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Reach Out for the Forest

Help Rehabilitate Las Casas de la Selva
Publication of Discovery: Dec. 31, 2017
Issue: December, 2017

People who love forests and like to contribute for the rehabilitation of natural areas might be interested to provide volunteer services in Patillas, Puerto Rico, under the following program.

Tropic Ventures Research and Education Foundation Volunteer Program:

(a) Place where you may volunteer services

Las Casas de la Selva in the Municipality of Patillas, Puerto Rico

(b) Leading organization: Tropic Ventures Research and Education Foundation, Inc.

During the last 20 years, Tropic Ventures Research and Education Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit organization, has been in charge of the volunteer program and scientific research effort related to the Tropic Ventures Sustainable Forestry & Rainforest Enrichment Project. The home of this project has been Las Casas de la Selva, located on 1,000 acres of forest and mountain land adjacent to the Carite Forest land in Patillas, Puerto Rico.

A principal mission of the organization has been to research and demonstrate the economic use of forest land while not destroying its ecosystem. In 1983, the Institute of Ecotechnics began the initial project efforts as it performed pioneering experiments related to sustainable rainforest ecology through the line-planting of valuable timber trees. Among the tree species that had been planted in Las Casas de la Selva are mahogany, mahoe, pine, ausubo, granadillo, roble, maría, and caimitillo.

In 2017, the Tropic Ventures Sustainable Forestry & Rainforest Enrichment Project was awarded the 2017 Energy Globe National Award. To learn more about this award, you may read the “delve!” subsection.

As a result of the impact of Hurricane María in September 2017, the foundation needs your help to rehabilitate Las Casas de la Selva's forest and homestead.

(c) Volunteer works

Phase I- Initial Site Rehabilitation, Survey Works and Ecological Restoration

Tasks and works such as (i) general clearing and cleaning of the research center and homestead, (ii) removal of debris, (iii) forest road and homestead infrastructure repair, (iv) trail works such as clearing fallen trees and establishment of drainage, (v) works on the main driveway, including drainage and erosion control, (vi) tree scouting and survey to collect data about the status of the trees following Hurricane María, (vii) collection of seedlings from the forest for reforestation purposes, (viii) river erosion control and protection, and (ix) creation of a new tree nursery and food gardens.

As of the date of publication of this article, Phase I is the current phase of the volunteer program.

Phase II- Reconstruction

Tasks such as preparing the project land and roads (continuance of infrastructure works), and building a new hurricane-proof research center, with alternative energy and water supply.

You may contact the nonprofit organization for the expected beginning date of Phase II.

Phase III- Reforestation and Agricultural Works

Continuance of ecological restoration works, and tasks related to the cultivation of soil, erosion control, propagation of new trees from seed, and planting of tree seeds or young trees as well as seeds for the growth of crops.

(d) Minimum required qualifications to participate as a volunteer

General Minimum Requirements:

(i) To be 18 years old or older. Minors need prior written authorization from a parent or legal guardian,

(ii) To be in healthy condition since volunteers engage in strenuous tasks,

(iii) To be ready, willing, and able to perform the volunteer works.

Additional Skills Required for Volunteers during January-April 2018:

To be self-starters and have the ability to work both alone and with other people, organize and prioritize tasks, cook, and clean, and have handyman skills, among others.

You may contact the organization for more information about any other requirements to participate as a volunteer.

(e) Organization’s website:

(f) Contact information:

Thrity Vakil, President of Tropic Ventures Research and Education Foundation

Note: The information provided herein is based on information submitted by the volunteer program organization. Please contact the organization for any updated information regarding the volunteer program.

tour provider: Yourself at Nature
book here
where the crew ate: At the Volunteer-Service Site
photograph by: Thrity Vakil

Note: This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all details with the pertinent businesses before planning your trip. Please be cautious. The company behind this publication assumes no responsibility for your safety when participating in the activities mentioned in this article. You are responsible for confirming whether you are capable of participating in any of these activities or tours, regardless of the effort level or any other information provided in this website.


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Tyrone Moore, Luquillo, Puerto Rico- “After volunteering my services at Las Casas de la Selva, I can say it is a place where you can be one with nature and learn about true appreciation and respect for conservation of the earth. The strong roots of true ecological thinking and living have ran deep in this place, and I couldn’t help but to fall into line with these and become part of something truly special.”


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