Friday, January 24, 2014

Tree Planting is Fun

pix c/o Fredd Ochavo (UPM). Tree Planting
does work, you just have to believe ;)
 There’s no question that more trees means better biosphere. It absorbs/retains carbon (responsible for global warming), provides O2, many trees supports an eco-system and provides shelter/food for wildlife, inhibits landslide/flush floods among many other thousand things. So if you’re in doubt what ‘environmental activity’ to do, plant a tree! Many trees! Oh, just make sure that the tree is indigenous in your target place – lest you introduce an invasive/harmful flora. Simple tips here:

1. Make it fun! Some people have little interest in ‘just planting a seedling’. Add another fun activity near the area such as island hopping, hiking to a nearby mountain, swimming in a clean river somewhere, etc. If you’re not the organizer and your friends are not too keen, add your own activity flavour after/before the planting for your group. In Alaminos, we added hundred islands tour and beacheneering as part of the mangrove rehab program.

Volunteers crossing a Sapa (creek) in Ipo.
Such experience made tree-planting more fun
and memorable

2. Invite the kids. Your own kid, or nieces or nephews. They will love it. Most kids enjoy digging with a shovel (let them do that), or will enjoy nature (visit a ‘forest’ nearby, or river, etc.).

PG, HP and friends participated in Mangrove
tree-planting in Alaminos. we planted something
like 400 seedlings in 2hrs
3. Inspire them with success stories. Or inspire them with pictures! During the briefing, share good stories like - ‘The man who planted trees’ – although a fiction story, there are REAL similar stories around the world. Story-tell one of those, or get a local-story equivalent. Mt. Apo has a relatively good reforestation success (after a forest fire that decimated a huge part of the slope). Tarak in Bataan also have relatively good success, although I think the eucalyptus ‘forest’ there is a bit out of place. (Still, better than nothing)

Tree-planting somewhere in Tanay (with P&G's Eko club and
Indian Youth community)
 4. Make it social! Offer the activity as meet-new-friends opportunity. It’s not difficult to invite 20, 30 even 50 in major/ nearer tree-planting occasions. Organize a group lunch or other mingling opportunities.

5. Invite celebrities. Some potential participants are more easily lured if there’s a potential photo-op with someone they admire.

Tree nurturing in IPO watershed with Eko
Adventure club of P&G
 6. Make it challenging. I recall getting hundreds and hundreds of seedling in one IPO tree-planting – to challenge both my officemates and an outdoor group from a partner company (on how fast/good each group are). While we didn’t finish planting so many seedlings in one day (going up and down the mountain was exhausting for many) – the end-result was excellent. We planted hundreds of little plants in a hot sunny day, and got fulfilment from doing so. There will be other days for those seedlings that were left behind.

Nuvali tree-planting with Eko club

For mountaineers – every hiking trip is a good opportunity to plant a tree. So next time, pass by a local tree nursery and bring one or 2 seedlings up the mountain. In no time, our mountain playgrounds will look better - lush and healthy.

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