ECO-Tours only purchases trees and dirt to plant them in...

Monday, May 19, 2014

Spring 2014

We have had several developments this Spring that will increase our exposure, impact and membership that were beyond our imagination just a few short moons ago. In the depths of Winter, we were still trying to come up with fund-raising ideas to buy broadforks. Because the land we rehabilitate has often been compacted so thoroughly, getting air and water to penetrate deeply enough to be of use to soil organisms can be difficult. The broadfork is the single most effective tool at opening up soils to these important life giving substances. Just in the past moon or so, we have had offers of radio advertizing, a You tube commercial (which will be finished soon) and we have had several ECO-Tourists show up and ask to be included on our plant-ins. The message that we have been putting out in the world for over a decade is beginning to resonate for people who are exposed to information daily that reminds them of the need to do the best they can with what they've got, to live more lightly on the planet and to enhance their community for the good of all of us rather than ripping and tearing at the planet we call home.

One donor has come forward who is offering substantial quarterly donations for the next couple years and with their support, we will be able to reforest several dozen acres. Now, the difficult tasks remain, to find the best places for seedlings, places that will need soil remediation first and critical staging areas for our volunteers to meet and greet, have our lunches and distribute tools and water. The process has slowed because of limited funds, but we have been running skeleton crews for years, this larger donation will allow us to increase both our effectiveness and scope of our next several dozen ECO-Tour events.

Also this Spring, a generous donor has supplied a video projector which will enable us to share information more effectively to larger groups. Much like the Beehive Collective, our work is far more difficult to explain than is is to get done. There is a continuing groundswell of public support for doing the right things, but sharing the millions of tiny interactions and billions of discreet stories that lead to an ecology of mind can be difficult.

At the beginning of this moon, our director participated in the Green Bay Garden Blitz. This event lasted an entire weekend and we put in 111 (one hundred and eleven) 4 X 8 foot (1.3 X 2.6m) raised beds, and filling them with soil. Even though this effort only increased the number of gardens available for local residents by a tiny fraction of an acre, the beds are situated where people can grow their own food close to home. It was amazing to see hundreds of volunteers coming together for one purpose and these people will make great contacts for making future ECO-Tours possible, just by helping us to find participants, ECO-Tourists and folks who are interested in long term sustainability.

We have been spreading the volunteer elderberries, black and red raspberries and many dozen more cup plant seedlings as well as many hundreds more milkweed seeds in areas that will help wildlife to make their way. We have also created many more brush piles so that cover is available for creatures that might otherwise make easy prey. We have also been experimenting with biochar more and more, adding it to garden beds as well as areas that will later be planted with trees. This miracle substance was well-known to many "primitive" cultures, but because it can be made anywhere by anyone for a few pennies per quart, the mega-ag corporations that guide our current agricultural direction have not been interested in it. In speaking to South and Central Americans, Hmong people and other Asians, I have found that the tribal societies, wherever they have come from are quite familiar with using biochar, terra preta, or what is more commonly known as carbon as an amendment to soil. The problem that we are experiencing with these cultures is that many of the gardeners that come to America feel the need to assimilate and therefore they seek the "modern" ways of practicing their agriculture that we have in abundance here which poison the soil, kill off beneficial organisms and sterilize the soil ecosystem.

We will be offering to mentor new gardeners as well as continuing our tree planting efforts, this way we can bridge the gap between our own backyards and the neighborhoods that we find ourselves within.

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