HOW WE GROW THE TREES

Each spring new seedlings are propagated at Hacienda La Cruz. Pine cones are collected from the overwintering areas and dried. Seeds are extracted from the cones and sown into sprouting beds. After the seeds sprout, they are transplanted into small plastic containers and nurtured for twelve to fifteen months. The trees are strong and healthy because they are planted where they are exposed to the elements, yet protected by taller trees sown a few years earlier. In order to prepare 300,000 seedlings, we sow 400,000 and allow the hardiest to survive and thrive. When the seedlings have reached 12 to 15 inches in height, they are ready to be transported to the Monarch Overwintering Sites, a distance of 150 miles from the nursery at Santa Clara de Cobre. Planting is done by the recipients of the trees. The whole process from raising to planting the seedlings takes about fifteen months.

This cost for the propagation, transportation, and planting of each seedling remains only $.50. This includes the gathering of the pine cones, preparing the seed, planting and transplanting, care of the seedlings for 12 to 15 months, and transportation to the planting sites. We have been able to maintain this low cost by keeping our administration costs to a minimum and by the support and labor of the local people.