Author page: thrity

2018 Volunteers: Thank You!

Thrity and Andrés extend a huge, huge THANK YOU to all the volunteers who have come to Las Casas de la Selva in 2018, and given love, labor, (mental, emotional, & physical support) to us and the project after the Hurricanes (Irma and Maria) that dealt us a devastating setback in 2017. We salute you all, please stay in touch and come back again. This sustainable forestry project only exists because people want it to.

Very, very special thanks to architect David Henebry, who personally funded and worked on several reconstruction projects at the end of 2018 and into 2019. These included: A casita roof mended; a new roof on el teatro; the lean-to structure that the new tree nursery will inhabit when finished; a cement porch floor. Trees were also planted, amongst many other tasks! Thank you so much David for all your love and support of this project. Thanks also to friends Robert Lane, Lance Strawn, & Harry Zubik who contributed funds and labor.

Special Volunteer: To mention one volunteer may seem unfair, but Chris D. Miller was an ACE volunteer for three months, 2018-2019.

George Locascio has been coming to Las Casas for several years, and we give huge thanks for all his labor in chainsaw work this last year!

In December 2017 and January 2018, Kira Kranzler, Matthew Mullinix, contributed critical funds and materials to re-roof the kitchen, as well as love and labor only a few months after Hurricane Maria, when the homestead was barely useable, and there was no electricity. Huge thanks and hugs for loving the place, the gardens, and the animals. Thanks also to Sally Richardson, & to Dan Kranzler for funding the kitchen roof!

Special mention: 3t’s two high school friends, Jane Linkson Clark and Joanne Patience Finch made social media contact with 3t several years ago…and in 2018 both were agreed that their kids needed an experience that might change their lives. Whether it did, or not, remains to be seen, (and perhaps they might testify to something, years down the line, but 3t had a wonderful and productive time with them, as solo volunteers who also got to partake in service-work with several large volunteer groups, like Horizons For Youth from Chicago, and Americorps Teams, carrying out hard labor to clear and prune the homestead. Ciaran Clark, 17 years old, and Florence Finch, 16 years old, volunteered at Las Casas de la Selva for one month with 3t as their guardian.

THANK YOU….ALL OF YOU! Please keep coming back.

Images by 3t Vakil, 2018

Movie of Hurricane Maria at Las Casas de la Selva

Thank you to all our 2018 volunteer teams!

Thank you to all the teams of volunteers in 2018 that came to help us in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
We are eternally grateful for all your hard labor on the homestead and in the forest! We salute you. Please keep coming back and forging strong relationships with this forest, and to keep the mission of sustainable forestry going.

Americorps Youth 2018 at Las Casas de la Selva

Since June 2018 many Americorps youth in Puerto Rico, chose to come to Las Casas on their volunteer days. The tasks at the project, led by 3t, are always hard labor, but fun. The mountain breeze, along with the cold mountain water, and terrific views, make it a hard-to-resist location!

These wonderful teams have helped with all manner of tasks including clearing debris, gardening, digging out landslides, digging drainage ditches, bridge repair, general construction, and helping with main drive maintenance. We are really appreciative of the service ethic that these folks have demonstrated.

Americorps youth (who are here in Puerto Rico working with FEMA on hurricane relief), continue to volunteer at Las Casas in 2019. Thank you very much for your service!

All images by 3t Vakil

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all our Friends and Family around the planet. Giving thanks at the end of 2018 to all the wonderful folks who have supported this project after the devastation of Hurricane Maria, with financial aid, to hard on-the-ground labor. We continue to clean-up and rebuild. We look forward to 2019 and the beginning of many new collaborations and projects. Please let us know if you can help in any way.

2018 is over!


The Institute of Ecotechnics USA 501(c)(3) Not-for-profit Organization (No. 74-3177755), is currently taking in donations earmarked for the Las Casas de la Selva Rainforest Project severely damaged by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Please put a note with your donation that it is for Las Casas. Thank you for your contribution.
100% of your donation goes to the project.

Check: Tax Deductible Donations payable to: Institute of Ecotechnics.

