Carmela, Director of Education and Community Outreach, gives a participating family a new tree to plant and watch grow!
Carmela, Director of Education and Community Outreach, gives a participating family a new tree to plant and watch grow!

On June 19, the Association of Livestock and Agro-Silvopastoral Producers of PedasĂ­ (APASPE) held the third annual Agro-ecological fair. The fair was hosted by the school of Los Asientos, a community close to PedasĂ­. The theme? Health soil for a healthy family! This fair comes at a critical point in time, as healthy soil is considered a quickly dwindling resource.

The Perfect Earth Project Azuero (PEPA) participated with a table which taught visitors about the necessary components for healthy soil. Our table also shared other methods of increasing soil quality, such as reforestation or worm compost systems. Other participating organizations covered a variety of environmental issues, such as turtle conservation, sustainable tuna farming, reforestation or sustainable livestock production. Participants included ranged from local actors, such as different schools and NGOs, to national and international actors, such as the National Authority of the Environment (ANAM) and the FAO of the United Nations. This diversity of collaboration strengthens our ability to fight for an agriculture which supports a healthy environment and earth. Students from Las Tablas had created a model of a water-conservation irrigation system, and a competition to see which students could create outfits made entirely out of recycled material. The event was inaugurated by members of the FOA of the United Nations and representatives from ANAM.

The inauguration of the fair by representatives from ANAM and the FAO of the UN.

This type of event provides a fun and informative space for local farmers, families and communities, who are the people most immediately affected by soil decay, to meet with environmental actors who are working towards sustainable agricultural practices which best preserve biodiversity and healthy soil. PEPA greatly thanks APASPE and Los Asientos for their work in creating such a space, and for their invitation to participate! We look forward to the fourth annual fair!


Creative Recycling Worshop at the AEP

To the untrained eye, it appeared that several tables at the Azuero Earth Project offices in PedasĂ­ were covered in trash. But in truth, the empty chip bags and containers filled with used cooking oil were destined for great things, and soon would be transformed into wallets, purses, and fragrant soaps.


Several groups from Pedasí and surrounding communities were present for December’s Creative Recycling Workshop, led by Sra. Sabina Rodriguez, from the Department for the Promotion of Culture at the National Environmental Authority offices in Ocú, Herrera.

Sra. Rodriguez began with a short introduction, followed by a brief demonstration of how to begin the process of weaving junk food bags and wrappers together to form wallets and purses. Attendees then grabbed their scissors and got to work. Potato chip bags quickly disappeared, transformed into colorful interlocking zig-zags and the beginnings of coin purses.


When participants had mastered the fine folds necessary for making recycled purses and wallets, it was time for the second half of the workshop: homemade soaps. Sra. Rodriguez demonstrated the proper way to mix potash with water and recycled cooking oil. Then each participant had the chance to make their own soap to take home, choosing from a variety of fragrances. Attendees left with their soaps in hand, ready to be used after a one-month aging period. Learn how to make your own soap by reading Sra. Roriguez’s easy recipe.


Meet AEP’s Newest Collaborators!

AEP´s new collaborators: Ashley Stonecipher, Sarah Graves, Lesly Oderay Candelaria, Hannah Metzel, Sabina Roan, and Victor Tran (from top left to bottom right), c. photo subjects

The Azuero Earth Project welcomes several new collaborators to the office in PedasĂ­ who will be conducting research and projects related to environmental conservation and sustainable development. They are eager to meet the PedasĂ­ community and to explore the Azuero Peninsula through their projects!

Ashley Stonecipher, PedasĂ­ School Gardens Consultant, Peace Corps

Ashley is working with the Pedasí school, Instituto Plinio A. Moscoso, to develop an organic garden with the school´s students and faculty. Ashley comes to AEP having recently completed 2 ½ years in Peace Corps Paraguay working on sustainable agriculture with local farmers and women and teaching about the importance of organic gardening. Ashley received her undergraduate degree in Environmental Horticulture with a specialization in Public Garden Management and a MS in Business Management and a MA in International Business at the University of Florida.

Sarah Graves, University of Florida Field Research Team

Sarah is conducting research to quantify the species diversity and carbon content of the dispersed trees throughout cattle pastures using high-resolution hyper-spectral aerial imagery and LiDAR data. Sarah is earning her Master of Science in Forest Resources and Conservation at UF, advised by Dr. Stephanie Bohlman. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Environmental Science. Sarah then attended the University of Wisconsin to earn a professional certificate in geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing.

Lesly Oderay Candelaria, University of Florida Field Research Team

As a part of her professional internship through the University of Panama in Penonomé, Lesly forms part of the University of Florida field investigation team that seeks to quantify the species diversity and carbon content of the dispersed trees throughout cattle pastures using high-resolution hyper-spectral aerial imagery and LiDAR data. Lesly is in the fourth year of her undergraduate degree in Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Panama in Penonomé.

Hannah Metzel, Environmental Education Intern

Hannah is collaborating with AEP to develop the curriculum for the Pro-Eco Pela´os program. She is double majoring in Environmental Studies and Government at Connecticut College. Through volunteering at the West Hill Park in her hometown and taking several courses in Environmental Science, she has developed an interest in the transformation from fossil fuels to renewable resources. After Connecticut College Hannah plans to attend law school and pursue a career in Environmental Law.

