Volume 1, Issue 2 Winter, 2006,
Welcome! Parrots Released into State Forest
To El Bosque Pluvial’s Ecosystem Team Efforts Contribute to Historic Event
Winter, 2006 issue. As
event, EcoSystems Team contributor to the
usual it is packed with Biologist Felipe Cano, Inter-agency Technical
interesting stories about Supervisory Biological Advisory Team, joining
Science Technician advisors from the US Fish
the Caribbean NF Orlando Carrasquillo & Wildlife Service.
(El Yunque), America’s and Biological Science
only tropical rain forest Technicians Benjamin Forest Supervisor Pablo
Fuentes and Anastasio Cruz provided valuable
and the professional At daybreak on Novem- Gomez spent over a year input to the Inter-agency
staff who work to ber 19, 2006, Biological assessing land conditions Management Team that
conserve this vital Science Technicians in the Rio Abajo State monitored the project; the
from the Caribbean NF’s Forest determining proper R8 Regional Forester or his
resource. Ecosystem Team placement for artificial representative attended
watched expectantly as nests, planning access trail yearly Management Team
twenty two Puerto Rican locations, building meetings as observers. CS &
Parrots were about to be artificial nest cavities and P Team Conservation
released into the wild. assisting DNER personnel Education Leader Blanca
As the door to the with the construction of a Ruiz collaborated to pro-
parrot’s “flying cage” huge 25 foot high, 900 vide outreach on the details
was opened, the parrots square foot “flying cage.” of the parrot release to local
INSIDE THIS ISSUE: had to be encouraged to The cage, located in the schools and communities.
leave, but then, with a forest near the aviary, is
From the Forest Su- 2 flurry of brilliant green used to train the birds to The survival of the PR
pervisors Desk. Contin- and blue wings, they forage for their natural Parrot is not yet assured,
ued from issue #1.
flew-out and began food sources while avoiding but the Caribbean NF’s
YCC Program at Car- 2 foraging for food that simulated predators. involvement in vital projects
ibbean NF a success. had been staged for such as this one contribute
them in nearby trees. Ecosystems Team significantly to the ultimate
Caribbean NF Fire- 3 bio-science techs also success of the parrot
fighter Training; Bruce This unique event trained members of the recovery program!
Drapeau interview. marked the first time in DNER Wildlife Research
Volunteer Teams 3 the history of the PR Bureau in proper tree The release of these parrots
work on trails. Forest Parrot Recovery climbing, trail building into the Rio Abajo State
benefits financially. Program that parrots and maintenance Forest is a vital part of the
Forest Spotlight:: 4 trained by scientists in techniques and taught Puerto Rican Parrot
This issue we focus on the Department of them how to construct nest Recovery Plan, whose ulti-
LE & I’s Ismael Monge. Natural and Environ- monitoring platforms in mate goal is to return 500
Blanca Ruiz wins cov- 4
mental Resources’ Jose trees near the nesting parrots into the wild. Plans
eted National Gifford L. Vivaldi aviary had cavities. are to maintain two sepa-
Pinchot Award! been released into a rate “captive/wild”
State Forest. Ecosystem Team Leader populations on the island..
To prepare for this Pedro Rios was a vital
PAGE 2 E L BO S QU E V OLU ME 1, ISSUE 2
From the Forest Supervisors Desk
Sustainable Management in the Caribbean NF (cont.)
In the Fall edition of El Bosque cooperation to the Caribbean NF? Trust, which lobbies Congress to
Pluvial, I replied that I am convinced that purchase adjacent lands and
I shared some the only way for us to survive in transfer them to us, and also
answers I gave light of dwindling resources is to raises funds for conservation
in an interview collaborate with other agencies. projects. NGOs provide important
regarding What we have here is a coalition of attributes that we don’t have;
Sustainable federal agencies with much in they can do things that we have
Resource common, e.g., the Forest Service, neither the skills nor the
Management the National Park Service, and the authority to do. As an example,
and the Fish and Wildlife Service; we meet the Wildlife Foundation helps us
Caribbean NF. quarterly to plan how we can raise funds to support vital
combine our resources to maximize species recovery projects. These
When I ran out of space, I promised our land management efforts. For “symbiotic relationships” between
to continue my comments in the example, on St. John in the us benefit all involved.
