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									Volume 1I, Issue 2                                                                                      Summer, 2007,

Welcome!                                 El Yunque’s Nature Guides: a Valuable
To El Bosque Pluvial’s                         Resource for Our Visitors
Summer, 2007 issue. It is         Cynthia Manfred bent       Cynthia, and her               787 888 1810.
                                  down over leaf litter      colleagues Frank Torres
packed with interesting           beside the Baño de Oro     and Edwin Velazquez            During summer months,
stories about the El Yunque       nature trail; with a       are US Forest Service In-      Cynthia, Frank and Edwin
                                  magnifying monocular       formation Specialists          present a series of “Live
National Forest, America’s        she inspected wasp         (Nature Guides) assigned       Animal” shows at the
only tropical rainforest and
                                  larvae deposited on the    to the El Yunque NF. All       Forest’s El Portal Rain
                                  belly of a paralyzed       three are Interpretive         Forest Center. Caged
its staff who conserve this       centipede. Nicole Viau,    Guides, certified by the       reptiles, amphibians and
                                  11, and her brother        National Association for
vital resource.
                                  Jacob, 7, visiting from    Interpretation (NAI).
                                  New Hampshire, knelt       They attend regularly
                                  next to her. Cynthia       scheduled refresher
                                  handed them the            courses given by Visitor
                                  magnifier, carefully       Information Service Op-
                                  explaining how wasps       erations Leader Victor
                                  use parasitism to feed     Cuevas, who is an NAI
                                  their larvae. After        Certified Interpreter
                                  questions had been         Trainer. A large portion of
                                  answered, Cynthia          each day is spent guiding      exotic species are
                                  continued to lead the      visitors on “Forest            featured for “close-up”
From the Forest               2   kids and their parents     Adventure Tours;” these        viewing and the guides give
Supervisors Desk.                 along the trail, pausing   one-hour nature trail hikes    talks about the habits and
                                  to describe each new       are designed to give           habitats of the animals.
Youth Conservation            2   discovery. Nicole and      visitors a better
Corps-Teen Summer                 Jacob were delighted       understanding of the El        Frank and Edwin work only
jobs in El Yunque!                with Cynthia’s clear       Yunque National                during the seven month
In Memoriam:                  3                              Forest’s complex               “high” season (February to
Miguel Lopez– a friend                                       ecosystems. A small fee is     the beginning of
and colleague is lost.                                       charged for the tours; the     September), while Cynthia
PR & Federal                  3                              funds are used to offset the   works “solo” for the
leaders celebrate                                            costs of maintaining the       remaining five months.
Forest’s new name.                                           Forest’s high level of         El Yunque’s Nature Guides
                                                             service.                       keep extremely busy; the
Forest Spotlight:             4
Delia Gomez-
                                                                                            Forest welcomes over
problem solver.                                              They also give one hour        1,000,000 visitors each year!
                                  explanations; they         nature trail tours to          “El Yunque’s Nature Guides
                                  couldn’t wait to use       schools and large groups.      provide an invaluable
                                  their new-found            Information about Rent-a-      service to visitors from all
                                  rainforest knowledge       Ranger tours can be            over the world.
                                  when they went home.       obtained by calling
PAGE 2                                            E L BO S QU E P LU VI AL                           VOLU ME 1I, ISSUE 2

