Dr. Mark Nelson
Institute of Ecotechnics
Welcome to "Las Casas de la Selva," a tropical rainforest enrichment project on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. By joining us this year, you will help assess the results of 22 years of research into the sustainable use of tropical rainforest land. The project can be physically demanding, as the site is on steep slopes and in some places the undergrowth is thick. At the end of each day, you will come home from the forest to a comfy tent, a shower, a good meal, and a magical evening listening to the coqui calling through the night.
Thrity “3t” Vakil
Thrity “3t” Vakil has been working in the Puerto Rican rainforest since 2000, and has been living full-time at the project since 2005. She is currently Director of Tropic Ventures Rainforest Enrichment Project, and President of Tropic Ventures Education & Research Foundation. Along with managing volunteer youth and Earthwatch groups at the Project, she is involved in all aspects of forestry, including tree and vine identification and research, selection of trees for harvest, logging and sawing operations, and marketing and selling of sustainably-grown and harvested wood and products, and non-wood forest products. She has been an Associate of The Institute of Ecotechnics since the early 1990s and is a member of its Board of Directors. With hands-on experience in various fields of research, ecology, business, arts, theater, adventure, and management, she spent two and a half years on an expedition aboard the Research Vessel Heraclitus, diving to research and map coral reefs in the Red Sea & Indian Ocean, and for four years managed a 500 tree organic fruit orchard in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Born in Kenya, East Africa, she has always been an avid explorer of the natural world and her travels have taken her all over Europe, India, Nepal, East and North Africa, and the USA. With an extensive background in theatre design and scenic art, 3t is an accomplished painter, web & graphic designer, documentarian, & photographer. 3t has shown various artworks since 2000 at the October Gallery in London, UK, in several Transvangard shows, and in Puerto Rico, highlighting her apprenticeship within rainforest ecology. 3t edits, designs and upgrades the project’s website and newsletter (www.eyeontherainforest.org). 3t is a fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science. She will be present during all Earthwatch expeditions.