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Sustainable Forestry in Puerto Rico

Located at Las Casas de la Selva in the southern mountains adjacent to Puerto Rico's Carite State Forest, Tropic Ventures Sustainable Forestry & Rainforest Enrichment Project is dedicated to developing methods of using rainforest land in a manner that maintains the ecology of the rainforest. Registered in 1998 as a non-profit organization, Tropic Ventures Research & Education Foundation supports the sustainable forestry project in collaboration with the Earthwatch Institute.

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Amazing Diversity at Montoso Gardens

Maricao is Puerto Rico's top coffee growing region, with lush vegetation, spectacular birdlife and breathtaking scenery. It is in this paradisiac setting that visitors will find Montoso Gardens, located alongside the Maricao State Forest, at an altitude of 1500 feet on the southern slope of Pico Montoso Mountain. Originally developed by horticulturist Bryan Brunner in 1987 as a botanical garden, Montoso Gardens soon grew to include a tropical fruit and flower farm, as well as a nursery featuring more the six hundred species of exotic tropical fruits, flowers, nuts, spices and palms in a 90 acre area which is registered by the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources as an Auxiliary Forest of the Maricao State Forest. While working toward being 100 percent organic, Montoso Gardens implements principles of sustainable agriculture such as cover crops, mulching, inter-planting and the promotion of biodiversity.

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Puerto Rican Sculptor Tomás Batista

Visitors to Puerto Rico may take note that a number of the island's landmark monuments were created by award-winning Puerto Rican sculptor Tomás Batista. These include the Monumento al Jíbaro Puertorriqueño located in Barrio Lapa of the municipality of Salinas; the sculpture of Taíno Cacique Hayuya located in the town of Jayuya's Cultural Center; the sculpture of activist and author Julia de Burgos in the park named in her honor; and a statue of Rafael Hernándes at the municipal offices of Bayamón.

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Flora of Puerto Rico's Northeast Ecological Corridor

Designated as a protected Nature Reserve of Puerto Rico, the Northeast Ecological Corridor (NEC) is a spectacular untamed coastal region between Luquillo and Fajardo. Covering an area of more than 2,969 acres, the NEC features beaches, coral reefs, a lagoon, wetlands and forests which boast a variety of interesting flora and fauna, some of which are rare and endangered. Preservation of the biodiversity of the region has met with some resistance over the years from would-be developers, but thanks to the untiring efforts of conservationists, Governor Alejandro García- Padilla signed a law in 2013 declaring the NEC a nature reserve.

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Features

Birds of Puerto Rico: Puerto Rican Woodpecker

With its pitch-black body and bright orange-red throat and breast, the Puerto Rican woodpecker (Melanerpes portoricensis) is quite a familiar sight forests, mangroves, parks, gardens and coffee plantations on the main island of Puerto Rico. The characteristic rat-a-tat-tat sound of its beak on tree trunks announces its presence as it drills holes in search of prey, such as beetle larvae and ants. The Puerto Rican woodpecker is endemic to the archipelago of Puerto Rico and is the only member of the Picidae family of birds found on the island.

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Fun and Adventure at Carabalí Rainforest Park

Located in Luquillo, between the El Yunque National Forest and the Atlantic coastline, Carabalí Rainforest Park offers horseback riding, mountain biking, go-karting and ATV trails, all set in spectacular scenery. Horseback riding adventures take place along trails in the foothills of the renowned El Yunque National Forest where guests will have the opportunity to enjoy the diverse flora and fauna of one of the island's most popular attractions. The tour includes refreshments on the banks of the Mameyes Rivers, where riders can enjoy a swim in the river's crystal clear waters. Be sure to keep an eye out for Puerto Rico's much-loved mascot – the coquí.

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Upgrades at Luis Muñoz International Airport

Named in honor of the first elected-governor of Puerto Rico, the Luis Muñoz International Airport near San Juan serves around 8.5 million passengers every year. More than a dozen airlines have hubs at the airport, while thirty-one airlines feature the airport on their regularly scheduled routes. This busy airport is currently undergoing major renovations to keep up with passenger demand, and to ensure that security measures are up to international standards. It was recently announced that two terminals are scheduled to open in 2015, featuring retail stores, restaurants and high-tech baggage scanners, and it is anticipated that Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Spirit Airlines will move into the first renovated terminal by February.

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Going Organic in Santurce

Puerto Rico's tropical climate and fertile soil makes it possible to grow a wide variety of produce all year around, and yet the island reportedly imports more than 80 percent of its food. This is something the co-owner of El Departamento De La Comida (Department of Food), Tara Rodriguez, would like to see change, and she is leading by example with her organic food store in the neighborhood of Santurce, San Juan, where customers can enjoy fresh organic produce grown by local farmers.

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