Title: bosque pluvial
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00099613/00005
 Material Information
Title: bosque pluvial
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Publisher: USDA Forest Service
Place of Publication: El Yunque National Forest, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
Publication Date: Summer 2008
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00099613
Volume ID: VID00005
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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The El Yunque National Forest Ne\wsletter

El B os(uu P Ial

Volume III, Issue I

El Bosque Pluvial's

Summer, 2008 issue is

filled with interesting

stories about El Yunque,

America's only tropical

rainforest and its staff of

Forest Service

professionals; browse and



Local teens share
YCC experience.

Forest Supervisor's

Golf pro Chi Chi Rod-
riguez visits El Portal!

Boy Scouts from NE
US visit El Yunque

El Yunque Staff -
comings & goings.

Forest Spotliiht-
Anastasio Gomez

Summer, 2008
YCC Teens + EIYunque = Conservation Conscience

By Pedro D. Rios

The Youth Conservation
Corps (YCC) program was
established by the federal
government in 1974. In
those more budget friendly
times, the YCC summer
program at El Yunque
often enrolled over 150
young people. Applicants
were chosen by lottery; two
teenagers (one boy and one
girl, 15 to 19 years of age)
from each island
Municipality. Teens
selected would spend much
of their summer vacation
helping with conservation
projects on the El Yunque
forest. Each afternoon they
would board buses and
return to their "summer
home," a barracks at
Naval Station Roosevelt
Roads in nearby Ceiba.
There they would eat
2 dinner, socialize and join in
recreational activities until

3 I

3 U..Li

Twenty Five years later I was
chosen to take part in
El Yunque's YCC program. By
this time reduced funding had
caused the program to shrink;
there were only ten of us five
boys and five girls. We went
home each afternoon when
our work was done no more
"camping out" at the naval
base. Most of us were from
the northeast part of the
island, the rest were from the
San Juan metro area. For a
month we repaired trails,
went "electro-fishing" (a
shocking experience!), cleaned
up trash, planted trees and so
on. Two years later, my
younger brother was selected
to take part in the YCC
program like me, he enjoyed
it immensely.

The YCC program began as a
three-year pilot program,
intended to "further the
development and

maintenance of natural
resources by America's youth."
By 1977, the YCC program had
proved so successful that a
second program, the Young
Adult Conservation Corps
(YACC) was created. It differed
from the YCC program by
enrolling young adults aged 16
to 23. Sadly, the YACC
program lost its funding and
was cancelled in 1981.

The YCC program has
thrived the teens selected to
participate in this year's
program at El Yunque added
new and fresh experiences to
their summer activities. The
2008 group (4 girls and 3 boys)
was divided into a "recreation
support team" and an
"ecosystem support team,"
lending helping hands to
support different but
complementary forest
conservation projects.

17 year old Jonathan Resto
was joined by Shantar
Monique Deida and
Catherine Sanchez, both 16
years of age, to form an "all
Fajardo" recreation support
team. Their responsibilities
included trash pick-up, nature
trail renovation, painting and
assisting Forest visitors.
The "all island" ecosystem
support team included Ingrid
Viruet from Arecibo,
Francisco J. Vega Ramirez
from Rio Grande, both 17,
Jose Alberto Negron from
Luquillo and Susej Gotain
from Rio Grande, both 15 years
(Continued on page 3)


The Forest Supervisor's Message

..l_ We are facing many new challenges; due
S in part to Global War on Terroism
S(GWOT) federal spending priorities, the
Forest Service budget is shrinking.
SA dramatic increase in fuel cost has
added to our fiscal woes, resulting in
increased Forest operating costs.
To mitigate the effects of this shortfall,
we are working non-stop to streamline
our Forest organization into a more
efficient model, one that will help us to
achieve our operational goals while we
continue to improve our services to both
our island neighbors and our off-island

This has been an extremely busy time
on the El Yunque NF; we've been so
busy working with vital Forest projects
that we've had to postpone our Forest's
"family" newsletter! So, I decided to
rush this long-overdue edition into
print to bring you up-to-speed on what
we have accomplished, and to outline
the challenges that we face.

Together we have achieved much; here
are a few examples: a "core team" of
experts drawn from each leadership
team, led by CS&P's Blanca Ruiz have
been preparing El Yunque's
Interpretation & Conservation
Education Master Plan; another team
of Forest experts designed and is
managing construction of the new Rio
de Sabana Recreation Area, serving our
neighbors in Naguabo; a Forest civil
engineering team is supervising
reconstruction of PR road # 966 -- both
projects are scheduled for completion in
the Fall.


Here are some ways in which you can
help -- encourage your friends and
neighbors to lend us their skills and
spare time and become members of our
growing El Yunque Volunteer Corps; or
ask them to investigate opportunities to
join with our corporate partners to help
our Forest implement exciting new
projects and programs!

