Note from Storm: My wife and I love Panama, and returned there after a 15-year absence in June of 2015. So I was especially happy to learn about this Planting Empowerment program.
“During dry season you see huge trucks loaded with enormous logs rolling out of the Darien jungle every day. It’s disheartening,” says Andrew Parrucci who, after graduating from Virginia Tech, spent several years in Panama as a volunteer with the US Peace Corps.
Parrucci and his team wanted to create a fairer, more environmentally-friendly reforestation model, using a mix of native species, that would allow the population to continue to benefit from their land. The upshot is Planting Empowerment.
Launched in 2006 with three friends with whom Parrucci had volunteered in the Darien region, the enterprise aims to turn plots of deforested land into sustainable tropical ecosystems. Not only do these help the planet to breathe, but they also turn a profit for local communities.