Tuesday, June 3, 2014

El Día del Árbol

La siembra es un acto de echar raíces y contribuir al futuro.
Planting is an act of putting down roots and contributing to the future.

On Thursday May 22, 2014 the children and youth at the Family Support Center in Llanos del Pinal celebrated Guatemalan Arbor Day (El Día del Árbol). 

First we split the kids into two groups.  The youngest kids colored a tree color-by-number drawing while the older children and youth discussed the importance of trees as well as learned about the specific types of trees that we were going to plant.

Checking out the land where we were going to plant

When asked what trees do, the kids provided a deluge of responses, including:
  • Trees give us shade
  • Trees give us oxygen to breathe
  • Trees absorb pollutants and clean the air
  • Trees protect us from wind and rain
  • Trees help recycle water
  • Trees help hold soil in place and prevent landslides (all too common in Guatemala)
  • Trees provide food and a home to animals, especially birds
  • Trees provide food for human beings
  • Fallen trees and leaves create broza that can be collected and then used in fields to put nutrients back into the soil
  • Trees give us products like paper, pencils, medicines, construction materials, and firewood
Next we talked about the trees that we usually plant as part of our reforestation project (we will plant hundreds of trees with the kids in late June) as well as the types of trees that we would be planting to celebrate Arbor Day.

We talked about the pinabete, an endangered species indigenous to Mesoamerica.  We also talked about the aliso (alder birch) and eucalyptus which is often used for medicinal purposes in Guatemala.  Because of a shortage of pinabete, we planted white pines instead.

Planting a white pine

Planting a pino blanco (white pine)

The last part of the celebration was the group planting of five trees.  The kids took turns digging and planting the trees.

Planting a eucalyptus tree

Planting an aliso (alder birch)

Luckily we arrived back at the Family Support Center right before the rains started!

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