Mail to: 1 Bluebird Ct., Santa Fe, New Mexico, 87508 USA

Bank Transfer information for USA Tax Deductible Donations

Institute of Ecotechnics (I.E.), USA

Bank of America

Address of Bank: 1234 St. Michaels’s Drive, Santa Fe, NM 87508

ABA #026009593

I.E. Account #439003497362

International Wire Transfers to our Merrill Lynch account:

ABA 026009593

[International Banks use SWIFT-BIC: BOFAUS3N]

Bank of America, N.A.

100 West 33rd Street

New York, NY 10001

To Primary Acct Name: Merrill Lynch

Acct #: 6550113516

For final credit to Institute of Ecotechnics ML account number 456-02174

Donations in Stock can be sent to our Merrill Lynch account:

Use the above Merrill Lynch account information and this DTC#: 5198

For UK registered charity Nº 1081259, mail to: 24 Old Gloucester Street, London WC1N 3AL England

Thank you, we really appreciate your support!

Movie of Hurricane Maria at Las Casas de la Selva

Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm on the morning of 20th September, 2017, bringing winds at about 160 mph to an island that dodged the worst of Hurricane Irma’s destructive power only a few weeks previous. Tropic Ventures Sustainable Forestry and Rainforest Enrichment Project established 35 years ago, by the Institute of Ecotechnics in Puerto Rico, lay directly in her path.

Project Directors, Thrity (3t) Vakil and Andrés Rúa took shelter in the concrete bunker on the homestead, to emerge into a completely altered reality, a transformed world.

This is 3t’s visual story of the impact of Hurricane Maria on the rainforest project in Patillas, on the land known as Las Casas de la Selva, south east Puerto Rico.

Edited by Corinna MacNeice

Use headphones to appreciate the soundscape by Andrés Rúa.

Keep checking in on our Facebook page for current updates:

City Winery Hurricane Recovery Brigade at Las Casas, January 2018

In January 2018, Camille Collazo and her team at Visit Rico organized donations to projects in Puerto Rico and a spectacular event help to several farms in Puerto Rico. Teams of 30 people from City Winery descended on these places for a day and helped with debris removal from Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Las Casas was chosen as a site to build a stage to have a gourmet dining and music experience. We milled our own fallen pine, and in one day a stage was built. The day was an energetic movement that words cannot describe, bringing much needed help to devastated areas at the Las Casas homestead.

The Visit Rico initiative received support from the Foundation for Puerto Rico, the Segarra Boerman Foundation, the non-profit organization Slow Food, PRxPR and private entities such as Para La Naturaleza and Microjuris. There were fundraisers with Cape Cod Farm, Gramercy Tavern with Chef Juan José, El Boricuá Fund in Minnesota and Crazy Legs from Rock Steady for Life. In addition, Farmer’s Markets outside of Puerto Rico expressed their solidarity with the cause.

Institute of Ecotechnics directors, Marie Harding & Freddy Dempster visited and were a huge help in all areas. Freddy set-up an LED light-system in all the communal areas of the homestead, and life has been upgraded immensely. Las Casas de la Selva, in the mountains will not get electricity for many more months.

Here is a lively video of the story by Forbes Magazine:

And a great write-up:

Thank you to all the volunteers who really worked hard, in the pouring rain, to set-up the stage area and footings, including: 3t, Andrés, Andrés Rúa Senior, Ramon Rúa, Axel Rúa, Kai Griebenow, Vanessa Acevedo, and Juanita Gonzalez.

Images: 3t Vakil.
Group photo by Marie Harding.


Las Casas de la Selva receives the prestigious 2017 Energy Globe National Award for Puerto Rico in recognition for it’s sustainable forestry program testing the efficacy of line-planting enrichment in the wet tropical forest to achieve both economic return and protection of natural biological resources.

Puerto Rico National Award Ceremony held on the 18th December, where The Honorary Consul of Austria, August Schreiner, presented the certificate. Thanks to all our friends who came to share in this special event. Onwards to Tehran in the New Year for the Global award ceremony!

