Art Mural 23'
2022 opened our eyes to how art can be a catalyst towards changing people and places for the better. This year we aim to explore this idea further, creating another piece of art that continues to celebrate harmony with nature and a more sustainable future. Our first step towards that mission is to fundraise so that we can allow our program to have a deeper impact. Support the cause, more details below!
This is a fundraiser in conjunction with our seven day art camp designed to help students find their artistic voices while creating meaningful art. Participants will receive foundational art instructions and techniques from our resident muralist Eugene O’Neill, before diving into mural creation. The art we create will act as a symbol for positive change that will impact people and place through aesthetics and tangible change with our reforestation efforts in Ecuador.
As a part of our commitment to positive impact we are raising money to support a critical habitat in Ecuador. Our project site is called Tangan, nestled in between the Andes and the Amazon, this high altitude cloud forest is one of the most ecologically significant areas on the planet and is being threatened by the increasing demands for livestock.
Ecuador Reforestation Project Overview
What we’ve done so far
Since 2018, Soulstainable has planted roughly 1,000 trees, conducted species counts, hosted community work efforts and have started a data base for the information we've gathered. Today, the trees from our original project are over 15 ft tall!
Why are the forests in Tangan ecologically important?
Tangan is located within the Choco-Andino Biodiversity hotspot. Tangan and the surrounding areas have important biological value due to high levels of species biodiversity and endemism. However, this region is experiencing high rates of deforestation and conversion of land to agriculture. Within an increasingly fragmented landscape, Tangan is a high priority conservation area because it contains primary and secondary cloud forest. The forest found in and around Tangan is important in maintaining biodiversity and acts as important wildlife corridor along a mountainous, elevational gradient. Many species, especially larger mammals and birds, rely on large tracts of forest for movement and persistence. Because of Tangan’s location between the high paramo of Illiniza National Park and the lowland rainforest on the coast, Tangan serves as important habitat in maintaining landscape connectivity.
Beyond ecological benefits, the forest in and around Tangan produces ecosystem services that are valuable to surrounding communities. These include soil stabilization, nutrient cycling, watershed protection, and habitat for pollinators. All of these are important within the context of the local agricultural economy. Additional services derived from the forest also provide economic relief at the farm-scale, including the sale or use of fruits, medicinal products, and firewood.
How will the money raised be used?
To protect both ecological and social benefits that are derived from intact forest, reforestation efforts are occurring within strategic areas of Tangan. So far we have planted about 1,000 native species of trees and are looking to plant 1,000 more this January.
While casual observations provide anecdotal evidence of the program’s success, systematic monitoring is needed to improve our understanding of the project’s outcome. Monitoring will inform ways in which the initiative can continue to improve future tree plantings, as well as shape our understanding of the exact ecological benefits that the young trees are bringing to the area- such as the return of wildlife and habitat to the area. These benefits that inevitably spill over beyond the property boundaries of Tangan, benefitting the community at large.
A critical step in any conservation initiative is to create a baseline inventory of local biodiversity. This provides critical information that informs later steps in the conservation process, such as deciding what habitats should be given special consideration for protection, or what tree species to plant in the reforestation efforts. Additionally, this will highlight the disparities in wildlife between the forested and the adjacent deforested areas.
Mural Dates: August 13-19, 2023