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Student Volunteers from North Carolina State University at Arajuno Lodge

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

A group of fifteen students and their leader Janice Odom arrived at the lodge in the afternoon on Wednesday, June 2nd. The student group is from North Carolina State University, and they are a part of what is called the Caldwell Fellows. The aim of the program is to give driven students the means and space to explore the world and make a difference, however they so choose. Every year, they embark on a trip to somwhere in the world that means something to them, and this year it was Ecuador.

During their time here, they will be completing a turtle pond in Campo Cochoa, a community just downriver from Arajuno Lodge.  This turtle pond is a part of the sustainable living solution that Tom Larson is implementing in the river communities.

Building the Fence

Thursday and Friday were spent machete-ing, digging a trench, hauling rocks and gravel, mixing cement, and building the fence around the pond.

Digging The Ditch

Hauling Rocks

Pulling the Tree Out

The project will be completed on Monday, with the last two sides of the fence being cemented in. Soon after, turtles to be brought over!

This is a hard-working group, throwing themselves into everything 150%. I have absolutely no doubt that these are people we will be hearing more about in the world.

Video of the Donation to the Pillajo Family in Tena

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

If you are interested in making a donation to this family, or to any of the flood-affected families of Tena, please go to the Arajuno Foundation page for more information on how to send the money.

Below is a video of the donation being received:

Donation by Arajuno Foundation to Flood Disaster Victims in Tena

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

On April 6th, 2010, the Tena River, a tributary of the Napo River, flooded it’s banks and sent waters over 3 meters high into the town of Tena.

Located directly on the bank of the river, Yajaira Pillajo Zuña, a mother of two, lost everything. Water rose to about 2 meters high  inside the house, sweeping away clothes and food and belongings, and causing damage to the building. Yajaira said that if this were to happen again, she would have nowhere to go, nothing left to draw from.

Just a couple days later, her older daughter, Melany Melendres Pillajo, burnt  her upper legs, arms, stomach, and fingers in a kitchen accident.

Melany Melendres Pillajo

This is a family with very little money and means for income, hit with two costly accidents just within days of each other. Yajaira cannot work, because she has to take care of her two children. Luckily, directly following the flood, there has been a wave of donation, of clothing and water and paint for the houses. However, the creams for Melany’s burns run about $20 per small tube. There are the hospitalization costs. And there is still money needed for more reparations, and for future security.

The Pillajo Family and Tom Larson

Melissa Tukey, a retired school teacher and a member of the Arajuno Foundation, generously donated $400 to the hardest hit of the flood family victims. Tom Larson, director of the Foundation, made the decision to help the Pillajo family, who appreciated the money beyond belief. A video of the donation being received is included in the next post.

Arajuno River water monitoring begins

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

Well,  the dust settles with the departure of 28 college students and staff from the University of Miami, Ohio, USA; the University of Barcelona, Spain; and the San Francisco University, Ecuador.  We had a very active couple of days taking samples and measurements from the Arajuno river and a few smaller tributaries within the AJL forest reserve boundaries.  We are now formulating plans to establish a permanent monitoring system of the quality and quantity of water streaming through the jungle past and through the AJL  reserve.  The other component of this project will, of course, be to develop more and better alternatives to the continued deforestation and degradation of the aquatic environment along the river while improving the quality of life for all its inhabitants both wild and human.  Photos will follow soon!Tom

AJL boundary lines continue to be defined with a permanent line of giant bamboo

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

new-camera-photos-295_f9b17.jpgYesterday, with the help of a couple of British volunteers and a local native, we continued to plant the boundaries of our reserve with a giant bamboo every 10 meters.  The goal of this project is to clearly establish and permanently define our protected area boundaries to help prevent timber theft, illegal hunting and trespass.  We  now have about 80%  of the property boundary completely planted!  It is a lot of hard work, especially way back towards the upper end of the property where the terrain is very steep and slippery.  The bamboo are being propagated from our own plants down on the farm (see photo above; double click on the photo if you wish to see a larger version), established in our nursery, then packed up to where they are planted. Tom

The Arajuno Jungle Blog:

Monday, October 8th, 2007

The Arajuno Jungle Blog is at last up and running. And, in spite of the way it sounds, the Arajuno Jungle Blog is neither the latest dance craze nor a tropical disease; it’s your place on the web to keep up with the latest news about what’s happening at Tom Larson’s Arajuno Jungle Lodge. This is our first post so check back often. It’s going to be good.

This month we’ve got two large groups back to back, and then later in the month (Oct 28)we’re going to be host to photographer Douglas Henderson’s (www.douglashenderson.com) Ecuador Photo Safari. He’s bringing 11 photographers deep into the heart of the Ecuadorian Jungle for the photo op of a lifetime. For information on his trip, click the Ecuador Photo Safari link on his site, and as his trip progress, read his and his group’s impressions on his blog and see the group’s images on Doug’s site.