The learning session was done in partnership with the Haribon Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources, Inc. The Haribon Foundation focuses on biodiversity conservation through community empowerment, scientific excellence, and socio-economic advocacy. Established in 1972, Haribon is considered the premier environmental organisation in the country.
The volunteers were taken to Buhay Punlaan in Lumban, Laguna to learn first-hand about the preparations that are done inside a nursery prior to a tree planting activity. Buhay Punlaan is the Haribon Foundation's nursery for Philippine native trees. Located near the Caliraya Watershed, the nursery was established by Haribon to help restore the rapidly dwindling rainforests of the country as part of their Rainforest Organisations and Advocates (ROAD) to 2020 Movement.
During the orientation, Raz Ripalda of Haribon and Buhay Punlaan explained that each mature tree could provide ample oxygen for three full-grown adults. However, with the dwindling size of the Philippines’ rainforest area, the supply of oxygen is becoming inadequate for the growing population and the sustainability of the ecosystem. He emphasised that it is everybody’s responsibility to help protect and restore the rainforests so that future generations could have a chance to experience what we have now.
Volunteers then went on with to collect wildlings – naturally germinated young plants – in a nearby patch of trees. The wildlings were then transported in soft bamboo shells and placed in seedling bags packed with a nutrient-rich mixture of soil and compost prepared by the volunteers beforehand. Some volunteers then went on to ‘brushing’ other tree patches which entailed removing the weeds around the young trees. Despite the heat of the day, the DKS volunteers cheerfully did their work with a lot of energy and enthusiasm.
Re-energised after a good lunch, some continued their work of collecting and transplanting more wildlings while others focused on potting or bagging, the task of packing soil into the seedling bags. The volunteers were able to produce hundreds of seedling bags, the future homes for wildlings.