» Archive for the 'volunteering' Category

Volunteer Spotlight: Rose

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010 by Marie

Wonderful Rose!  Rose volunteered at the Bosque for 11 weeks.  We miss her hard work, her subtle sense of humor, and the fun moments when she surprises you by breaking away from her normally quiet demeanor to say something witty or outrageous.  Her laugh is contagious and her eagerness to learn made her a wonderful addition to our volunteer team.

One of her most important accomplishments was helping finish the chicken coop and constructing the chicken apartment complex.  The apartment complex turned out amazing, it is sturdy and will house lots of chickens!

Rose also spent several days working on collecting songs for a Bosque songbook.  The songbook will allow more music to happen around the fires at night, and people who don’t know songs can quickly learn the popular tunes in Spanish and English.  She plays the violin and contributed to the live music at the Bosque.

Related to the songbook, Rose collected tons of songs and DJed our New Year’s Eve Dance party!  Her DJ debut was a success.

Every week she led meditation.  About meditation, Rose writes:
I hold meditation classes once a week at the Bosque. I teach techniques from the Zen and Tibetean Buddhist traditions as well as more secular forms like intention setting. I find meditation to be a great way to calm the mind and develop compassion and gentleness toward self and others. I like to share meditation with others because my personal practice has been so fulfilling to me.  In meditation, we bring our minds intently into focus on the present moment. I find this to be an interesting, challenging, and rewarding experience that I deeply enjoy sharing with others.

Rose is intensely interested in building a solar dehydrator, and plans to come back to the Bosque to accomplish this goal.  Her perseverance is one of her wonderful qualities; if she has an interest in something, she is not mildly interested; she passionately engages herself in projects and sees them through their completion.

We look forward to seeing her again.  Thanks Rose!

With Chris drawing plans for the chicken apartment:

Mixing cob for the chicken coop:

Leading meditation (she’s behind the tree.):

Taking a break from DJing at the NYE party:

Pine Beetle Plague

Friday, February 12th, 2010 by Marie

Since December we have been fighting a plague in our pine trees.  This has involved cutting down over 300 pine trees in the forest - for those who have been to the Bosque you will notice a big difference in the Dimple, the Mesa, and the entrance from the nearby village.

The culprit is the Mexican Pine beetle:

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The beetles make their way under the bark to the cambium layer and lay their eggs.  They eat the trees until they die, and then move to another tree.  Different species of beetles are doing the same in many areas of North America.  Ten years ago a nearby village lost an entire forest to this plague.  To read more about this beetle, click here.

We were so fortunate to begin our fight against the plague on the arrival of Angie, a certified Arborist and Forester.  She took to the task right away and led large volunteer teams in cutting down infected trees and burning branches.

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We were also fortunate that the height of the battle took place during a spike in volunteer help - we had teams of 6 - 20 people working daily to clear out infected trees, tarp over piles of large infected branches, and burn the remaining branches.  Below is the group during a short break from chopping up wood and cutting down trees.

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While watching parts of the forest getting chopped down was a bit unsettling since our primary objective is to protect and diversify the forest, there are many positive aspects to losing some trees.  We’ve used our new sawmill to make beams that will allow us to construct new huts and buildings.  We collected the sawdust to use in our cob mixture to make natural walls for the chicken coop and huts.  We saved some large trees to carve more totem poles.  And the new open spaces will allow us to plant a great diversity of trees and plants.

This forest was clear-cut 60 years ago to be used for crops.  According to a friend of the Bosque who knows some history of the land, the forest was naturally re-planted; it is mainly pines, oaks, and madrones.   In the areas where we lost the pines, the oaks and madrones will find more space to grow and re-populate.  We will supplement the diversity by planting fruit trees among the oaks and madrones.

The fight against the pine beetle appears to be nearing the end.  We will do weekly walks around the forest to look for infected areas.

We are so grateful for our friends from nearby villages and our volunteers who helped us in this battle!  Thanks for helping us save the forest.

Volunteer Spotlight: Matt

Saturday, January 16th, 2010 by Marie

Matt volunteered at the Bosque for a little over four weeks.  During his time here he built tables, shelving, and a chicken house.  He helped fix the grey water system at the Casita, worked with Chilino to build a roof for the chicken coop, and worked with Benjamin to build amazing seating for our sauna.

Besides his building frenzy, Matt was an honest and forthright member of the ever-dynamic Bosque community.  He noticed the needs of visitors and volunteers and made sure they were met, either by himself or with help from Brian or myself.  He saw problems and helped to fix them.  He successfully mediated conflicts and sought solutions.

Matt’s vivaciousness allowed him to cross language barriers and make friends with everyone who came through the Bosque.  He noticed the constant social changes we experience here as people come and go; and he went with it!  Matt saw three cohesive groups form and re-form during his time here, and he was always eager to join in and help create an amazing vibe.  His humor and kind spirit made the Bosque a better place.

Matt is a well rounded individual who was an asset to the Bosque, and he is missed!

During carving class:

With Paul on New Year’s Eve:

Building a table for the stove in the Casita:

Gonzalito

Thursday, December 31st, 2009 by Marie

Gonzalito visits us about once a week.   He is a very smart 8 year old who lives in a nearby village.  He is getting used to chatting with the weird international visitors we host!  When he visits he likes to volunteer.  His jobs include photography, message delivery, paper maché mask making, coloring and making cool things out of legos.

Gonzalito:

Photography assignment -  take pictures of everyone!:
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Lego zoo:

Pyrography

Monday, December 28th, 2009 by Marie

Paul made this art with the sun and a magnifying glass:

The art of decorating a material with burn marks is called pyrography - “writing with fire”.  It can be done using a tip heated by fire or electricity, or using sunlight through a lens - Paul used a magnifying glass.  The bigger the lens, the bigger the burn mark.  Fine detail can be done using a small lens.

Paul is volunteering with us for two weeks, and we’re so happy to have him!  He leads cob, wakes up early and heats up water and oats for others, he makes art, and today he worked on his design for tents made out of tarps.  Thanks Paul!

Cathy trying out burning wood with a magnifying glass:

Paul after leading cob building:

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