Trees, Bees & Possibilities

On this day the group is privileged to visit a site nearby Morretes where The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has been conducting rainforest restoration projects for years. The expanse of forest that the group visits is the biggest tract of Atlantic Rainforest left in Brazil, largely due to the efforts of TNC. Native species are selected for their fast growth and the seeds are harvested, then planted and raised in a nursery setting before being transplanted to the restoration site. Everyone gets an opportunity to participate in a tree planting, and then the group tours some plots that were planted in 2005 and 2007. In less than five years, an untrained eye is not able to tell new growth from old. The students are able to contrast this with restoration efforts undertaken in Vermont, that can take up to twenty years for similar results. Because the restoration has been so successful and there is not abundant work to be done any longer, TNC is making an attempt to provide the local people with alternative work. Native bee species are being reintroduced to the area, and locals are harvesting and marketing honey and propylase__. TNC has also built a beautiful nature center, gift shop, and dining area and hopes to provide tours of the area. The group is one of the first to experience a guided tour with an incredible lunch made by local people using local flavors. The end of tour concludes with a look at the carbon sequestration monitoring that TNC is doing on the site.