EARTH SANGHA | TREE BANK HISPANIOLA: FIRST-HAND
First-Hand is a series of essays and videos intended to show you what it’s like to do small-scale “green development” in a rural, developing-country context. That’s basically what Tree Bank Hispaniola is about.
My name is Matt Bright. I’m the Tree Bank’s Coordinator and the author of First-Hand. In creating these essays and videos, I am not much concerned with quantifying “progress” in a simple sense; I’m not going to tell you about numbers of acres planted or microloans extended. Instead, I want to give you a sense for how things get done—coffee development, organizing drinking-water filtration, negotiating conservation easements, and all the other things that the Tree Bank is trying to do. I’ll try to explain why we’re doing some things and not others, and I want to show you what has worked and what has not.
I also want you to meet some of my colleagues—Gaspar, our Project Director, for example, and Gaspar’s son Ricardo, who teaches at the local elementary school, and my friend Renaud Gervé, the Haitian doctor who works at the local clinic, and of course our partner farmers: Quiterio, Cosme, Andrea, and all the others.
Finally, I hope to hear from you. If you’re curious about what you read or see here, if you have a question or a thought, feel free to write me. I can be reached at email@example.com.
My thumbnail biography:
Matt Bright is the Sangha’s Tree Bank Coordinator. Matt splits his time between the Sangha’s Virginia office and our Tree Bank project area, along the Dominican Republic – Haiti border. Matt graduated from Kenyon College in 2011 with a degree in history. Before starting at the Sangha, he spent four years as a firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician with the College Township Fire Department, in Gambier, Ohio. Matt is working to stabilize and expand the Tree Bank. For example, he is developing a drinking-water component for the Bank, and he is helping to build the Bank’s Rising Forests Coffee program.
A Summer Agenda (July 2012):
"I’ll be heading back to the Dominican Republic this summer to continue our work down there. . . ."
What the Coffee Means (July 2012):
"Our Rising Forests Coffee is, to our friends in the DC area, the most visible and tangible achievement from our work in the Dominican Republic. . . ."
Restoring a Farm (July 2012):
"As many of you know, our Forest Credit program allows farmers to take out low-interest loans if they enroll some of their land as a conservation easement with us. . . ."
What They're Drinking (July 2012):
"When I return to the Dominican Republic in August, I’ll be getting back to work on our clean water project. . . ."
Why the BINGOs Aren't Helping (July 2012):
"I’ll start off this post by explicitly reiterating what most everyone is probably already aware of: I am no expert. . . ."
Into Haiti, Part 1 (July 2012):
"Towards the end of my last trip to the Dominican Republic, I thought it would be interesting to see what the other third of the island was like. . . ."
The Good Deforestation (July 2012):
"The scene above, a photo taken in our Tree Bank project area, may look like exactly the sort of thing we want to prevent. . . ."
Hispaniolan Deforestation (July 2012):
Matt and Gaspar take a tour of the Dominican countryside by motorcycle and see some
badly degraded mountainsides that have almost entirely lost their forest cover, but also
some native forest.
Tour of a Coffee Processing Plant (July 2012):
Chris, Gaspar, and Matt visit a coffee processing plant in the Dominican Republic. This is
the plant where all our beans are processed.
Dirty Water in Los Cerezos (July 2012):
The people in Los Cerezos don't have ready access to clean water.
Chris at the Tree Bank Nursery (July 2012):
Chris Bright, the Sangha's President, explains why the Tree Bank nursery is so important.
Fixing Quiterio's Farm (July 2012):
Quiterio surveys his farm with Gaspar and Matt for our "Parcela Agro-Ecológica"