Tree Planting at La Mesa Watershed

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(c) Jesson Manalastas

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is today. – Proverb

Having been raised in the province, I had the fortune of a childhood full of adventure in the fields, climbing trees, hunting bugs, and dipping in and out rivers. The thought of a future without those to promise the next generation is just too bleak.

AUGUST 2015 – One of the many reasons I joined our company’s nature club is because I get to volunteer in activities that will preserve the environment. I don’t believe in doing grandiose events to “make a difference” -extravagance leads to politics and I hate that word. Doing something as inconspicuous as planting 10 samplings and sincerely believing in your own simple advocacy can do wonders. That is why I was so excited when we learned about the tree planting and trekking tour at La Mesa Watershed Reservation in Lagro, Quezon City.

I have been to La Mesa twice before, but this is the first time I got to see beyond the tourist-friendly Eco Park, and into the man-made forest that is the heart of the nature reserve. We started the day with an orientation that discussed the history of La Mesa, the initiatives being done to rehabilitate the forest and to protect the “filtration plant that distributes water to 5 cities and 32 municipalities or about 12 million residents in Metro Manila”.

We took a 6km trek lead by one of their jolly and knowledgeable guides who provided us with anecdotes and information about how each tree in the forest was strategically planted according to its purpose in the reservation. Despite the humidity that day, all 43 attendees enjoyed the tour that culminates at the refreshing view of Bangkalan Rest Station.

Following the tour was the highlight of our trip: tree planting! It was a nice surprise that planting our trees does not exclusively mean getting a young tree and sticking it into the soil (sadly, it does mean that on past tree planting activities I have joined). Our group was given a chance to prepare the soil we are going to use and a “crash course” in cultivating small saplings into young trees. Those healthy young trees will then be transfered to their designated locations in the watershed.

Although I was a bit disappointed that we only participated in the planting of samplings in fertilized soil, it was still a learning experience. I just hope that the ones we planted grow into healthy trees that will help hold the soil and keep the water clean within the La Mesa Watershed. 🙂

Environmetal responsibility doesn’t have to be all serious, right? Because this time I also braved a chance to hold a live worm! I count that as a personal achievement. 😛

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(c) Jesson Manalastas

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