The Cajun Supper held at Otey Parish on March 4th by the Monteagle Sewanee Rotary Club raised $2500 for the University’s Haiti Institute in Sewanee (HIS). This represents the third year of this partnership whereby HSI earmarks these funds to assist farmers in the Bois Jolis Zone in the Central Plateau of Haiti. “We have been working in conjunction with Haitian agronomists and a forty-farm co-operative in Bois Jolis for five years.” said Dixon Myers, Associate Director of Civic Engagement and co-founder of HIS. “This joint venture fund-raiser is a key component in making this project work.”
Students going on the Spring Break Haiti Outreach Trip this past March helped sell tickets to the event and helped set up, serve and clean-up. They normally sell tickets to their peers which helps bring together a mix of town and university student participation. The food was delicious, and the music and atmosphere were the best, one student commented. I wish there were something like this every weekend and what a great cause.
Over Spring Break the students went out to each farm and measured elevation, slope, soil depth, canopy density, disease rates and set up rain gauges on farms where Coffee, Ced, Acajou and Mango were planted four years ago. “All of these factors play into the success of these plants and the continued monitoring is what most reforestation projects don’t have the capacity to do” said Dr. Deborah McGrath of the University’s Biology Department and another co-founder of HIS. It is amazing to have young people engage in these communities and offer their youthful services in this way, this is what invigorates me as a teacher. The data being collected is the foundation for making sound decisions in coordination with our Haitian partners. The Rotary fund-raiser helps in making all of this work.