Rainforest Capital in Panama for Strategy Talks with Earth Train in the Mamoní Valley Preserve

By Kael Shipman 18 September, 2014

Ceiba and Earth Train staff at the new Ceiba Bamboo Nursery Sam Larson (left) and Mark Knetsch examine a new bamboo plant Ceiba's Matt Brewer (left) and Sam Larson attend the introductory meeting on the morning of the 12th Earth Train's Kike Arias (left) and Gerardo Ochoa attend the introductory meeting on the morning of the 12th Exquisit food prepared by guest Mileidi Fernandez and Earth Train staff Rainforest Capital's Steve Wiel (left) and Earth Train's Nathan Gray The whole crew visits Mamoni Valley neighbors Oscar and Yolanda Montesa Playing with kids from local village La Zahina in the river Earth Train's Mark Knetsch (left) with Rainforest Capital's Steve Wiel and Ceiba's Matt Brewer Steve Wiel with Oscar Montesa Oscar and Yolanda Montesa Matt, Sam and Steve kayaking down the river from La Zahina A beautiful and delicious salad made by Mark Knetsch from local leaves and flowers The volunteer kitchen crew: Noeineth Branch, Mark Knetsch, Cameron Harnish and Mileidi Fernandez Nathan Gray beside the BioMuseo's display featuring Earth Train and the Mamoni Valley Preserve Steve Wiel in the lawn of the BioMuseo

Our partners and friends from Rainforest Capital and Ceiba Forestry have just made a 10-day visit to the Mamoni Valley Preserve for a semi-annual on-site operational meeting. Rainforest Captial's Stephen Wiel joined Ceiba's Sam Larson, Matt Brewer and other staff along with Earth Train's Nathan Gray and staff for walks and talks in and about the Mamoni Valley Preserve.

Highlights from our time together include the advancements of some key friendships in the Preserve, including that of the Montesa Family, who has owned property there for over 40 years. The Montesas have taken the initiative to experiment over the past few years with a variety of potentially viable crops in the valley, including some that could help form the basis of a new and more ecologically-sustainable economy in the Valley.

We also took some time for Steve and the Ceiba crew to get to know some of the families in the town of La Zahina, deep in the middle of the Valley. We took our ultra light-weight inflatable kayaks along and had a blast with village kids for 2 hours in the river.

Toward the end of our time together, we celebrated with a pig roast, then returned to the city for a quick trip to the Biomuseo and some talks with lead architect Patrick Dillon, also an important partner in our work with City of Knowledge on the so-called "Green Steel" Biocultural Pavillion.

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