As each day passes, we all become more
and more aware of the impending
challenges of global climate change.
To combat this threat we must revise
how we think about our island's finite
resources. We must adjust our daily
habits so we can better conserve our use
of the Island's overstressed electrical
energy grid; we also must strive to
discover creative and practical methods
to make our homes and buildings more
"green." Even the most insignificant

action contributes to conserving vital
resources and will ultimately serve to
lessen the effects of global climate
change on our island it's up to us all
to help reduce our "carbon footprint" by
being environmentally conscientious,
both at home and in our Forest
A good place to begin is at our Forest's
website: www.fs.fed.us/r8/elyunque; it
features links to other sites that
provide climate change learning

A reminder to all the Atlantic
hurricane season began on June 1st -
we must all be prepared! Although our
island has been blessed in the past and
hurricanes have passed us by, there are
no "guarantees;" even with the
advantages of modern technology, the
tracks of tropical storms are
unpredictable at best by now you
should have stocked-up on basic
provisions and made specific plans to
survive the aftermath of a potential
tropical storm.

As always, I welcome your questions;
I am anxious to receive your "feedback"
on these vital issues.

Finally I wish you all a peaceful,
enjoyable and productive summer!

Hasta pronto,


PR Golf Pro Chi Chi Rodriquez comes to El Portal

Puerto Rico's beloved golf pro Chi
Chi Rodriquez dropped by El Portal
on July 25th Welcomed by Forest
Supervisor Pablo Cruz and El Portal
Rain Forest Center Director Jose
"Pepe" Ortega, he came to attend a
book signing by award winning
children's book author Maria de
Jesus Paolicelli.

When Chi Chi was sent the
manuscript of Marisa's book "There's
a Coqui in my Shoe," he loved it;
urged-on by fellow Puerto Ricans:
Academy Award winning
actress Rita Moreno and Grammy
winning singer Jose Feliciano, he

decided to publish the book himself,
after other book publishers had turned
it down soon after it was published by
Chi Chi, Marisa's book won the
coveted International Latino Book
Award in the "Best Fducational
Children's book in English" category!

Maria, the book's illustrator and Chi
Chi, signed lots of books and like
everyone else who attended the event,
they had a wonderful time "There's a
Coqui in my Shoe" is currently on sale
at El Portal's Eastern National book
store and at its satellite locations
throughout the Forest.




YCC Teens + EIYunque = "Conservation Conscience"

(Continued from page 1)
of age. Ecosystem support team
members worked at electro fishing,
river and field projects and trash pick-
up. Occasionally the teams would join
to share tasks or to "swap" jobs; as a
change of pace; one day both teams
traveled to Fort San Cristobal to visit
and work with fellow YCC workers in
Old San Juan.

This year's YCC program at El
Yunque included a new and exciting
feature; one day each week both
teams attended a training session
given by El Yunque staff members -
Jeff Walker lectured on forest
archaeology, Bruce Drapeau showed
them how to read maps, Luis Rivera
spoke about the rain forest's tropical
vegetation types, and Ilda Bonilla
described the process of urban
reforestation. The YCC teens enjoyed

and appreciated the training sessions -
they discovered new and interesting facts
about El Yunque, its historic heritage and
its ecological biodiversity they learned
about the Forest Service's conservation
mission and best of all, they had fun,
while getting to know each other better!

Asked what they liked best about their
YCC experience, the groups answers
ranged from the "fun of electro fishing" to
the "lasting friendships we all made during
one short month of working together as a
team. Ingrid, by far the most outspoken of
the bunch, commented 1' I1 favorite part
has been discovering how valuable and
important our natural resources are, from
a more serious, "non-tourist" viewpoint."
She continued "A good example of this was
when our team developed a "conscience"
about the trash problem;we had to pick up
so much of it!" "Yeah," interjected
Francisco, "working in the field and

learning a lot about nature has made
us realize that if we try hard, we can
take care of our environment!"

Over three decades, the YCC
program has become a cornerstone of
the Forest Service's commitment to
the conservation of our natural
resources. The program at El Yunque
is especially important; it allows
teenage participants to work and
learn in America's only tropical rain
forest a truly unique experience
that they will always cherish.

Pedro D. Rios is a contributing writer to
El Bosque Pluvial; this Fall he will begin
his pursuit of a Master's degree in English
Literature at the
University of Puerto Rico, San Juan cam-

El Uunque NF Comings & Goings:

I ....I..i-i Felipe (-'ano i. Ii'ln. I 1 1- 1 l.. n, .'.-i .'..n l..n .. ',' IS .... li-i Iris Tirado joined the staff i, i' ii.i
O d.'; 11 I.., .\ r Ii ... i,1 -l Raym ond Feliciano i I' -S Ilou' 1 Ini i- 1-I ~ u I-u.LI '_ lu I1I -Iu.Il. Il I I'I -

Order of the Arrow Boy Scout Group from Northeast US

The morning of August 7th 2008 was
sunny; a light breeze was blowing
through the El Portal Rain Forest
Center parking area as more than 300
Boy Scouts, members of the Northeast
United States Council of the Order of
the Arrow,debarked from six large
Grayline buses.

