Tag: volunteering

Globalworks & Sandy Spring Friends School March 2016

This great bunch of seniors from Sandy Spring Friends School in Washington DC, spent a few days working on major pruning around the homestead and laying the foundation for a new floor.
We were super impressed with the sheer hard work carried out, and this time we had great sunny weather as well. Thanks to school staff, Leah and Barry, and Globalworks facilitators, Scott & Arie. Magha made great food throughout, whilst 3t, Andres, Ricardo, and Alex led the work crews. BIG THANKS to all.

Pepperdine, App State, Fountain Valley: Volunteer Groups March 2016

These intrepid students from Fountain Valley High School, Colorado Springs spent 5 days of hard labor on projects ranging from nursery work and trail-blazing with 3t, to roadwork with Andres, and woodworking with Ricardo and Alex. This is the third year of FVS students volunteering at Las Casas de la Selva. We are honored to have worked alongside you all. Welcome back anytime! Thanks to Deb and Brett, awesome staff who accompanied the students. Also huge thanks to Magha Garcia for the delicious food. Check back in the coming weeks for more pix.

This was our 2016 Appalachian State University Team of hardworking volunteers on their Alternative Service Experience during Spring Break. We all worked on a multitude of tasks at Las Casas de la Selva, including organization of the sheds and workshop, deconstruction of an old roof, and ditch-digging for a new floor. AS Staff member, Mona helped in the library with cleaning abd book maintenance and care. We are thrilled every year to receive students from App State and every year just gets better. Abbie (her second year at Las Casas de la Selva) and Lucas – hats off to you for great team leadership. We thank you all for your labors, along with the fine company. See you soon again. Thanks also to Lizbeth Velez for participation with the groups, helping in all aspects of management.
Great team from Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA. This team built the two extra showers, that we need as some of our groups in the year are over 15 people. The year’s compost pile was emptied and a new one started. Thank you Carsen and Kris for leading the team and thank you all for such tremendous company and hard work. This team lived in a mountain cloud for the most part of their time here. It rained a lot!

Thank You! To all our 2015 Volunteers

We are really thankful that individuals decide to come and volunteer their talents, time, and labor at Las Casas de la Selva. The project is a perfect place to immerse yourself into a new biome: the rainforest of Puerto Rico!

Special thanks to Tim Dehm, who stayed for three months and looked after Las Casas de la Selva for the month of October, in 2015, whilst 3t and Andres attended the annual Synergist Conference, in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Earthwatch Expedition – December into January 2016

Back row L-R: Inset, Israel Guzman, Herb Wexler, Janet Richards, Kamal Daghistani, Ziyou Yang, Diane Bentz, Julio Rodriguez. Front: Magha Garcia, Marigail Bentz, Chari Kauffman, Danny Nip, Patricia Salomon, Riona Kobayashi, 3t Vakil, Andres Rua.

Israel Guzman, President of SOPI, led the team into the forest for the first Winter Bird Surveys at Las Casas de la Selva. Marta Edgar previously carried out two years of surveys in the summer months with Earthwatch volunteers.

Volunteers and Visitors Oct Nov Dec 2015

Daniel DioGuardi and Karen Babis volunteered in 2015, getting down and dirty on homestead clean-ups and helping on logistics with an Earthwatch teen team

Tim Dehm has volunteered at Las Casas de la Selva since late September 2015. He is taking a break and hopes to return in 2016. Tim managed the homestead whilst 3t and Andrés were at the Annual Institute of Ecotechnics Conference in Santa Fe, NM. Tim is working on fine-woodworking along with a host of other project responsibilities.

L-R: Luis Martínez Rodríguez, Ruth (Tata) Santiago, Wanda I. Rodríguez Rivera,Yaminnette Rodríguez, Ricardo Valle Pérez & Tim Dehm

William Davidowski, is retired, and since August 2015 volunteers his time helping in the wood-shop, making products to sell, passing on his fine woodworking knowledge to ready, able, and willing apprentices.

Natalie Harrison dropped in for a couple of weeks in December 2015 to help with all and everything.

