• 11 Sep 2022 12:33 PM | Larisa Matias (Administrator)

    As we approach fall, the crews have started and are on their way to completing areas 29 and 30; projects regarding one of the staircases leading to the field. 

    This area was highly eroded as a result of rain water, causing a steep incline where even our carts had trouble climbing. The project is a big one, taking a good space near the cemetery's entrance.  The goal here is not only to level the land, but to build berms to guide the water so that the erosion lessens.

  • 4 Jul 2022 9:47 AM | Larisa Matias (Administrator)

    The trail has been finished and the crew's are getting ready to work on the next turf projects. We're currently analyzing locations where the new sod could be applied.

    New updates soon.

  • 20 Jun 2022 7:55 AM | Larisa Matias (Administrator)

    Last week our group was invited to "Cumbre de Voluntariado", a conference focused on recognizing and aiding volunteer organizations, mainly those affiliated with Americorps.

    Our crews were given FEMA workshops, and presentations on interpersonal relationships and networking. It was a great experience where we got to bond and spend time together outside the work environment.

    We also met some folks that could open new paths for our budding organization (we'll keep you updated on that front). All in all, the event was a fantastic opportunity to learn new things and get to know new people.

  • 17 Jun 2022 6:50 PM | Larisa Matias (Administrator)

    As you know, one of our objectives as an organization is to participate in the conservation and preservation of our cultural resources. To expand upon that area, some of our members have taken up volunteer positions at the fort, in an effort to aid in the safeguarding of our history.

    The areas we've focused on are interpretation, archiving, and cannon preservation.

    In interpretation, our members greet and educate tourists on the historical processes of both San Cristobal and El Morro to give them a better understanding as to why they're so important for the island and it's people.

    In archives, we keep history intact. Documentation and artifacts are maintained with care and only taken out when students or researchers need information. In this department we also participate in exhibit maintenance and design, and artifact documenting.

    The park also has a cannon preservation area focused on the maintenance and rehabilitation of the forts' old cannons. In here, the cannons and bullets are cleaned and restored as closely to their original state as possible before being exhibited inside the museum. 

  • 17 Jun 2022 6:22 PM | Larisa Matias (Administrator)

    Last week, I mentioned how our next task was to maintain the trail leading up to El Morro and we got to do it. Our crews were trained on how to use the saws and shears to trim down the excess branches to make the trees look sharp and even. 

    We managed to complete most of the trail this week!

  • 8 Jun 2022 1:30 PM | Larisa Matias (Administrator)

    Our next big task for the coming week is trail work.

    Behind the fort lies el paseo La Princesa or "the Princesses' Road", a beautiful scenic road that goes around the fort and ends at Puntilla, a little market area near the ports. The sea grapes in the area have overgrown, making the end of the trail a little more difficult to traverse.

    It will be our task to saw off the branches and keep the trees reasonably maintained to give tourists ease of access.

  • 31 May 2022 1:13 PM | Larisa Matias (Administrator)

    Continuing on my previous post, some other critters you can find (although, with a little more work) are:

    1. Crabs/Hermit Crabs:

    406 Crab Feet Photos - Free & Royalty-Free Stock Photos from Dreamstime

    Hermit crabs or, as we call them, 'Cobito' are found in the dry moat of the fort. When walking into the moat, one might notice holes in the grass; that's their shelter. However, one must be careful when looking into these holes as some are actually home to spiders.

    2. Tarantulas:

    Arachnid climbing the visitor center wall, Pipe Spring National Monument, 2015. - PICRYL Public Domain Image

    Yes, we have tarantulas and yes, you can find them in the fort. The good news is that they stay mostly hidden during the day, coming out only when there is shade or late in the afternoon. Visitors can still see their holes in the ground.

    3. Worm Snakes:

    Typhlops, a Puertorican Blind snake | This type of snake is … | Flickr

    Worm snakes are really hard to find as they spend their time underground, Regardless, these guys are present in the esplanade of the fort and are completely benign. So keep an eye out for it. 

    4. Dolphins:

    Dolphin Watching Cruise from Puerto Rico

    To see dolphins you need to keep an eye on the bay during the morning, especially when a cruise is passing by. With any luck, you might see them jumping and playing in front of the ship, accompanying it as it makes its way to the port.

    5. Pelicans:

    Photos of Puerto El Morro: Images and photos

    Another rare sight around the fort are these guys. Pelicans hang out in duos or trios and they tend to stay around the bay area in search for fish, so if you want to see one, that's the place to be.

  • 31 May 2022 11:51 AM | Larisa Matias (Administrator)

    El Morro fort is a beautiful place full of history; however, what many don't know is that the fort is home to many little critters that have claimed it as their own. When you are visiting, be sure to keep an eye out for them!

    In the fort, you might find in plain view:

    1. Cats:

    Paseo del Morro cats, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico | Transplanted Tatar

    Cats were brought to the island by the Spaniards during the 17th and 18th century as a way to combat the increasing rat population in San Juan. As time went by, and other extermination methods became available, cats started depending more on the inhabitants for food rather than hunting their own. As consequence, cats have now become an invasive species in the city and you can see them everywhere, especially near the roads leading to the fort.

    2. Grackles:

    Greater Antillean Grackle | The Birds of Cuba

    These chatty birds are found all over the island, so its no surprise that one can find them flying around the fort. While they're not completely aggressive, they're not particularly shy either. Many will approach visitors if they have food in their surroundings and can get a bit feisty when wanting a little snack.

    3. Pigeons: 

    To Hate or Not to Hate, That is The Pigeon - Buffalo Bill Center of the West

    Like grackles, pigeons are very common throughout the island and, in San Juan, they flourish. Many come in a gray palette but some are white, brown or black.

    4. Green Parrots:

    Puerto Rico - Inside San Juan - Castillo San Cristobal - Roaming Owls

    While a little harder to find, you can hear the parrots around el Morro, usually in the mornings and in the afternoons. They are found in a concentrated flock of 5-7 birds and usually hang out in the area around the pink house, on the right side of the esplanade.

    5. Iguanas:

    green iguana photo – Free Calle del morro Image on Unsplash

    Iguanas have become an invasive species in Puerto Rico. The lack of natural predators has allowed this reptile's population to grow rapidly, to the point where there are genuine thoughts about giving it the title of "Apex". Iguanas take shelter in the old drainage system of the fort, giving them a safe place to reproduce. You can find them on the walls and the esplanade.

  • 31 May 2022 9:40 AM | Larisa Matias (Administrator)

    With the entrance improvements finished, all of the main projects are now done at the moment. As summer comes in, we'll be focusing on smaller projects as well as maintenance.

    Now that dry season is upon us, our tasks will consist mainly of de-weeding the turf, wall maintenance, watering the newer sod and picking up trash. 

    Other activities we'll be doing involve training in graffiti removal and sea grape  removal.

     I'll keep you posted as new activities pop up.

  • 20 May 2022 1:18 PM | Larisa Matias (Administrator)

    This week, our crews worked on the entrance to the fort! This was the first project we were tasked with designing when we started our term with Boricorps, and we finally got the chance to work on it.

    The areas designated for improvement were the fort's sign, the entrance trashcans, and the kite sign. These places had really heavy erosion going on, especially the sign and the trashcans because of the amount of traffic they receive.

    We managed to finish all three areas this week! We are very excited for people to enjoy these improvements made by our dedicated team.

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