At El Portal's theater, recent
Order of the Arrow inductee (and
EYNF Forest Supervisor) Pablo
Cruz welcomed the group to El
Yunque Forest "legend" and long-
time Order of the Arrow member
Frank Wadsworth, who has worked
with island Boy Scouts for over a half
century, gave the scouts an inspiring
message next on the agenda was a
tour of El Portal and its exhibits
conducted by Jose Ortega and
Blanca Ruiz. Around noon the
scouts were transported by mini-bus
to Yokahu tower, where Luis Rivera
and Bruce Drapeau explained

visits El Yunque NF

Forest vegetation and parrot habitat
improvement. The scouts traveled to Palo
Colorado Visitor Center to eat a catered
lunch, followed by a nature trail hike -
time was running short so the scouts were
only able to experience the La Mina river
trail, the La Mina waterfall and Big Tree
trail. VIS Operation Leader Victor
Cuevas (a former Order of the Arrow
member) and interpreter/guides Cynthia
Manfred, Edwin Velazquez and Frank
Torres were stationed at strategic points
along both trails to answer the scout's

The scouts were enthusiastic about their
El Yunque adventure; they were ex-
hausted, but happy all agreed that they
would like to return again to learn more
about America's only tropical rain forest !

Late that afternoon, the scouts were
transported back to El Portal where they
re-boarded the Grayline buses to embark
on further island adventures!




Pablo Cruz Forest Supervisor
El Yunque National Forest
Telephone 787 888 1810
Fax- 787888 5668
e-mail pcruz01@fs.fed.us

Alan Mowbray Editor
El Bosque Pluvial
Telephone 787 888 5654
Fax 787 888 5622
e-mail amowbray@fs.fed.us

Graphics Aurea Moragon
Photos Pedro D. Rios (YCC; Forest Spotlight)
Victor Cuevas (Order of the Arrow event)

El Yunque National Forest
Telephone 787 888 1810/1880
Fax 787 888 5685
Web www.fs.fed.us/r8/el_yunque
Mail USDA Forest Service
El Yunque National Forest
HC-01 Box 13490
Rio Grande, PR 00745-9625


By Pedro D. Rios.

This issue's crest SptlieClt is
focused on one of El Yunque's most
versatile employees: Biological
Science Technician, Anastasio I I.1
Gomez Matta, who has been a vital
part of the El Yunque National
SForest team for over a quarter of a
S century. Anastasio's diverse
stockpile of scientific skills is
complemented by an innate sense of
responsibility and a constant
awareness of potential safety
hazards. These traits have gained
him the respect and admiration of
supervisors and fellow workers.

Part of a multidisciplinary group of
technicians and scientists, Gomez
Matta lends his expertise to support a bewildering array of Forest
projects; identifying and inventorying endangered plant species,
building and improving the nesting cavities of Amazona Vittata, the
endangered Puerto Rican Parrot and lending a talented hand to
enhance various fishery and hydrology projects. He also trains and
certifies personnel from the Forest Service and associated Federal and
Commonwealth agencies in vital field skills such as safe chainsaw
operation, proper tree climbing procedures and basic firefighting

Anastasio was born and raised in the northeast community of Fajardo;
while attending high school he was selected to participate in a Forest
Service Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) program it was "love at first
sight". In 1983 he joined the Forest's Young Adult Conservation Corps
(YACC) program: when that program ended, he was accepted as a full-
time Forest Service employee. At one point or another over the years,
he has worked in most of El Yunque's job classifications, but his first
love remains working in the field with parrots and aquatic species.

In his free time, I ..i" enjoys playing dominoes with his friends or
relaxing while reading a good book. Because he is descended from a
long line of fishermen, he frequently takes advantage of holidays and
long weekends to board his boat with friends and travel to the nearby
offshore islands of Culebra and Vieques.

Anastasio likes to work at night; he says that his senses have adapted
to the nocturnal environment, making it easier for him to notice things
that untrained eyes might miss. Last year his keen eyesight, honed by
many years of experience, helped him to identify the Spincheek Sleeper
(Eleotris pisonis), a fish species never before recorded in El Yunque's

He gets angry when he discovers evidence of pollution in the Forest's
rivers or streams "the damage people do is incredible each tiny
segment of the Forest's watercourses teems with aquatic life aquatic
animals are put at serious risk when humans pollute our streams and
rivers" he states forcefully.

He regards his El Yunque colleagues as family and every Forest
employee feels the same about their beloved I i'."

'US A The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Prohibits discrimination in all its programs and
Activities on the basis of race, color, national origin,
sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual
orientation, or marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases
apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require
alternate means for communication of program information
(Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's
TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (Voice and TDD.) To file a
complaint of discrimination write USDA, Director, Office of Civil
Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence
Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call 202-720-5964
(Voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity employer and

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