Las Casas de la Selva project was initiated in 1983 by the Institute of Ecotechnics (IE), an international non-profit organization pioneering innovative, healthy land-use in rainforest, grassland, desert, city and ocean coral reef biomes. IE was also key participant in the design and construction of Biosphere 2, the world’s largest laboratory for the study global ecology ever built. Tropic Ventures, LLC, manages the 1000 acre project in Puerto Rico, developing a unique approach to enrichment of secondary rainforests called “line-planting”, planting valuable tree species in cleared lines or blocks to simulate forest openings when tall trees fall within current forest vegetation. This offers critical soil erosion protection, preserves biodiversity, and facilitates forest development.

“Their work exemplifies our search for new approaches that can meet human economic needs while not only preserving but upgrading the local ecology. This is especially important in Puerto Rico, which a century ago had lost almost all its original forest but now has the fastest re-growth of secondary forest of any country in the world. The project has also demonstrated the value of rescuing old urban trees currently being cut down and literally sent to landfills.”

Energy Globe Awards Committee

The project has helped catalyze Puerto Rico’s governmental, university, and popular appreciation of the value of their native forest. Developing techniques that produce sustainable timber in the critical biome of the world’s rainforests is essential to maintain its amazingly rich biodiversity. It demonstrates there are viable alternatives to clear-cutting and short-term exploitation of the rainforest. Puerto Rico which currently faces so much economic distress is just awakening to the potential of sustainable use of forestry resources.

In September 2017, untold thousands of trees fell down, or broke, during Category 4 Hurricane Maria, blocking roads and damaging buildings and homes. The immediate challenge in Puerto Rico is to help in the relief of the impact of the hurricane, and create an industry from the resources that are currently lying on the ground rather than discard them as waste. The essence is to lower the cost of hurricane recovery, saving on equipment, transport and landfill costs, and to create an enterprise using this timber. This will result in the creation of jobs and demonstrate the value of this currently largely under utilized natural resource.

Thank you to the Earthwatch Institute for the volunteers who have helped us to gather data in our forest over almost two decades, and to Globalworks, and all the university and teen groups that have helped in all manner of activities to bring Las Casas to this moment in time. We salute you all.

Thank you to Energy Globe for this prestigious recognition of our work in forestry on the island of Puerto Rico!

3t and Andres have been invited to the 4 day award ceremony in Tehran, Iran in January 2018, which includes the Energy Globe World Award nomination and ceremony. Please help us to get there. Resources are truly stretched after Hurricane Maria!

In the Eye of Hurricane Maria 20 Sept 2017

On Wednesday 20th September Hurricane Maria made a direct hit on the island of Puerto Rico on the southeast shore. As a nearly Category 5 storm, with winds of 155 miles per hour, and 45 inches of rain, Maria lashed the island for longer than 30 hours. Thrity and Andrés were hunkered down in the library bunker at the project for the ten hour duration of this very violent hurricane.

Above: The Hurricane’s Path across Puerto Rico. The eye was 10 miles wide.

Las Casas de la Selva, Sustainable Forestry and Rainforest Enrichment project suffered devastating damage to trees and property within the eye of this extremely violent hurricane.

The project was still in recovery from the damage and results of Hurricane Irma which skirted the north coast of Puerto Rico on 6th September 2017.

Thrity Vakil, Project Director, has left the island two weeks after the hurricane, to raise funds for rebuilding the project.

Technical director Andrés Rúa remains on the ground at the project, and is keeping us updated on everything when he can find cell signal in the metropolitan areas of San Juan.

With the entire infrastructure of the island devastated, as of 7th October, 90% of the island’s people are without electricity or cell signal, and there are gas and diesel shortages, along with food, water, and health issues, facing the entire population of the island.

We will prevail in this very difficult time, and faced with the difficult task of asking for help.
If any of you are able to donate any funds towards getting us back on our feet, it will be very much appreciated.

The Institute of Ecotechnics, (a US 501 c 3), has set up a Las Casas Disaster Relief Fund and we are grateful for any help you can give. Go to this page to click the donate button.

Or please send a check payable to Institute of Ecotechnics with a note for Las Casas Disaster Fund. Send to: 26, Synergia Road, Santa Fe, NM, 87508.

Andrés and 3t, along with the founders of Las Casas de la Selva, the Directors of The Institute of Ecotechnics, thank you, and are eternally grateful for your support in this exceptionally difficult time.