            From the Forest Supervisor’s Desk
                    Unusually high     Thankfully, the first few months of       during our peak visitation periods
                    temperature and    the season have passed without            this summer. We will study the
                    humidity have      tropical storms developing, but the       results of these operations and use
                    characterized      season is not over until the end of       what we find to refine our future
                    the weather here   November so we must remain                recreation management skills.
                    in the eastern     prepared and vigilant.
                    Caribbean                                                    Our highly motivated firefighters
                    during the         The preliminary results of the 2006       saw a lot of action over the summer.
                    summer of 2007.    National Visitor Use Monitoring           Four firefighting crews and their
                    The onset of       (NVUM) survey reflect an impressive       support personnel were dispatched
summer also signaled the start of      increase over former years in the         to combat major fire incidents in
the Atlantic hurricane season.         number of visitors to the Forest;         the western United States. Both
University of Colorado expert, Dr.     El Yunque received over 1 million         firefighting crews and support
William Gray has stated that storm     visitors over the period of the survey.   personnel performed admirably,
activity during this hurricane         This is favorable news; it proves that    executing their assigned duties and
season will be above average.          the El Yunque NF has become an            tasks professionally. We are
                                       extremely popular tourist                 thankful for their safe return to the
We began our preparations early in     destination, due in large part to the     island.
April here in the El Yunque NF.        quality of the ecotourism experience
On June 1st, the Forest was            that our dedicated staff provides to      As you see, we have had a very
certified ready to respond to          our visitors. However, increased          busy summer in the El Yunque NF.
hurricane incidents. Because our       visitation poses a tremendous             I sincerely hope that you and your
staff are “first responders” when an   challenge, potentially impacting our      families have enjoyed a relaxing
incident occurs in the Forest, we      ability to manage the Forest              summer season.
encourage them to ensure that their    recreation venue at its present high
families and homes are                 levels. I am happy to report that         Hasta pronto,
prepared and ready to cope with        despite our recent loss of the SCSEP
potential damage and the inevitable    senior worker program (Spring, 07 El
loss of services should a severe
storm occur.
                                       Bosque Pluvial) our staff and
                                       volunteers successfully managed the
                                       Forest access control operation

          El Yunque NF’s YCC Summer Employment Program;
                     Another Teen Success Story!
The El Yunque National Forest          Specialist Elizabeth Trevino,         Team technicians with a fisheries
hosted another successful Youth        chose five YCC candidates from a      project with technicians Orlando
Conservation Corps Program from        total of 108                          Carrasquillo, Benjamin Fuentes
June through August this year.         applicants by web-based lottery:      and Anastacio Gomez.
YCC provides summer jobs for
young men and women 15 to 18           Ricardo DiCristina, Joel Diarza-
years of age; participants gain        Millan, Frances M. Matos and
                   greater             Jorge L. Cabrera from Rio
                   Environmental       Grande; Vilma Santos Navarro
                   awareness,          from Fajardo.
                   while earning
                   extra money.        This year the YCC teens learned
                   Manpower De-        important conservation
                   velopment           lessons by helping Ecosystem
V OLU ME 1I, ISSUE 2                             E L BO S QU E P LU VI AL                                     PAGE 3

                       El Yunque Loses a Friend and Colleague

This Summer the El                                                                       to New York seeking
Yunque National Forest                                                                   employment. Returning to
lost a good friend, an                                                                   the island he met his
esteemed colleague and                                                                   future wife Dolores who
a dedicated worker.                                                                      hailed from Naguabo.
                                                                                         They were soon married
Miguel Lopez passed                                                                      and shortly after their
away suddenly in July,                                                                   first child Magda was
after serving his                                                                        born, they set out for New
beloved El Yunque for                                                                    York once again. They
more than three                                                                          lived in New York for
decades. He would have                                                                   many years; their three
been 71 next January.                                                                    other children; Nelida,
                                                                                         Miguel Jr. and Harry were
Miguel was loved and                                                                     born there. After their
respected by the entire                                                                  return to the island,
El Yunque staff; his                                                                     Miguel joined the Forest
tireless maintenance                                                                     Service in 1975, where he
work on the Forest’s trails,           worked at his side. His reputation was     continued to work until his death
shelters, buildings and just about     such that he was often requested by        in July.
everything else that comes to          name to work on special Forest
mind was a familiar sight to staff     projects.                                  Miguel will be sorely missed by
and visitors alike. He                                                            his family, by all of his friends
accomplished every task set            Miguel was born and raised in              and colleagues, and especially by
before him in a most                   Luquillo, Puerto Rico, where he            the El Yunque Forest that meant
professional manner, setting a         attended elementary and high school.       so much to him; the land will feel
high standard for those who            Shortly after graduating, he traveled      the loss of his loving care.

