Don Juan Estepan and his wife joined a new reforestation group in 2008, in the village of Paraxaj, Comalapa, with 12 other people. They created a tree nursery and received valuable training from AIR’s technician, Don Miguel Lopez who travelled 11 kms by motorcycle on a dirt road every 8 days from San Martin Jilotepeque.
Thanks to AIR’s technical advice, the group has now transplanted all the trees of the first three years of the project from the nursery onto the steepest terrain. This terrain is the most suitable for reforestation, protecting the group’s families from mudslides and cover their firewood needs with much less environmental impact. On the 4th year of the project, the group sold half of their nursery production since they had fully reforested their own land.
But Don Juan realized that there was still a need to promote reforestation locally. Thus, he decided to work in partnership with another family and carry on with the nursery but this time for commercial purposes. For the following two years, they managed to produce 40,000 trees for sale and thus covered the total cost of the nursery without AIR’s support. Moreover, with the help of Don Miguel who visited monthly, they managed to sell their production, generating even more income that improved the livelihood of both families. They are an example of local economic development and environmental vision, demonstrating what it is to care for our mother nature.