The Wonders Of Trees Never Cease


Goats climb an argan tree in Morocco to dine on its fruit. Jeremy Horner/Getty Images

At Chan Chich Lodge we are just embarking on a tree-related culinary journey, so any counterintuitive story about trees is likely to catch my attention these days.


Thanks to Marc Silver at National Public Radio for the story about the picture above, Do Tree-Climbing Goats Help Plant New Trees? It is a short read and worth every second of your attention if you are interested in arboreal foodstuff.

This image to the left, while not as amusing as the one above, shows a deer doing the same thing with less panache. That deer will spread the seeds of that wild fig far and wide in the forest, increasing food supply.


The tree dropping the fruit the deer is eating is the tall one featured to the right. That is at the intersection between Cottage 1 and Cottage 2, which is to say pretty central at Chan Chich. If I had a thousand words, I would tell you a story about how that fig has a direct link to the prevalence of jaguar here. But no time for that now.

The photos tell the story. The pathways are littered with that fruit, and our crew cleans up each day during this season.

FigSteps.jpgToday two women from Cornell University are arriving at Chan Chich Lodge to begin ten-week internships and they will be joining a work in progress. Alana is a senior in the School of Hotel Administration who plans to develop her career in sustainable hospitality. A travel junkie, it seems to me, she has a level of curiosity and determination well suited to the tree task at hand.

Her fellow intern Emily has just earned her undergraduate degree from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell.

FigStep1With that degree focused on Sustainable Systems Design in hand she is now a candidate for an advanced degree, a Masters of Engineering in Environmental Science and Sustainability. I will be introducing Emily and Alana to Ramón later today. The pathway here led me to discussion with our entire groundskeeping team, together with the guides, many of whom come from Maya families.

WildFigStillLife2.jpgThey had lots to say about the figs when I asked them about the various layers, from the thin green skin to the white pith and the ruby red center–more distinct parts than its well domesticated Mediterranean counterpart. No matter how interested I was in this fig they all preferred to talk about Ramón. Let’s see where that takes us.

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