We have now wrapped up our in person visit to Pine Ridge but our work continues. We didn't have time to get the bee hives up when we were there but will be ordering the necessary items soon and others there will set them up; we are midst completing our drawings and explanations of food forests and of the plants, which will be used to continue the education process; other work continues as well, and volunteers and the organizations there will continue to care for the forests.
What we accomplished:
We planted over 250 trees and bushes at four sites and gave away about 50 more trees and bushes to several individuals. Of the trees we planted, about 40 were larger and more mature trees so benefits will be realized more quickly (and you, our funders, made that possible!). We gave each of these special care - with fungal network support, mulch, minerals, and many with nitrogen fixing and other support plants nearby to ensure they have the best possible chance of thriving.
We worked with many individuals from age 4 to age 70, exchanging techniques, stories and wisdom. Children and youth assisted us at every phase, watering plants, digging, mowing grasses, and planting trees, seeds, and plants.
We experienced many challenges - the last two days we were there it frosted both nights (though there was no warning from the weather report; it was supposed to be in the upper 30s which it had been several times earlier), and we lost some of our more tender plants and the annuals we had planted for some kids there (like our "no water" tomatoes). Fortunately, the vast majority of the plants we planted are set up to survive the unpredictable weather at Pine Ridge - we chose late blooming and fast fruiting trees to deal with the sometimes late and early frosts there, for instance.
It sleeted one day, when we had many volunteers available to help, and a powerful wind storm made it impossible to mulch and get our jobs done on another day. Only 1/3 of the volunteers who promised to travel to Pine Ridge to help actually showed up. :-( . So we were unable to finish all the infrastructure we had planned (which was a very ambitious plan). But we did get the the first phase food forest done and stably installed at Thunder Valley, with over 100 trees and bushes, numerous smaller plants, and thousands of nitrogen fixing, pollinator and other support seeds planted to prepare for our second phase next year. We got 10 large trees and numerous smaller trees and bushes (including butternut and pecan) planted at OLCERI, 65+ trees and bushes planted at the Pine Ridge jail for the OLCERI project there, and more than 40 windbreak, shade and fruit trees and bushes in at Earth Tipi. We are well set up at each site to continue establishing food forests and creating abundance at each site. We introduced numerous people to the concept of food forests and how to plant fruit trees to give them a better chance of survival in that climate.
We had such a wonderful feeling, looking at all the trees planted and envisioning them when they are mature. This is a project that will benefit the people seven generations hence.
One of the most profound moments we experienced was when we got out of the car at Thunder Valley for a day of work, and above us, a bald eagle circled us three times, close in, then floated away out of sight. Our breaths were taken away as the sunlight illuminated his white tail and glinted on his feathers. We had an overwhelming feeling that we were doing the right thing!
Thank you again for your support! It means everything to us; it allowed us to do so much more than we would have been able to do.
For those who would like to support this project but missed the deadline - please consider donating via our website at www.permacultureguild.us. We strive to create real value and make every penny of your donations pay several times over. Your donations to us create a future for all of us, as we plant trees and create microclimate support systems for seven generations, and beyond.