The Río Muchacho project is dynamic, growing with new ideas and initiatives for the improvement of the local people and environment. The following chronology of ecological initiatives, implemented through the Organic Farm, Environmental School, Bahía Ecocity office, and Ecopapel illustrates how the project has developed since its conception.
1990 The Organic Farm project began in the Río Muchacho community, with the intention of producing healthy food, as a center of resistance to the contemporary system, and an alternative to conventional agriculture. From here the vision of environmental intervention radiates to different sectors of the rural and urban populations of the region.
1990 Ecotourism is born, with the agency Guacamayo Tours offering visits to natural areas in crisis, such as the mangroves, wetlands, and tropical dry forest. The separation of waste and transformation of organic material paves the way for environmental awareness through recreational activity.
1992 The first collections of waste paper are made from offices, printers, banks and schools, to begin the hand recycling of paper through Ecopapel, the first paper recycling workshop in Ecuador.
1993 Weekly reforestation activities begin on the eroding hillsides of the “El Astillero” district, with the participation of children from the area.
1994 Members of the Río Muchacho community and the Organic Farm create the first Environmental School for the education of children from the community, via an ecological curriculum, with a locally-oriented, practical basis, and a vision of non-contaminating agriculture.
1995 The proposition is put forward to develop a site for the production of shrimp with non-contaminating, permacultural systems, which later becomes the first certified organic shrimp farm in the world, by Naturland E.V. of Germany.
1996 The Stuarium Corporation is formed, which later is restructured as the Stuarium Foundation, for the reconstruction of Bahía de Caráquez, with Darío and Nicola in charge of the Ecology Committee.
1997 The Encarnación Agroecological Farm is started, taking advantage of the waste products of the packing company “Camarones Mar Grande”, and converting them into natural fertilizers for agriculture, vegetable production, and shrimp feeding.
1998 The program of waste separation for the municipal market begins, using organic material for the production of humus and compost for organic agriculture, and the development of a plant nursery, which produces fruits and ornamental plants, for the abastecedores of the market, as well as forest tree species for the reforestation work on the hillsides of the “El Astillero” district.
1998 The Stuarium Foundation forms the Executive Committee which drives the international event “Bahía Ecoencuentro” (Eco-meeting) and proposes the declaration of Bahía as an Ecocity, culminating in the declaration being made by Municipal Order on the 23rd of February 1999.
2000 The Eco-schools program in Bahía begins, with the participation of 11 primary establishments and around 800 students, who each year study different environmental education themes.
2000 Fanca, a developing district of families left destitute (damnificados) by the El Niño phenomenon, is given technical assistance in the organic material recycling project Fanca Produce.
2001 A program of organic gardens in the patios of houses is initiated in “Mangle 2000” – a developing town populated by people left destitute (damnificados) by the El Niño phenomenon.
2002 A reforestation project on the urban hillsides of Bahía starts: 8,000 trees in 14 hectares of the high districts of the city.
2002 The campaign against regada trash starts, through stickers and presentations in the media to dissuade the public from throwing their trash out bus windows or discarding it on the side of the street.
2003 The first edition of the Practical Guide for Residents of Bahía Ecocity, a set of recommendations for responsible practices to support the development of the Ecocity, is distributed.
2004 Campaign against the use of plastic bags, using stickers and the media, with the participation of secondary school students to distribute the message in the shops of Bahía and Leonidas Plaza.
2004 Assistance in the waste separation program and use of organic material, with USAID and the Municipio of the Sucre region.
2007 Technical assistance in the educational program “Recycler Miguelito”, to reinforce the good practice of domestic separation of waste in Bahía and Canoa.
2008 First plastic-bag-free establishment in Bahía.
2009 Program for waste reduction and the encouragement of responsible practices in hotels and restaurants in Bahía and Canoa.
2010 Campaign in conjunction with Inspiring Lives Program against the use of plastic bags in Bahía Ecocity, and creation of an ordinance to make it illegal to give away plastic bags. Cloth bags were made as a part of this project and two will be given to each household.
These and other initiatives currently being worked on ensure that the Río Muchacho Organic Farm, the Environmental School, along with Ecopapel and Guacamayo Tours of Bahía, continue to make positive impacts on a community, regional and national level, and lead the way in the support and development of environmentally-aware attitudes and sustainable progression.