Sabina Roan, GIS Mapping Intern

Sabina is focusing on adding to and updating AEP´s GIS database, as well as participating in AEP´s recycling and the Pro-Eco Pela´os programs and the local turtle monitoring group. Sabina just completed a bachelor degree in Geography with a concentration in Urban Systems at McGill University in Montréal, Canada. Her minors were in Geographic Information Systems and Environment.

Victor Tran, Organiculture Intern

Victor is collaborating with AEP´s Organiculture program to research natural pest management systems and to help out in the experimental organic garden. Victor is visiting from the AEP from Montreal, QC in Canada where he studies Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at McGill University. He comes as a first time traveller to Panama. While not spending time in the gardens, he hopes to learn more about the Panamanian lifestyle by interacting with people in the community, and visiting local farmers in the region.

To learn about about these new collaborators, visit the Collaborators page.

Pedasi Recycles!

c. Guillermo Duran

At 3pm on Friday, November 16 2012 at Azuero Earth Project, interns Pedro and Enita Cerrud  organized a “Painting and Movie Night”, attended by 42 people, including students from Pedasi High School, Instituto Plinio A. Moscoso y members of the community. The youth painted recycling bins, resulting in a lottery in which participants won t-shirts and maps of the Project.

In recognition of all their help, Pedro and Enita offered participants a free meal of lasagna and garlic bread with refreshed that everyone enjoyed!

After the dinner, the interns showed the movie: “Horton Hears a Who”(2008), with popcorn and refreshments for the movie viewers. The movie tells the story of Horton, an elephant who discovers a tiny world of “who” people living on a flower and decides to protect it, despite the fact that his community do not believe it exists. As Horton explains: “A person is a person, no matter how small”.

“We are very thankful to everyone who attended this event. Thanks to you all, it was a big success!”, said Pedro and Enita.

During the event attendees participated in a lottery asking the following trivia questions related to the Recycle PedasĂ­ program. See if you also know the answers:

Question: Where are the recycling bins located in PedasĂ­?

Correct Answer:

  1. The Azuero Earth Project
  2. Distribuidora LIBADI
  3. Residencial PedasĂ­
  4. Cooperative Rancho, Bajadero/Arenal Beach
  5. PedasĂ­ High School (Instituto Plinio Antonio Moscoso)
  6. EstaciĂłn Edy
  7. Clarisa and Cusi´s house, Main Plaza

Question: Which materials are recycled by the Recycle PedasĂ­ project in PedasĂ­?

Correct answer: Hard plastic and cans (aluminum and junk parts)

Winners were given t-shirts and maps of the Project. Do you want to participate in more activities related to recycling in Pedasí? If so, join the Recicla Pedasí (Recycle Pedasí) group on Facebook. The Recicla Pedasí project encourages education and culture of recycling as a method to protect natural resources and our health throughout our region and collaborates with the Alcadia, the Movimiento Juvenil Pedasí Verde, the Instituto P.A.M., the Azuero Earth Project, and the Organization de Niños de Azuero.

Trash to Treasure: Anne-Marie Potts Teaches Crocheting with Plastic Bags

c. Sophie Fuchs

What should you do with all the plastic bags you collect from the store? On October 20, 2012, Anne-Marie Potts showed the community an innovative solution: crochet the bags into new treasures. Anne-Marie has been teaching this technique for some time as part of EducaciĂłn Primero‘s (Education First) community outreach, visiting school and community groups across Panama. For instance, she has taught women’s clubs how to crochet new goods to sell for extra income. The technique is basic, but the results are beautiful. One simply has to cut plastic bags into strips, tie them together and crochet in the normal fashion to produce beach bags, purses, placemats, even scrubbers for the kitchen sink in bright colors.

c. Sophie Fuchs

Folks from as far as Bocas del Toro attended the workshop to learn how to crochet with Anne-Marie. One participant later took what she learned and added crocheted strips of black trash bags to her recycled dress in a school-sponsored parade. The idea opens up many new possibilities for reusing items that traditionally get thrown in the trash and then burnt in the dump. This process contaminates the air we breathe on the Azuero. The Azuero Earth Project encourages you to look at goods you plan to throw away with a new eye for how you might creatively recycle them.

For resources from the workshop and more information, visit Anne-Marie’s Guest Experts page.

Written by Sophie M. Fuchs

Youth launch town recycling project

Volunteers before presenting the PedasĂ­ Recycles bins at the Telethon PedasĂ­ 2010


When trash is burned it contaminates the soil and the air that we breathe, and it poses serious health risks. The time has come to do something about it in PedasĂ­. Launched in 2010, PedasĂ­ Recycles seeks to incentivize recycling culture and education as a way to protect natural resources and human health. On December 11th, representatives from Children of Azuero (NIDA), the Pedasi Green Youth Movement, and the Azuero Earth Project established seven sets of recycling bins (aluminum and plastic) in the following PedasĂ­ locations:

  • Abarroteria Melany
  • DulcerĂ­a Yelys
  • AbarroterĂ­a Stephany
  • The corner of the park (Clarisa Quinzada’s house)
  • Residencial PedasĂ­
  • Distribuidora Libadi
  • Plinio Moscoso PrimarySchool

All PedasĂ­ residents are invited to participate by recycling juice, soda, water, and hard plastic bottles, and plastic plates/cups in the bin that says PLASTIC or soda, beer, tuna or vegetable cans in the bin that says ALUMINUM.