CEO of The Institute for Regional Conservation, Craig van der Heiden, and his wife Sheryl, stopped in for a day to see the project and understand a bit more about what we do here.

Kamal Dagistani volunteered for ten days and helped with all logistics for an Earthwatch team 28th Dec 2015- 6th Jan 2016.

Wanda Rodriguez, from Guayama volunteered on gardens.

Big Thanks to all our volunteers in 2015. Whether here for long or short stays, every little bit of help -helps!!

Earthwatch Team 4 July 2015

Earthwatch Team 4, July 2015. This team of teenage Earthwatchers spent time in the forest with 3t collecting seedlings, planting and monitoring endangered endemic tree species, and time with Norman in Hormiga Valley on herpetological surveys. Karen Babis,an Earthwatch volunteer in the past and her partner, Daniel Dioguardi spent time at the project and helped out in the field. Big thanks to Earthwatch Program Manager, Kyle Hutton, (third from left in image below), and Lena Cosentino for great teen team leadership.
Myriam Bourassa made this wonderful video (https://youtu.be/n1me_5p_CLc) of her time here.

Images by 3t Vakil, Karen Babis, Andres Rua, Lena Cosentino, and Daniel DioGuardi 2015

July 2015 VolunTREEadventures

If you are ready for a life challenge, interested in your personal development, and feel that you have useful skills and proficiency, or perhaps would like to learn how to do something completely new and different, hold a genuine love of the natural world, and want to live with other people and experience cultural changes, and life in another biome, please contact us. We welcome you to participate in VolunTREEadventure, the project’s total system as a volunteer. Three weeks is a good way to start.

Earthwatch Team 2 June 2015

Thank you Earthwatchers for your help in herpetological surveys, planting of endangered endemic trees, Cornutia obovata and Styrax portoricensis, and for help in the nursery re-potting seedlings collected from the previous year.

Principal Investigators: Dr. Mark Nelson, 3t Vakil, Norman Greenhawk.

2015 Images by 3t Vakil, Lisa Bennet, and Susannah Garrett.

Northwestern Alternative Spring Break March 2015

This all-ladies team helped out with a whole host of tasks, including the on-going plastering of the new terrace wall, and workshop cleaning, clearing, and management. Along with a salsa dance class, they enjoyed the rivers in the forest of Las Casas de la Selva, and also took a paddle-boarding class at Inches Beach in Patillas, with Omar Garcia. Thank you ladies for all your enthusiastic teamwork, we enjoyed your company immensely.

Fountain Valley High School March 2015

Fountain Valley High School from Colorado Springs, in their second annual collaboration with Las Casas de la Selva. This team of enthusiastic teenagers worked on the ethnobotanical trail, helped grade the main drive, helped in the wood workshop, learnt how to use a lathe with Andres Rua, and turn wood, had a Puertorrican cooking class with Magha Garcia Medina, enjoyed a salsa dance class with Yara, and after an afternoon at the beach, Villa Pesqueras in Patillas, and a wonderful dinner at Habitarte, Route PR 15, with Wanda and Riccardo. It was a pleasure to get to know you all.

Appalachian State University ASB March 2015

In their third year of collaboration with Las Casas de la Selva, this App State Team worked hard on maintenance of the main drive, our life-line to the outside. In amongst all this manual labor we ate well, thanks to Magha Garcia Medina, and also visited the Habitarte Project on Route PR 15. Thanks to Wanda and Riccardo for hosting us for an evening. We also took the team to swim and kayak off the spectacular Villa Pesquera, Patillas Beach. Several of the team were lucky to swim with three manatees that frequent this zone. Thank you App State…hope we see you back next year!

Pepperdine University – Getting down and dirty! March 2015

Pepperdine University students spent seven days at Las Casas de la Selva, helping with various tasks led by Andrés Rúa, ranging from plastering the new retaining wall and walls on the main house, as well as work on the ethnobotanical trail, step-building, pruning, and prepping surfaces for more work. This team were lucky to have a cooking class with renowned gourmet chef Magha Garcia Medina, and a rocking Salsa Dance Class with Yara Soler Garcia.

