This month was a quieter one for HTRIP’s Deschapelles activities. We continued our monthly educational program, collected broken tools and assembled community nursery inventories, and visited a mangrove restoration project the northern part of Haiti.
Paul Tompkins, a specialist in marine restoration ecology, left a grateful HTRIP staff in the middle of the month, but not before leading a trip to Bas Limbé, a small town on Haiti’s northern coast where USAID-DEED sponsored a mangrove restoration project that restored several kilometres of coastline before its funding ended this year. Before the trip, Paul gave a presentation for HTRIP staff about the importance of mangroves, which are not only an important habitat for fish but also an essential part of the overall ecological health of any coastal area. Just as trees prevent erosion from hillsides, mangroves act as a sediment trap that prevents topsoil from washing into the ocean—this type of erosion not only reduces fertility on land, but can suffocate coral reefs and disrupt marine ecosystems. Although the people in Bas Limbé work in a very different context than we do (on the beach instead of in the mountains), many of the concepts—like soil conservation—are the same for both of us, and the HTRIP staff benefited from seeing these same concepts applied in a different place. Other practices in Bas Limbé—like the “community watch” partnership with local authorities to prevent people from cutting down the new mangrove trees—may hold promise for the area that HTRIP serves.
This month's education topic was compost. The infertility of the soil in HTRIP communities means that composting is essential for planting trees—and just about anything else—in rocky, inhospitable conditions. HTRIP has always taught composting, but this year we have undertaken an initiative to encourage and enable all of our community nurseries to build and maintain a large, central compost pile. October’s education topic is nursery construction and management, in preparation for the beginning of our central and community tree nurseries in November.
While technicians were teaching and demonstrating composting techniques, they were also collecting broken tools and taking inventories of community nurseries. Just as we hope to begin construction on our new central nursery this month, we will purchase and distribute the nursery materials we provide each year to our community nurseries.
We look forward to a busy month ahead. It was a pleasure to see so many of you at the Friends of HAS Gala in early September, and we thank you all for your continuing support,
The HTRIP Staff,
including Starry Sprenkle and Dan Langfitt