco-tourism program including hotel
will provide for sharing and networking with sponsors and earth
stewards from Ecuador and foreign countries.
Estimated Cost: 7,500 US