HELP US rescue the wood from fallen trees after Hurricane Maria

Friends around the planet! Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico. All around us there are fallen trees of valuable hardwoods. We cannot allow these tree trunks to be dumped into landfill or chipped into small pieces. Help us raise the funds needed to begin the process of dealing with the situation.

The road in front of us is long and hard, but we must be responsible for our futures and create sustainable living on this small island of Puerto Rico, in every way possible. If you feel helpless right now, here is one way to help relief efforts, by helping us to save tree trunks from the debris and to mill the wood for use.

Puerto Rico Hardwoods (PRH),maintains that sustainability must start with minimization of waste, and intelligent use of local resources rather than contributing to the devastation of forests in other countries.

As many of you know, PRH was created and developed by Andrés Rúa and Thrity Vakil. As founders and former directors of the Agroforestry Development Advisory Council (CADA), Rúa and Vakil’s broader vision is to promote sustainable forestry on the island, and to reduce the vegetative waste going to landfill. They are both current Directors of Tropic Ventures Sustainable Forestry and Rainforest Enrichment Project in Patillas, Puerto Rico, established 30 years ago by The Institute of Ecotechnics.

Thank you for your support. We cannot do it without you.

14th October, 2017

Planting Vetiver – July 2017

Planting Vetiver for erosion control and bank stabilization.

Chrysopogon zizanioides, is commonly known as vetiver.

Vetiver grass has a special root system that works above and below ground, to ensure steep soil stabilization and erosion control. Vetiver’s roots grow downward, 2 metres (7 ft) to 4 metres (13 ft) in depth, deeper than some tree roots. The sturdy, hard stems create hedges, which act to protect the topsoil, dissipate wind and water energy, slow down water flow, trap sediments, and control water runoff. There are at least 11 species of vetiver and lots of cultigens and cultivars. There is one species, Chrysopogon zizanioides, that is sterile, so there is no concern about it being invasive.

This current planting project aims to protect our newly graded road, by stabilizing the banks.

Thanks to Alberto Rodriguez for the Vetiver.

And gratitude to Summer Powers, who brought her two friends, Serena Tsui and Katherine Tsui to volunteer as well, for ten days. (Summer first volunteered here in 2015 with a Globalworks Teen Team, lead by Scott Page). We love returners. Thank you ladies!

Please see this page for info about volunteering at Las Casas de la Selva, Patillas, Puerto Rico. We always appreciate the power of people who love our biosphere.

July 2017

Appalachian State University A-S-E March 2017

For seven years now, March has been a time to welcome new groups and also those who have forged long-term relationships with our project. Since 2011, Appalachian State University students having been coming to offer their services in their Spring Break time.

Back Row, L-R: Prof. Shea Tuberty, Josi Carder, Brooke Henderson, Celeste Womack, Anthony Ajaero, Daniel Burwell, Cole Ronk.
Front Row: Mackenzie Francisco, Hallie Langley, Jaycie Loud, Magha Garcia, 3t Vakil, Andrés Rúa.

This March 2017, group leaders were Jaycie Loud & Daniel Burwell, accompanied by seven of their adventurous peers, and one awesome chaperone, Professor of Biology, Shea Tuberty. From stacking wood in our drying shed, to re-organizing our workshop, to building a small forde on the river on the Ethnobotanical Trail, this team was a delight for the project, and all the tasks were accomplished every day, mostly through rain. Yara Soler gave an excellent Salsa Dance class, and Magha Garcia cooked up a storm in the kitchen, serving the most delicious vegetarian meals. Ricardo Valles helped Andrés Rúa with crew leadership. 3t was the random element. A great dinner at Habitarte, a community fortifying project run by Wanda Rodriguez and Ricardo Valles Perez, in the spectacular mountains of Guayama. What is so remarkable is how many things we all accomplished together. The images below tell that tale of life at Las Casas de la Selva, for a week.

Appalachian State University, Biola UniversityPenn State York University, (and in April, Cambridge Montessori) are the only groups that have come to Las Casas this year. Many of our other regular groups were concerned by the reports of the Zika virus on the island of Puerto Rico, and followed the best info they had for peace of mind, and made the decision not to travel to Puerto Rico.

Please be assured that Zika is NOT a life-threatening concern for us here on the island, and we feel that the concerns about the virus have been unjustly hyped.