Winter edition, so here goes: neighboring US Virgin Islands, we
provide a unified eco-management Well, that’s the rest of the story;
I was asked; “How does the command for the Virgin Islands I’ve enjoyed sharing my views
Caribbean NF help developers use National Park to work on with you. I welcome your com-
open spaces in a sustainable emergency response problems as ments or observations about these
manner?” I replied that when well as budgetary crises. Much of vitally important sustainability
there’s been a conflict between envi- our work entails combining our issue and how they directly affect
ronmentalists and developers, resources in a cohesive manner. both the Caribbean NF and
we’ve worked with the Puerto Rico’s many other valuable
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to I was then asked: “How does the natural resources. Send your com-
create laws that will encourage Forest Service’s current focus on ments to my e-mail address:
more prudent management of the “partnerships” play-out in this part firstname.lastname@example.org.
island’s resources. By doing so of the world? I said that we work
we’ve effected a noticeable change with Non-Government Hasta pronto,
between how developers did Organizations (The Forest Gateway
business in the past, and what they Community Council is a good exam- Pablo
do now. ple of this), as well as community
leaders, and local business people.
The next question was “How We have a partnership agreement
important is interagency with the Puerto Rican Conservation
Caribbean NF’s YCC Summer Employment Program;
A Teen Success Story!
The Caribbean National Forest Elizabeth Trevino, chose the fol- The Caribbean NF hopes to host
hosted a successful Youth lowing six YCC candidates by web- the YCC program again next year!
Conservation Corps Program from based lottery:
June through August, 2006. YCC
provides summer jobs for young Zahily E. Rodriguez, Carlos E.
men and women 15 to 18 years of Estrada, Kidany E. Perez,
age; participating students can Carmen E. Rodriguez, Anthony
gain greater awareness of the Alicea and Briceyra G. Ortiz.
environment, while earning a Robertito Rios, Jr. led the team to
salary. Administration & clean trash from forest trails and
Planning Team HRP Specialist roads.
VOLU ME 1, ISSUE 2 E L BO S QU E PAGE 3
Firefighter training in the Caribbean NF
An interview with Bruce Drapeau.
We asked EcoSystem Fire this test receive basic firefighter trains and administers
Program Coordinator Bruce training and are then qualified to approximately 200 firefighters
Drapeau to tell us about the head-out to the fireline. Each year, each year. Of this number, 14
Caribbean NF’s Firefighter firefighters must repeat the work are Squad Bosses, and 3 are
Training Program; here’s what he capacity test and take part in a one Crew Bosses.
said: day Fireline Refresher Course to
maintain their firefighter We also train dispatchers who
The Caribbean National Forest qualification. Firefighters who display deploy to fires and coordination
trains firefighters and dispatchers leadership skills and the centers throughout the US.
to be available for deployment to ability to communicate in English take Dispatchers are not required to
stateside fires or other incidents. part in further “squad boss” training. pass the work capacity test to be
Our firefighters can be deployed The most responsible and reliable of eligible. Candidates receive
as a crew, or if they are bilingual, the squad bosses are selected for training in dispatch procedures
as a single resource to fill in on a intense training to become Crew and must be completely fluent in
crew anywhere in the country. Bosses. The Caribbean NF currently English. We currently have 4
To get a crew properly prepared, fully trained dispatchers, and
requires both extensive training another 18 who will complete
and a huge commitment from the their training on assignment.
trainees. Prospective candidates
must complete a work capacity For more information about the
test to ensure that they are Caribbean NF Firefighter program,
physically able to handle the e-mail Bruce at: email@example.com
arduous duties assigned to them or write: Caribbean NF, HC-01,
on the fireline. This test consists PO Box 13490, Rio Grande, PR
of completing a 3 mile hike within 00745-9625.
