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Through many mistakes and trials, Sarah Hornsby, and husband Jim, learned much of the practical use of medicinal plants from their experience in Matagalpa, Nicaragua.

The reforestation project started with the purchase of land in the Arenal Forest Reserve. From there, the learning process began bringing to life the concept of “it takes a village to …” Neighbors were paid to help collect seedlings of native plants from surrounding forest to use in reforestation.  Unfortunately, all five thousand neatly planted and labeled seedlings were planted on top of a hill where strong winds made it known the planting location was a mistake. Moving the seedlings to a more protected location invited other mishaps and lead to the creation of an informational website to share experiences and lessons learned.

Fencing and a gravel road were built. Donations of stakes and seedlings for the project were received, as well as a visit from the government forestry inspector who had to ensure the right trees were cut and tools used. Don Pedro, a local man who grew up in the area, and knew all the trees by names and characteristics, began the second nursery.  Moringa was included, however, it did not flourish in the climate.

Connections with individuals involved in the use of medicinal plants followed.  Dr. Gloria Corrales, a medical doctor, shared her knowledge, books and network of individuals using medicinal plants.  Alan Bolt, the author of “The Medicinal Plants of Peñas Blancas”, and creator of the Center for Development with Nature, also connected with Sarah and became an important member of the network.

This journey of reforestation and growth will inspire readers and provoke hope to those who labor in the field.  Failure is a teacher which leads to hearts we might not have known if successful at the first try.

This is an excerpt of an upcoming article in ECHO Caribbean and Central America Notes ( Subscribe Today )