El árbol

Last updated: Apr 06, 2017

Botanical garden in the township El Limonal, Nicaragua



We started a new project: a botanical garden in the neighborhood adjacent to the citydump, El Limonal.

Foundation El Arbol bought land next to the primary school of El Limonal, a suburb of the city Chinandega.
On this land we currently are developing a botanical schoolgarden with organical agriculture, medical plants
and the biodiversity of Nicaragua.


 a botanical garden, what is it ?

This type of plantgardens originate from the 16th century. The oldest botanical garden is located in Pisa, Italy and in the Netherlands the oldest is situated in the city of Leiden, called Hortus Botanicus. These gardens are often associated with a university and have multiple purposes, in addition to scientific research it is being used for education, the use of plants (such as vegetables, spices etc.), protection of endangered plantspecies and trees and they also have an esthetical value.

Environmental conditions  in Chinandega

There is a lot to protect in Nicaragua. In this tropical country as much as 10% of the entire worldly biodiversity (flora and fauna species) can be found.
The environmental problems in Nicaragua have arisen partly because there is little environmental awareness at present among the locals. The youth can change this and therefore we specifically target schoolchildren.

Why El Limonal?

El Arbol has been working for more than 17 years on environmental protection; this is one of our three goals.
Deteriorating environmental conditions, particularly deforestation in the province of Chinandega caused major problems in the predominantly poor population. Tropical storms and heavy rains cause massive erosion.
The school cannot be reached properly by the childreb without jeopardizing their own live. Climate change induce droughts, reducing the yield from agriculture. It is causing more diseases include respiratory and diarrhea.

Practical environmental education

Previously El Arbol offered theoretical environmental education classes and a tree-nursery to the school. Now we create a educational botanical schoolgarden for the children, on a site adjacent to the schoolbuilding.

The three biology teachers can then offer the mandatory 60 hours of  ecological and practical education that is ordered by the Ministry execution.

There will also be signed an agreement which includes the UACH University in Chinandega so that students can practice in the botanical garden. We will also try to attract local tourists to the garden.

Cooperation, monitoring and maintenance

El Arbol collaborates with the school management, teachers, parents of students, pupils, but also with the village council.

The villagers and their representatives are very excited about this new project in their village. 497 m2 were received in donations from residents.


Products to be produced in the garden, such as fruits and vegetables will be donated to the school to combat malnutrition especially among the 385 elementary school students.



What will the garden look like?

The garden is laid out in an area with a dry-tropical climate. The garden size will occupy 2000 m2 (50x40m). The plants and trees will mainly consist of local species and focused on, among other ways of using plants, such as crops and wood. Also endangered plant species and endemic plant species will be represented.

These are the types that are scarce to rare, are overexploited and sometimes even threatened with extinction.

A vegetable garden will be developed, where organic farming lessons will be conducted . There will vegetations (pieces garden with examples of specific plant species compositions) are constructions that  contain medicinal and culinary herbs. The partnership between birds and insects and plant life will be explained.

Foundation El Arbol bought land next to the primary school of El Limonal, a suburb of the city Chinandega. On this land the foundation is currently developing a botanical schoolgarden with organical agriculture, medical plants and the biodiversity of Nicaragua.



El Arbol has received 8,000 euros from the Rabobank Share4More fund. 2,500 euros from Haella foundation and 500 of foundation Leo Bijl.
With this funding we started. We bought land and are building fences. But we need more funding.

We would like to develop teaching materials, construct an educational path in the garden and money is needed for maintenance.


Would you like to help us?


Support from the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, we visited several botanical gardens and received cooperation from the botanical gardens in Utrecht and the VU University Amsterdam. We are now a member of the BGCI (Botanical Garden Conservation International)

International profesional volunteers have responded to our ads on the BGCI website. Known biologist Ciska Feekes offered her knowledge for choosing plants and trees to be planted in the garden. Unfortunatley she passed away january 2017, she will be missed...


Will you help us as a volunteer ?

In the Netherlands we are looking for volunteers for publicity, fundraising, translation and other kind of administration work.
In Nicaragua we have internships in the city of Chinandega.

Helping with the setup/building/maintaining of this special botanical schoolgarden. Creating awareness and development of educational materials, design of an educational path etc. Development of garden furniture and awareness signs. Giving environmental lessons (secondary) schools and nurseries also among the possibilities.


Yyou can send money to our Dutch bankaccount:  (IBAN) NL09INGB0007787115, BIC-Code: INGBNL2A