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					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
Students learn/earn.
                                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    pcruz01@fs.fed.us.
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: bdrapeau@fs.fed.us
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
                                       labor costs!

                                       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
                                                                          FOREST SPOTLIGHT
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.
Email: pcruz01@fs.fed.us
                                                                                                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
                                                                     decorations.

           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
                                                                     ever since.

                                                                     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
                                                                     visitors.

                                                                               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!