2008-Present – Working with local high schools, Xela AID organized a team of students — "Young Ecologists" known locally as “Guardianes del Medio Ambiente” — who are interested in the natural environment and in careers related to environmental protection.
So far, the group has:
• Outplanted more than 800 trees to help restore the local watershed (the area of Lake Chiquibal)
• Organized other groups to clean up the downtown area (El Centro) of San Martin Sacatepequez, including trash pickups, sweeping, and painting curb areas.
In Phase 2 of this program, Xela AID wishes to expand to include additional training in environmental science and reforestation, and to develop a certificate program endorsed by the government. This program will serve to develop skills the Young Ecologists can use to obtain employment with governmental and other organizations working to improve environmental health.
The program aims to become self-sustaining by:
• Recycling and selling trash collected
• Raising plants and trees both for reforestation and for sale for commercial and home landscaping
Seed funding is being sought for Phase 2 development, which will include hiring a local agronomist and several other professionals from a local university to train students, and to expand an existing nursery.