App State Professor of Biology, Shea Tuberty:  As a professor at Appalachian State University I understand our US colleagues’ interest in keeping our students safe during international travel. However, the Zika scare in Puerto Rico is entirely overplayed. We didn’t see a single mosquito while there this last week (March 12-18th, 2017). This is a wonderful project from A-Z focused on all things related to sustainability and deserves to continue on its long history of providing alternative spring break groups, researchers, and tourists a destination and opportunity for make a difference there. They are in serious need for help as they embark on their bridge project over a branch of Sonadora Creek to access the old coffee plantation section of the forest. Please consider reinstating your annual visits to Casas de la Selva soon.”

We welcome back next year all our friends from the various Universities and High Schools that could not come in 2017.♥

Come and experience the Alternative Service Experience!
Email: 3t @

From the Appalachian Website: “Consider an Alternative Service Experience and explore a variety of social issues while working with communities across the globe. Whether a domestic program on the gulf coast or an international program south of the equator, use your time during fall, winter, and spring break to create deeper connections between your classroom work and the communities of the world.”

Buy a Tee shirt and Help Support our Road and Bridge Building Project

Images by: 3t Vakil, Mackenzie Francisco, Celeste Womack, and Josie Carder
March 2017

University Students from UPR – We need you!


Comenzando el lunes 27 marzo en la mañana.

Durante los días del Paro Universitario te invitamos a que te unas como voluntarix al equipo de Las Casas de la Selva en Patillas, un proyecto de silvicultura sostenible, taller de trabajos en madera y agricultura orgánica. Aprenderás destrezas de trabajos en madera, un básico de manejo forestal y conocerás de los estudios científicos que se han llevado a cabo en nuestro proyecto entre otras cosas. El costo por estudiante es de $8.00 por día, esto incluye todas las comidas, dormitorio (bunkhouse) y duchas con agua caliente, además de vivir por unos días en uno de los lugares más hermosos de Puerto Rico, el área del Bosque de Carite, donde está localizado el proyecto.

Requisitos: Buscamos participaantes Listxs, Dispuestxs y Capaces, motivadxs, con actitud positiva y compromiso.

Solo 20 espacios disponibles. Por favor enviar un párrafo acerca de ti y porque te gustaría participar.

Correo electrónico:
Puedes visitar nuestra página de internet para que conozcas más de nosotros y de nuestro proyecto.

Muchas gracias, te esperamos.



Starts Monday 27th March 2017 in the morning.

During the days of the University strike we invite you to join as a volunteer of Las Casas de la Selva’s Team in Patillas, a sustainable forestry project, woodworking workshop and organic agricultural area. You will learn woodworking skills and the basics of forest management among other things. The cost per student is $8.00 per day. This includes all meals, bunkhouse accommodation, and showers with hot water. You will be living for a few days in one of the most beautiful places in Puerto Rico- the Carite forest area, where the project is located.

Requirements: All we ask is for Ready, Willing, and Able participants who are motivated, with a positive attitude and commitment.

Only 20 spaces available.
Please send a paragraph about yourself and why you would like to participate with us.
Email to:
You can visit our website for more about us and our project.
Thank you, we look forward to seeing you here.

3t Vakil and Andres Rua

Penn State University, York, March 2017

Click here for a whole bunch of fun images, with an international body of students from Penn State, York, who came through Globalworks to spend a few days helping in a grand overhaul of our workshop and wood storage. All these great images are by Penn State York chaperone, Judith Owen, and Globalworks Team Leader, Ava Murphey. Thank you all for a really wonderful time.

Freddy Dempster (Chief Engineer of Biosphere 2) joined us at Las Casas de la Selva during this period as well and made an inspiring Biosphere 2 presentation. Thank you to Magha Garcia for the fine food, Andrés Rúa, Ricardo Valle, for crew leadership and to Alfredo Lopez for being the random element help.

Google Album:

2017 Collaborations begin

19th January 2017: First planning meeting at Las Casas de la Selva about our next collaborative habitat restoration project, working with endemic and endangered Eugenia haematocarpa (Myrtaceae) on private lands in the Sierra de Cayey, and the vicinity of the Carite Commonwealth Forest.