We had a superb time with this team, and we thank you all for all the joy and enthusiasm that you brought to the project. Please revisit in the future! Thanks also to William Robinson who has been volunteering here for one month.

On the second day of the group’s visit, Simarouba, our beautiful white cat gave birth to 5 kittens. Magha Garcia Medina takes the students on an exploration of the foods of Puerto Rico, and we end up with a Sancocho for dinner. If you have never had Sancocho, here’s the place to come and try it!

Earthwatch Team: December 2014 -January 2015

Back L-R: Stan Rullman Cindy Stieger, Margaret Baisley, PI Norman Greenhawk
Front L-R: PI 3t Vakil, Charlotte Field, Colleen Casey, Andrés Rúa
All pix on this page thanks to all above.

See Stan’s Blog about this trip!
https://earthwatchunlocked.wordpress.com/2015/04/30/from-trees-to-coquis-an-earthwatch-scientist-explores-puerto-ricos-rainforest/ 2015

Globalworks at Las Casas de la Selva July 2014

Thank you Globalworks, we appreciate all your hard work on the forest road, pruning, and working on drainage ditches. The help in the gardens was also great, clearing vines and digging the soil to loosen it all up.

For 23 years, Global Works has been providing exceptional Community Service, Cultural Exchange, Adventure Travel, and Language Immersion programs for teens, which foster personal growth and promote social and cultural awareness for the participant and the communities involved.

Fountain Valley High School, March 15-19, 2014

A team of Fountain Valley High School students from Colorado Springs, CO, spent five days with us. Led by Andrés and 3t, the students completely emptied out the entire woodworking and machine shop, cleaned and organized all the tools, cleaned machines, took out all the wood stockand re-organized it, and left the workshop clean, organized and far more user-friendly! Students also worked in the nurseries and trails with Norman. Thank you to Deb Prantl and Vydia Garcia for tremendous team leadership, and a super big thanks to all the students who carried out such an incredible task. We really appreciated your help, and also the constant smiles and endless enthusiasm.

Please come back in the future!

Vella, Genny, and Tim – volunteers March 2014

Genny and Tim, spent 10 days with us during the Appalachian State University group’s visit, and helped with all aspects of the project. We really appreciated their wonderful company, super hard work, and enthusiasm! They are off to spend more time at our sister project Synergia Ranch, Center for Innovation and Retreats, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. https://synergiaranch.com/about-us/

Appalachian State University March 9-15, 2014

Appalachian State University students worked really hard on a diversity of projects at Las Casas de la Selva; plastering the bunkhouse, making a ramp for access to the dining room, pruning, gardening, nursery work, moving soil, making a new compost, emptying the humanure compost ready for use, and many other tasks. Wow! We thank you all for being such wonderful company this last week. We’ll see you again!

Vanderbilt University March 1-8, 2014

Vanderbilt University students have just spent several days with us at Las Casas de la Selva, and we have had a super time, working hard! Students learnt the art of plastering on the bunkhouse, led by Andres, and also helped with heavy labor and soil renewal on the Papaya Terraces with 3t. In their time here, they also got to do a leaf litter study with Norman and hiked into the forest. Thank you for your remarkable teamwork, and thanks Zach and Julia, team leaders who did a great job. We salute you all! Come back and see us again soon.

Vella Lovell, a student at The Julliard School of Dance, Drama and Music, NY, volunteered at Las Casas de la Selva for the days that Vanderbilt University students were here. Thanks for all your hard work and enthusiasm lovely lady!

Why volunteer here?

Why volunteer at Las Casas de la Selva? See this 3 minute video by Ben Zenner.

This 3 min video was produced by Ben Zenner, a volunteer of Las Casas de la Selva in April of 2013. Ben is a videographer and graphic designer, and is in the process of developing a non profit design firm to help organizations with their online media presence and funding efforts, and to connect students and individuals with potential volunteer opportunities. For more information about Ben and his project called Volunteer Dream, check out his website: www.benzenner.com/

Thank you Ben!