Editor’s Note: Today’s dispatch was written by BFOH team members and iLEAD learners Isabella Evans & Adin Kuric.

The morning began with a wake-up call at 5 a.m., complete with a blaring rendition of reveille, that had us all disoriented for a while. Once the fog cleared, however, we were able to begin our journey with a simple breakfast and a long bus ride to Cabo Rojo, to meet up with Para la Naturaleza (For Nature), the preeminent eco-conservation group in Puerto Rico.

Our team was so excited to hear that we would be working in the same nature reserve where we had planted over 100 trees on last year’s mission. We were all a bit surprised at how much more vegetation had grown since we were last here. The naturalists guiding us informed us that our job today would be to conduct maintenance and care for those very same trees and the 1,000 others that have been planted there since. Our spirits were uplifted by tending to the trees that we had planted.

After a heat-ridden day of work, we drove to a beautiful, nearby beach here on the west side of the island. At the beach, Playa Buyé, we were able to relax among a large group of locals and their culture. We also played a rousing game of “Bosnia Ball.” Then, unexpectedly, we had an up-close and personal encounter with a group of iguanas. Unfortunately, one of the members of our group fell ill, dampening our afternoon a bit.

Exhausted from the day’s activities, we had a very quiet bus ride home until Gabriel, our bus driver, decided that we needed to stop for a sweet treat. With that pick-me-up, we were able to make it home and start on dinner. We were treated to an amazing meal and wrapped with evening reflection – the perfect way to end a perfect day.

BONUS: Check out this video from our day of tree care.