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Ed Rashin

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2 reviews

Review for Forests for Monarchs, La Cruz Habitat Protection Project, Austin , TX, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I have first-hand experience about the ways in which the La Cruz Habitat Protection Project and its Forests for Monarchs Program are helping to restore the forests and watersheds of South-Central Mexico and improve the lives of the poor rural people who live in the project areas. I have met and been thanked by many of the local participants who plant our trees on their land, during more than nine years when I worked as a forester and conservation worker on this program. I have personally seen the soils and watersheds become improved, and seen locations where even mountain springs that had dried up on degraded lands have begun to flow again. Any positive impact we can have on these degraded forest areas is important for so many reasons. For example, it is not only indigenous people who have no developed water supply systems who depend on the mountain springs, it is also the overwintering monarch butterflies who must come out of their sanctuary roosts daily to drink from the springs. Of course, other wildlife and plants also benefit from the watershed restoration we are contributing to. Another outcome that is a testament to the success of this program is that the local people who started planting our trees back in 1998 are beginning to reap real economic benefits. These are benefits that they deserve for deciding to dedicate their lands and their labors to reforestation. These forward thinking people have planted trees to benefit their own lands and families, but by doing so they are also contributing to the conservation of remnant native forests by establishing alternative forests for human uses, which is the conservation strategy of the LCHPP organization. Contributors should know that the vast majority of this non-profit's funds go directly to producing and transporting trees to give away to the local land owners, as well as to document the plantings, provide technical assistance, and monitor tree survival. We do not pay the locals to plant the trees; they put a lot of their own resources into this. Most trees are given to indigenous communities and ejidos who plant on communal lands. If you talked to the local people they would ask you to support this program.

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Role:  Board Member

Review for Forests for Monarchs, La Cruz Habitat Protection Project, Austin , TX, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I was fortunate to become involved with this reforestation and forest restoration program in its first year - in 1997, when I was looking for a sabbatical project to work on in Mexico. In the beginning, we were a small organization doing small things. Fourteen years later, we are still a small organization, but now we are doing more – sprouting our way towards planting a million trees a year where they are badly needed: in the impoverished and degraded watersheds of south-central Mexico. It is gratifying to be able to stand on a lookout in some of our project areas and look around and see the mountainside greening up with woodlots that we helped get planted years ago. It is also gratifying to have been able to work with such dedicated, forward-thinking people as are the ones who make this program function, the local folk who ask us to help them reforest their lands, and those who support our work.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have personally seen and have documented the results that this organization has accomplished in terms of restoring forests to the mountainsides of the monarch butterfly overwintering zones of Mexico - and in the watersheds of Lake Patzcuaro and Lake Zirahuen. Likewise, I have personally spoken to the local participants and have received their expressions of heartfelt gratitude for helping give them "something productive to do with their land", which was no longer any good for farming.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Provide it with a stable source of ongoing funding.

Role:  Board Member & I spent 10 years working in Mexico as a forester and field representative for the La Cruz Habitat Protection Project-Mexico. I also was founding board member of the non-profit La Cruz Habitat Protection Project, Inc. and its predecessor organization.