2012-13 Scenes along the Gerdemann Botanical Preserve and Garden public nature path built with the assistance of Amaterra
The trail starts here!
Located in Yachats, Oregon, the preserve’s mission and activities parallel the mission statement of Amaterra and make it a worthy recipient of one of our $1000 micro-grants. Gerdemann Botanical Preserve and Garden is the life’s work of plant pathologist, Dr. James Gerdemann, who collected plant specimens and seeds from his world travels and labored to adapt them to the unique climate of the central Oregon coast. The 3.5 acre protective conservation easement contains numerous plant species, many of which he created, while emphasizing rhododendron (700 plants), magnolia and cacti.
The conservators/owners, Jerry and Kathleen Sand, manage the site. They facilitate educational programs and research and apprenticeship opportunities with the state universities. Also, they foster public access via tours and children’s programs.
Moms and Tots on the Public Footpath, entering the wetland boardwalk sedge section midst native hemlock and spruce trees.
Detailed information and many excellent photos can be accessed at their web-site, gerdemanngarden.org.
Amaterra’s grant was used to promote public access to the site and enhance the educational experience of visitors. A system of durable identification signage was purchased and installed on a public trail at an estimated cost of $300. The remaining $700 funded a raised-access segment of the trail through a micro-wetlands section created by a spring and creek. Both activities enhance public use and the educational impact of this unique site.
Looking across the bridge
A small bridge over Mitchell Creek with steps leading to Rhododendron ‘David’ and old English hybrid.
Large Rhododendron ‘Wisp’ arch over the Public Footpath, in full bloom March-April.
This grant was arranged by
Amaterra Director, Joe Swaffar
Be Strong. Be Equal. Be Elite – Empowering Leaders in Training and Education
In 2013 Amaterra has provided a $1000 micro-grant to support Camp E.L.I.T.E., a leadership and empowerment program designed for young men aged 14-18. The camp focuses on eighth grade students in Zambia. Two young men will be selected from their community and accompanied by a mentor to attend the week-long seminar. The camp is designed to encourage gender equality, equity, and life skills development. The program for boys will focus on Leadership, Gender Roles, Communication, Safer Sexual Practices, HIV/AIDS, Sports, Teamwork, and Life Skills. Upon completion, these young men will return to their community and work with their mentor to reach out and teach others in the community. This project is similar and parallels the “GLOW” project for young women.
During the ELITE camp, each of the boys will partner with a boy from another community, and will work with a LIFE (Linking Income with Food and Environment) Peace Corps Volunteer. These LIFE PCVs will work hand in hand with the boys to teach them and then assist them in learning how to plant fruit trees in the orchard at Mansa Secondary School. There will be a minimum of 15 groups, each planting a tree.
We will also be giving each boy one tree to take home and plant at their homes. They will be equipped with knowledge regarding Agroforestry and integrated conservation farming utilizing trees in their fields and gardens, and will be linked to three organizations in the Mansa Provincial capital that will provide them with access to trees and resources in the future.
Each Group of boys will also receive specialized, Zambia focused environmental education on the importance of trees. We’ve invited the DFO – Which is the District Forestry Officer – from the Zambian Ministry of Agriculture, under the Forestry Department, to lead a presentation on the importance of trees and the protection of the environment. This is specifically focused on preventing the Chitemene (slash and burn) model, and on encouraging natural resource management – working to combat the massive forest and brush consumption by the rural charcoal production industry. As this is a major income source in rural communities, this is particularly vital in conservation efforts.
Their final Agriculture focused sessions will dive into Integrated agriculture, agribusiness, and IGAs. We will have a presentation from highly successful local farmers who come from a village and rural background and poultry keepers on how to start up IGAs and what good business practices are. We will also talk a bit about cash crop agriculture and ask the boys to come up with a crop suitable for their area that could be grown to be sold at market, these crops will then be sourced (if seed is available) for their use to start a demo plot. As almost all participants are subsistence growers, this introduction to business skills and sustainable/eco positive crops is another essential part of the development cycle, both for income generation, and for land productivity.
GRANT ARRANGED BY DAVID BERGER AND FUNDED AUGUST, 2013.
A $1000 grant from Amaterra has been provided to Peace Corps Volunteers (PVSs) for a program empowering young women in Zambia, Africa. The program focuses on 8th grade school students. Each Peace Corps Volunteer brought two young women and a mentor (one adult) from their communities, to participate in a week long empowerment camp. The camp focused on life skills, women’s rights, sexual health, nutrition, and leadership. Also the young women were taught about good food, the dangers of teenage pregnancy, communication, and good farming practices. Of special significance for the mission of Amaterra, each participant learned about home/kitchen gardens, composting, income generating agricultural activities focusing on sustainable practices, and food security.
Glow Camp participants
After the camp the two participants and their mentor returned to their community with the Peace Corps Volunteer, over the next six months the young women and PCV formed a GLOW (Girls Leading our World) club in their community and recruited young women in each zone to share the lessons they’ve learned and help support each other. The goal is that by the end of six months a minimum of 300 young women will have been trained and receive support from this program across the province. Six months after (within a year of their initial training) the groups will be asked to coordinate with their Peace Corps Volunteer and host Learning Exchanges with local schools and nearby communities, sharing their experiences, lessons, and successes/failures.
Those young women they select in the community will be asked to form their own GLOW groups which will support each other within their WARD. The groups are encouraged to be self-sustainable from the beginning with the PCV’s acting as mentors, co-facilitators and supporters, not leading or dominating the programs activities. Amaterra Board Director, David Berger is in Zambia and has worked to help set up this program. We have been informed that, without our grant, the program could not have become a reality: a perfect partnership for Amaterra.
For many years Amaterra and members have supported Native Seeds/SEARCH, a non-profit conservation organization based in Tucson, Arizona.
…so many possibilities
Since 1983, they have become a major regional seed bank and a leader in the heirloom seed movement. Their seed bank is a unique resource for both traditional and modern agriculture. It includes 1800 varieties of arid-land adapted agricultural crops, many of them rare or endangered. They promote the use of these ancient crops and their wild relatives by distributing seeds to traditional communities and to gardeners world wide. Currently they offer 350 varieties from the collection grown out at their Conservation Farm in Patagonia, Arizona. Also, many of their seeds and associated products are offered through an online store, annual seedlisting, and retail store.
During the past couple of years, Bill McDorman, the Executive Director of Native Seeds Search, and Belle Starr, the Deputy Director, have instituted and conducted a number of one-week Seed Schools in Tucson, drawing people from all over the country. Their goal: “to inspire and empower a diverse selection of new ‘seed citizens’–passionate growers, inventive breeders, and careful curators of the planet’s tiny life-conducting jewels.” The passion of these two individuals for seeds is awe-inspiring.
Because the Tucson Seed Schools have become so popular, there is now a need to widen the program and conduct the schools in locations throughout the United States, as many participants at the Tucson school have asked that Bill and Belle come to their state to do so–particularly in light of the drought that is affecting so much of the country. This will require new curriculum to include information for a wider range of growing areas.
For those who would like to learn more about the organization, check out their website www.nativeseeds.org/.
This grant was arranged by Amaterra Director, Nancy Wall.