Monday, June 20, 2011

A Tree Grows in Barichara

A young boy stands in front of the tree he
planted two years ago when the Eco-Park
was first established.
A big issue for much of Colombia is that at one time a lot of trees that were native to the area were cut down and used for building, clearing land for agriculture or for cooking over a fire. As a result, there has been a serious de-forestation problem which has caused a tremendous amount of erosion and landslides that are plaguing the country today.

In an effort to start creating awareness of the need for native plants and trees, two local women in Barichara started the Eco-Park which now involves all the schools and the children in education about plants and trees and the insects and birds associated with them. At least twice a month the students come out to plant or tend their new plantings and with all the recent rain, everything is growing very well!

For example, the tree that is to your left as you are reading this was planted two years ago and it was shorter than the boy who is standing in front of it. As I understand it, he was also the one who planted it. I don't know the name of the tree as I am also being educated about them, but I have one in my yard and it drops huge leaves that curl up and become very good humus for the soil. They also provide a lot of shade, making the temperatures more bearable at high noon on hot, sunny days. In fact, the temperature difference between the sun and the shade can be as much as ten degrees!

On this particular day several of us were invited to walk the grounds of this new park to see what has been accomplished in two years. There are about 18 acres of land (9 hectares, I think) and most of it is covered with bushes and little trees. The interest has grown to include a number of adults as well, and now people donate native plants to be installed here.

Students from various schools have stuck up signs to indicate which plot belongs to their school and there is a sense of competition between some groups to have their trees surpass those of other groups. But what is the real benefit is that approximately 500 to 600 young people are now aware of the importance of trees in their life and with the continued efforts of only two women, this program will continue to provide both education and shade in Barichara.


  1. When I was in grade 6, 30 years ago our teacher took us on a nature walk so we could adopt a tree. I still go visit my tree. ;-)

  2. Hi Sandy;

    I've been remiss in not following the link to your blog attached to the numerous comments you've left on mine. You write so well and your subject matter is always interesting. I'm enchanted by your ex-pat lifestyle.

    Thank you for your many kind words.