This project is a collaboration between US Fish and Wildlife Service and Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources (PRDNER).

The tree we will be working with is Eugenia haematocarpa (uvillo), known only from the Caribbean National Forest in the Luquillo Mountains and on private property adjacent to the Carite Commonwealth Forest in the Sierra de Cayey. The Caribbean National Forest in the Luquillo Mountains has six distinct populations consisting of 119 individuals and the Carite population consists of 15 individuals.

Images by 3t Vakil January 2017

Biola University, CA, at Las Casas de la Selva, January 2017

Students from Biola University, California, spent three days with us, and with them we started the BIG project of 2017. In preparation for The Bridge and Road Building Project, we cleared the lower trail of much undergrowth and built a small shed for protection of equipment and supplies whilst building the bridge. Thank you everyone for your hard work and great enthusiasm, we really enjoyed your company here at Las Casas de la Selva.
Thanks to volunteer Juan Reyes, and to Magha Garcia for her wonderful food.

This bridge and road building project is only possible through a generous grant from the Salomon Family Foundation, (Pat and Julio), and donations from Roland Pesch, (USA), Mark and Vanessa Evans, (UK), and Starrlight Augustine, (Norway). Please contact 3t if you are able to help with projects in person, in kind, or financially.

Images by 3t Vakil January 2017

Buy an Eye On The Rainforest Teeshirt

Everyone who has ever been to Las Casas de la Selva, Sustainable Forestry project in Puerto Rico knows how important it is for us to access our forest. Several years ago, we lost our main bridge completely after the impact of two hurricanes and many tropical storms. We would like to build a new bridge, and access road, but we really need your help. Here’s a tee designed by 3t, that looks great, is reasonably priced, and will help us raise funds. 3t and Andrés are grateful for all you can do. Buy one for yourself (and one for a friend) as a Christmas or holiday gift, and we will work to make this bridge and road manifest together. Thank you!

Bridge/Road Building Project-Las Casas de la Selva

Mahoe Hardwood available now – December 2016

Mahoe, Hibiscus elatus, from our 30 year old tree plantations. These slabs were harvested in May, 2016, this year and were milled in August. We have had torrential rains for most of this year and keeping the shop and drying shed maintained is keeping us busy. Hence we are letting our woodworkers know that they can order wood that is not fully air-dried. Most woodworkers – we have learnt – like to continue to dry or season tropical hardwoods at their own pace in their local climate. The lowest moisture content we can achieve is 16% when we do dry it for 9 months to a year. The mahoe wood shown here varies between 20 and 30% moisture content. Please note well, that it is wise to dry it slowly in your area, which means leaving it wrapped in plastic and monitoring the further drying for at least two months.

All measurements are in inches, and all the pieces are BIGGER than stated for pricing. All ends are anchorsealed. All pieces include sapwood, and we do not include so much of that in the measurements. Where a board tapers, we make an average of the width. The photos show both sides of each board (eg: A1 and A2 are both sides of the same board).

Many of you already know our mahoe and are familiar with it. We have not planed any of this wood, so you are seeing the rough sawn surface, and some pieces (EFGH) were hosed with water. You will notice that there are dark streaks in some pieces, and they all have the delightful purple and bluey tones that mahoe is so famous for.

Please ask us if you have any questions, we are here to help. Please include in your email to 3t@ :
1) The NAME of the slab:
2) Your shipping address.
3) Your shipping preference for a quote: USPS Priority (4-6 days) or USPS Retail Ground (12-14 days) .

Secure payments through Paypal.

Buying our wood and products is the best way to support our sustainable forestry enterprise in Puerto Rico. Thank you for your support, it is highly appreciated.
More about Mahoe Hardwood

SLAB NAMELengthWidthThicknessBftPrice
A6191.55.71$114.20 SOLD
B6861.54.25$85.00 SOLD
C54111.56.18$123.60 SOLD
D5591.55.16$103.20 SOLD
SLAB NAMELengthWidthThicknessBftPriceSPECIAL PRICENotes
$120.00 SOLDPith just under 0.5″ on one side
SLAB NAMELengthWidthThicknessBftPriceNotes

Knot in K1 side
SLAB NAMELengthWidthThicknessBftPriceSPECIAL PRICENotes
P45.5121.35$81.76$65.00 SOLDHas pith through the slab.

