We celebrated Earth Day in Tarrazú by planting a tree in the garden of one of our Earthwatch colleagues. Tree planting is, of course, a perfect activity to undertake on this day – and the whole idea of sequestering carbon, offsetting some of the carbon in the atmosphere that contributes to global climate change meshes nicely with the research we’re doing on forest fragments here in the valley.
The Ernst & Young team finished up strong, completing several days of fieldwork as well as preparing and delivering a presentation to the management of CoopeTarrazú, the coffee grower’s cooperative with whom we’re working. We wrapped up the week with a barbecue at a local farmer’s house – smoked pork, rice and beans, and homemade tortillas!
Saturday afternoon I accompanied several of the Earthwatch volunteers down towards to the Pacific, stopping for a few hours in a small farming village to say hi to some friends at Rancho Mastatal, an environmental learning center that is often on the itinerary when I am leading UWT study abroad courses in Costa Rica. After touring the many sustainable building projects around the ranch (including a new biodigester, composting toilets, earth ovens, and a bevy of open-air buildings made mostly of local materials), we took a short hike in the rainforest, culminating in a refreshing swim in a nearby waterfall. I said goodbye to the volunteers after a dinner on the coast, and returned to Tarrazú late Saturday night, ready to greet a new team of volunteers on Sunday morning!