Friday, February 1, 2013

F2F Volunteer Teaches Cultivation Techniques to Students in Jarabacoa

Jenifer Perry, an Instructor from Paul Smith's College, has recently participated as a Farmer to Farmer (F2F) volunteer building strong bonds with different sustainable development stakeholders in Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic (DR). As part of her activities, she was able to give technical assistance to young Dominican women to improve their community garden plots in an eco-club project hosted by a Peace Corp volunteer in Jarabacoa.

Jen Perry working with local Eco-Club on community garden
Jeniffer's initial assigned activities were to instruct students at the Natural Resource Management School (NRMS) in Jarabacoa on renewable energy and to assist them in their production classes. She was able to accomplish this exceptionally, while also helping these students with their English classes. Additionally, soon after she was introduced to a Peace Corps volunteer working at the village level with young women eco-club members, she recognized the potential that encouraging these girls could have to make a real impact in the community. 

Besides assisting them with farming techniques and sustainable agriculture principles regarding soil fertility, site location and water management, she also connected the club with NRMS’s faculty and staff. This affiliation resulted in a commitment by the school to provide compost, plants and seeds for the club to help them get started with the community garden project. Thanks to these efforts, these young women are now able to adopt new cultivation techniques such as the implementation of terracing, the addition of soil conditioning and the development of their composting system. Moreover, as a consequence of this work with the Peace Corps project, additional opportunities for collaboration might arise between the school’s production program students and other area villagers. 
Jenifer Perry with Eco-Club's young women members

After finishing her activities as a F2F volunteer, Jennifer has remained in contact with individuals from the country in the hopes of developing a long-standing relationship with NRMS by way of developing sustainability of education and projects. Today, she envisions a deepened exchange relationship between Paul Smith's students and NRMS students in which students can engage in service-learning related projects in both countries. She also hopes to return to the DR with Paul Smith's students to offer a solar panel installation training program with students from the NRMS.

Class instructed by Jen Perry on Renewable Energy
at the Natural Resource Management School

This was the first time traveling to a country other than the U.S. and Canada for Jennifer. As she mentioned in a report that she wrote as part of her follow-up activities with F2F: “This trip has impacted me very deeply personally… I was very appreciative of our ability to experience what we thought was a genuine DR experience, not a typical all inclusive vacation version of the DR… As an instructor of Green Community Design, I left the country with many potential projects in mind…” And she added: "In general, the people of the DR are exceptionally friendly, welcoming, passionate, intelligent, and deeply in love with their country and committed to causes which would benefit it."         
You can read more about these and other activities that Jennifer and her colleagues were able to achieve during their stay in Jarabacoa in an article published last month by the Adirondack Park's local newspaper.

1 comment:

  1. This is great information, thanks’ for share!