Thank you!

Animal Training Team at Las Casas de la Selva – Nov 2016

Debbie Jacobs, 2nd from left, is leading a team of top animal trainers, from USA and Canada, traveling in Puerto Rico and Vieques to train animals, and their people, all over the island. Our dogs, Negralora, Nogal, Cenizo, Kailash the cat, as well as the chickens, all got a fair share of attention and training. The team are visiting dog shelters all over Puerto Rico and Vieques, in November 2016, offering free training to to provide pet owners, rescue groups, and shelter staff, information about the most effective and humane ways to train animals, and helping to get dogs into loving homes as soon as possible.

Working with horses and dogs the group demonstrated that – force, fear, intimidation, and pain, are not necessary in order to help our pets learn how to be happy and safe companions. The trip also offered trainers the opportunity to improve their knowledge and skills by supporting each other in their efforts to refine their training skills. The group visited and stayed in San Juan, Las Casas de la Selva, Carite Forest, as well as the island of Vieques.

The Dog Trainer’s Collaborative, (a group of professional dog and animal trainers)

Images by 3t – November 2016

Contacto Verde- Escuela Segunda Unidad Joaquin Parillas – Nov 2016

Thanks to Reinaldo Rivera Ortiz, above, Director of Citizen Help of Patillas, and the staff of the school, especially Juan Carlos.

Contacto Verde is a program created by the Department of Education and the Department of Natural Resources to facilitate the participation of students at all levels to visit and engage with places of ecological value in Puerto Rico; to encourage experiences with nature, as a complement to environmental education and as a tool to promote the strengthening of cognitive skills and student learning.

La Ley Núm. 36 de 23 de marzo de 2015 crea el programa de gestión ambiental Contacto Verde, adscrito al Departamento de Educación de Puerto Rico y a ser desarrollado en coordinación con el Departamento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales. Esta ley también ordena crear un comité de coordinación y establecer sus funciones, facultades y deberes con el propósito de garantizar la participación de los estudiantes de todos los niveles del sistema educativo en talleres y actividades de visitas a lugares de valor ecológico en Puerto Rico, para fomentar las experiencias de contacto con la naturaleza como complemento para las gestiones de educación ambiental y como herramienta para propender al fortalecimiento de las destrezas cognoscitivas y de aprendizaje del estudiantado. El programa también busca fomentar la participación familiar en actividades ambientales, desarrollar la sensibilidad ambiental y el desarrollo integral de nuestros niños y jóvenes.

Outdoor Adventure Field leaders in training – Oct 2016

These seven intrepid women from North Bay, Ontario, Canada are traveling through Puerto Rico, this October, as part of training to become Field leaders in expeditions. They stayed at Las Casas de la Selva and helped out for two days on manual labor tasks of clearing trails. Subjected to torrential rains, these ladies kept their smiles and energy high, and helped accomplish many tasks at hand.

Mackenzie Kerr said about this trip in advance: “We are a group of seven students in the Outdoor Adventure Naturalist program at Algonquin College in the Ottawa Valley. We are raising money to get us to Puerto Rico and assess the current economic crisis they are facing. We will be using the money to help support local volunteer and ecotourism businesses and better understand how members of the community are faring.”

Mackenzie’s remarks from Ontario, after the trip to explore Puerto Rico:

“Myself, and team of Outdoor Adventure Naturalist felt enlightened and welcomed during our stay in Puerto Rico. Various individuals were willing to discuss environmental and economical concerns regarding the outdoor industry. We found ourselves emerged in various ecosystems through our time on the island. We were able to see caves, kayak, hike various trails, visit the national parks, volunteer and explore all that the natural environment of Puerto Rico had to offer. We found ourselves at the Eye on the Rainforest for a nights stay. We were very intrigued by the project and learning about how it functioned. We were welcomed with open arms. Our team found ourselves, regrouping and finding relaxation from our stay. As we reflect on our trip in its entirety it is safe to say we learned about the ecology that exists on the island. But we also learned about the fantastic people and outdoor adventure that it has to offer.”

Images by 3t Oct 2016