Welcome to Pacha Quindi´s Nature Refuge and Habitat Restoration Project in NW Ecuador
Pacha Quindi, which means Hummingbird Place in the native language of Quichua, for nearly two decades has been dedicated to protecting and preserving the natural habitat of the Andean cloud forest in NW Ecuador. This being one of the most biologically diverse habitats on the planet, Pacha Quindi understands the need not only to protect and preserve the Andean cloud forest, but also to educate both local residents and visiting tourists of the of the importance to do so. Having established a Nature Refuge in this area Pacha Quindi is able to allow others to experience for themselves the natural beauty and wonder of this very unique and biologically diverse environment.
Pacha Quindi Nature Refuge and Habitat Restoration Project is dedicated to the preservation and protection of existing areas of original cloud forest habitat and wildlife, as well as restoring degraded and disturbed areas to allow for the recolonization of the original cloud forest flora and fauna, by means of land purchases, education, research, and active service.
Pacha Quindi Nature Refuge originated from the minds and hearts of two environmentally aware and concerned individuals, Tony Nunnery and Barbara Bolz. It arose from their desire to have a positive influence on the planet through the conservation of natural habitats. Their wish to personally contribute to the restoration of degraded areas of the environment influenced them to buy land in the Tandayapa Valley of NW Ecuador. It was here nearly two decades ago that they began with their own savings and physical labor to create what today has become Pacha Quindi Nature Refuge and Habitat Restoration Project, together with the Pacha Quindi Hummingbird Garden.
The realization of their dream to create a Nature Refuge and Habitat Restoration Project began after buying approximately 30 hectares of property which included about 25 hectares of Cloud Forest and 5 hectares of deforested land used for cattle. They designed and built their house, which has no electricity to maintain a minimal environmental footprint, in the middle of the cow pasture. Once the house was complete they began to focus their attention on reforesting the area around the house. This was no easy feat as they had no reference on how to achieve their aspiration to recreate the Cloud Forest Habitat that once existed where there was now a cow pasture. With very limited resources they set about the long and arduous task of Habitat Restoration. Through much trial and error they began to piece together the knowledge needed to achieve such an undertaking. Carefully observing and studying the local species of plants and trees they started to understand what it takes to recreate an Andean Cloud Forest Habitat. The first step of removing the nonnative African grass introduced for cattle production became too much for them both, so they chose to hire local labor for this task. This in turn became very expensive. Then Tony and Barbara noticed the exceptional diversity of hummingbirds visiting the native flowers they were planting and decided to create a Hummingbird Garden. It even came to the attention of the workers who began calling their place “Pacha Quindi” which means “Hummingbird Place” in the native language of Quichua. They were encouraged to charge an entrance fee to the garden to assist in the wages for the workers, but it was not enough. Victor Emmanuel came to the rescue after acknowledging their achievements and struggles. He gave Tony a job guiding for Victor Emmanuel Nature Tours. This brought in much needed income and allowed Tony and Barbara to continue with their Habitat Restoration Project.
More people began to visit Pacha Quindi and recognize their intentions, efforts and accomplishments. However at the same time their neighbors were cutting down their forest to create more cow pastures. It was at this time certain individuals gave donations to support the Pacha Quindi project and acquire over 50 hectares of neighboring land for conservation. This allowed Tony and Barbara to administer and direct the habitat restoration of another 20 hectares. During this time they perfected their restoration methods which included removing the nonnative grass by the roots, creating compost, selecting the pioneer plant species to be transplanted, creating the first growth in the process by which pioneer plants eventually give way to climax plants, and when the first growth is established, selecting and planting an understory so that the succession of restoration is greatly enhanced.
Since then more generous people have contributed financially to the project which has greatly aided in the continuation of their conservation and restoration efforts. Tony and Barbara could never have accomplished all that they have done without these charitable donations. In addition Bird Tour organizations like VENT, WINGS, FEILD GUIDES, AVIAN JOURNEYS, BIRD ECUADOR, ANDEAN BIRDING, SWORD-BILLED EXPEDITIONS, and COSTA RICAN GATEWAY among others have recognized that their place is more than just a birding destination and brought their clients to experience all that Pacha Quindi has to offer. The British Broadcasting Corporation noticed the exceptional opportunity to film and supported them by visiting on two separate occasions. They also stayed in the self-catering cabin and spent many days filming the hummingbirds, which is to be part of a BBC series. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation noticed the special situation they have created and did an interview about their project which aired on the ABC.
For nearly two decades now people visiting Pacha Quindi have benefited from Tony and Barbara’s labor of love. The well designed Hummingbird Garden layout invites them to stroll the garden trails while enjoying spectacular cloud forest mountain views from various lookout points. The diversity of native flowering plants in the garden have attracted more than 40 species of hummingbirds. The many native fruiting trees attract various exotic tropical species such as Toucans, Quetzals, Barbets, Trogons, and Tanagers. Wild Orchids abound along the garden trails amid various other tropical plants. All the more amazing when you realize this was once a clear-cut cow pasture. In addition there is the Nature Refuge where over 7 kilometers of forest trails have been carefully planned to allow easy access to this most magnificent and fascinating Cloud Forest Habitat. The forest trails meander past spectacular forest streams and waterfalls. Strategically placed benches provide excellent and comfortable places to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Furthermore the Nature Refuge gives protection to many mammals such as Spectacled Bear, Puma, Red-brocket Deer, Tayra, Andean Coati, Hoffman’s Two-toed Sloth, Kinkajou, and Olinguito a newly discovered species. The desire of Pacha Quindi is to give every visitor a truly unique and rewarding experience.
That which once was just a dream that Tony and Barbara had, has now become a realization. From the hearts and minds of these two environmentally aware and concerned individuals, together with a great deal of hard work, has gradually evolved the Pacha Quindi Nature Refuge and Habitat Restoration Project, plus the Pacha Quindi Hummingbird Garden. Now the continuation of the dream is that they are able to carry on making a positive influence on this planet and sharing that dream with others.