45 minutes while wearing a 45 lb.
backpack. Candidates who pass
Volunteer Work Cuts Labor Costs at Caribbean NF
NGO Volunteer labor saves forest $30,000
Again this year, volunteer (photo upper-right), labored arduously
organizations from the mainland under the management of CS&P Team
US have done extraordinary work Supervisory Forest Technician Jaime
in support of conservation projects Valentin to complete tasks vital to the
on the Caribbean NF. Forest Service mission; re-opening the
Over the summer, teams from the La Coca Nature Trail, cleaning-up and
Sierra Club (photo below), repairing the Quebrada Grande,
Michigan State University Angelito, Big Tree, La Mina and
(photo lower right) and the Caimitillo Nature Trails, painting the
American Hiking Society bridge at the Palo Colorado Visitor
Center and collecting garbage along
access roads. Their efforts saved the
Forest Service approximately $30,000 in
Please join us in applauding them for
dedicating their precious time and effort
to help the Caribbean NF accomplish the
Forest Service mission: “Caring for the
land and serving people!”
EL BOSQUE PLUVIAL
Pablo Cruz This issue’s Forest Spotlight illuminates another
Forest Supervisor VIP (Very Impressive Professional): LE & I Team Law
Caribbean National Forest Enforcement Officer Ismael Monge who has patrolled the
HC-01, Box 13490 Caribbean NF for the past 27 years. Forest visitors frequently
Rio Grande, PR 00745-9625
comment on his pleasant and helpful attitude, while his
Phone: 787 888 1810 tenacious investigative skills are the bane of potential
Fax: 787 888 5622 lawbreakers.
Monge was born in Canovanas.
In the 1950’s his family moved to
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimi- Chicago; when he graduated from
nation in all its programs and activities on the basis of race,
color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political
high school, the family returned to
beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status. (Not all the island. His university, studies
prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabili-
ties who require alternate means for communication of pro- were interrupted by the Vietnam
gram information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should
contact USDA’s TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (Voice and
War. He was called to active duty,
TDD.)To file a complaint of discrimination write USDA, Direc- attending the Army’s Jungle
tor, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400
Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call Warfare School and then saw combat with the 1st Air Cavalry
202-720-5964 (Voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity
employer and provider.
Division in Vietnam where he earned his Combat Infantrymans
Badge, and was awarded the Air Medal and several other
Access our website in both Upon his return he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in
Spanish and English at: Education at the University of Puerto Rico. He taught Senior
www.fs.fed.us/r8/caribbean, High School English at schools in Canovanas and Rio Grande
until retiring in 1991. He began his “next” career, attending the
Federal Law Enforcement Academy in Glynco, Georgia. He has
served the Caribbean NF as a Federal Law Enforcement Officer
Monge will be retiring “for good” in January of next year. He will
be sorely missed in the forest for his absolute professionalism
and his sunny, easy-going personality.
Monge lives in Colinas del Yunque with his wife Lillian Cabrera
and their black Rottweiller “Oso.” Their three children Lillian,
Alexis and Ismael Jr. and their five grandchildren are frequent
BLANCA WINS AGAIN !
CS &P Team Conservation Education Leader Blanca
Ruiz has captured the prestigious Gifford Pinchot
National Award for Excellence in Conservation
Education. She was selected from a list of top Conservation
Education Leaders from all nine Forest Service Regions to
receive the honor (photo left) at the annual National
Association for Interpretation Workshop in Alburquerque,
NM in November.
Well Done Blanca! We join the Forest Service community in
applauding your selection as the winner of this award and
the well-deserved national recognition that comes with it!