                          El Yunque National Forest Celebrates
                                 Official Name Change
                                     The Forest celebrated its official       An audio-visual presentation
                                     name change on Tuesday, August           “El Yunque, a Rain Forest With
                                     28th, 2007, acknowledging the historic   Many Names” prepared by the
                                     event with a morning ceremony at the     Forest’s Customer Service Team,
                                     El Portal Rain Forest Center             was shown next, followed with
                                     followed by the unveiling of the new     speeches by the Regional Forester,
                                     El Yunque National Forest sign at        PRFAA Director and Resident
                                     the Forest’s entrance.                   Commissioner; each spoke about the
                                                                              historical significance and cultural
                                     Forest Supervisor Pablo Cruz             importance of the name change to
                                     kicked-off the event, welcoming          the Forest and to Puerto Rico’s
                                     USDA Forest Service Regional             patrimony.
On April 2, 2007 a proclamation      Forester Charles Myers, PRFAA
by President George W. Bush          Executive Director Eduardo Bhatia As the highlight of the ceremony, the
officially changed the Forest’s      (representing Governor Acevedo)       entire assembly was escorted to the
name from the Caribbean              and Puerto Rico’s Resident
National Forest to the               Commissioner Luis Fortuño, and        (continued on next page)

El Yunque National Forest.           other distinguished guests along with
                                     the Forest’s employees and
             EL BOSQUE PLUVIAL
                                                                           FOREST SPOTLIGHT
Pablo Cruz
Forest Supervisor                                                                                         When an El Yunque NF employee
El Yunque National Forest
HC-01, Box 13490                                                                                          encounters an administrative
Rio Grande, PR 00745-9625                                                                                 “glitch,” whether it be with payroll,
Phone: 787 888 1810                                                                                       purchasing, ordering uniforms, or
Fax: 787 888 5622
Email: pcruz01@fs.fed.us                                                                                  just about anything else imaginable,
                                                                                                          chances are they will take their
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimi-
nation in all its programs and activities on the basis of race,                                           troubles to Administrative
color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political
beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status. (Not all                                        Support Assistant,
prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabili-
ties who require alternate means for communication of pro-
gram information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should
                                                                                                          Delia Gomez.
contact USDA’s TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (Voice and
TDD.)To file a complaint of discrimination write USDA, Direc-
tor, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400
Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call                                                Delia’s cheerful demeanor, coupled
202-720-5964 (Voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity
employer and provider.                                                                                    with her detailed knowledge of how
                                                                     the Forest Service works, is a gift to all who ask for her help.
                                                                     Delia quickly resolves a problem; or if she can’t, she hooks-up an
  Forest Name Change Ceremony                                        employee with the exact person in FS’ Albuquerque Service Center
           (continued from previous page)
                                                                     or Regional or Washington DC office to provide final resolution.
 entrance of the Forest at PR road # 191,
 km 9, by the Taino cultural
 preservation group “Güatu Ma Cu a                                   You never get short-changed, you get your desired results quickly,
 Borikén” to witness the unveiling of the                            efficiently and cheerfully when you “deal with Delia!”
 new El Yunque National Forest sign.
                                                                      Delia is the youngest of four sisters born to Juan Gomez Felix and
 After the unveiling, the group returned to
 El Portal, where Regional Forester                                   Aida Jimenez. She was raised in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, where she
 Myers and Forest Supervisor Cruz                                     attended elementary and high school. She married her “military”
 recognized the contributions of El
                                                                      husband, Roberto Soto Lebron soon after graduating from high
 Yunque’s employees and volunteers
 during a luncheon event. Each person                                 school. While living on various military bases in exotic locations such
 was presented with a new El Yunque                                   as Germany, Delia found time to raise a son, Roberto, and two
 National Forest brass name tag and given
                                                                      daughters, Bianca and Lorna.
 a plaque as a memento of their Caribbean
 National Forest service. The luncheon
 also included entertainment provided by                              Upon returning to the island Delia earned an Associate degree in
 the exciting University of Puerto Rico,                              Business at the University of Puerto Rico; she worked with local
 Rio Piedras campus’ “Tuna,” traditional
 music group.                                                         manufacturing and pharmaceutical companies until coming to
                                                                      El Yunque, where she began as a receptionist. She was quickly
 In the afternoon, the event was opened to                            promoted to Support Service Specialist, Accounting Technician
 the public at the Forest’s El Portal Rain
 Forest Center, with an aboriginal                                    and was recently reassigned as Administrative Support Assistant.
 Taino culture demonsation by the                                     While working at El Yunque, she completed studies for a BA in
 Taino group “Güatu Ma Cu a                                           Business Administration at the Interamerican University in Fajardo,
 Borikén” at El Portal’s third level
 parking area.                                                        graduating Magna cum Laude!

 A truly memorable day!                                               Delia says she enjoys working at El Yunque; she is especially happy
                                                                      when she is interacting with her Forest colleagues, helping them to
                                                                      solve their day-to-day problems!

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