Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Planning a Tree Planting Activity

Magtanim ay di biro.  This famous local farmer's song about planting has a lot of truth in its lyrics.  Ang hirap magmentain ng donya-peg habang nakabilad sa araw ah!

Early June, I organized a tree planting activity in the office as part of our CSR initiatives.  The thought of planting Narra seedlings is quite appealing. And very noble.   But I overlooked the excruciating heat, the long trek, and the kakatusok na talahib.   Good thing we had our company nurse with us during the activity.  Anyway, for those planning to do their own tree planting activity, below are some tips on how I managed to do it.   

How to plan for a tree planting activity.  Lessons I've learned in our experience.

1.  You can plant anywhere.  As long as you own / has the right to plant on that site, go!  I initially thought you need a special site achochocho pa for this, I even consulted experts and lawyers just to make sure- as in ganong level.  I kept thinking if it's this easy to plant, how come only a few people do it, diba?

2. After identifying the planting site, coordinate with the local DENR (one that covers/ handles the area you will be using).  They can provide seedling options that matches the soil type & terrain of your site.  Also, they will brief you on the restrictions/ characteristics of certain seedlings, e.g. narra seedlings need 10m spacing because its roots can extend really wide as it grow, while fruit bearing trees can be planted closer.  Mahogany trees, on the other hand, demand more water etcetera..

3.  There are also a couple of options where to purchase your seedlings like from Manila Seedling Bank or directly from the local DENR.  Since we were already coordinating with DENR, we availed of the seedlings from them.  We offered to pick it up to defray cost.

4.  Registering the activity is just an option.  If you need a certification for your tree planting activity, coordinate with the local barangay (where you are the holding the activity).   Some activities need to be registered or authenticated  by the barangay chairperson and/or local DENR.   Invite these government officials to your event and do proper documentation - meaning take loads of pictures kahit na haggard lang ang peg mo. ;-)

5.  Enlist energetic volunteers.  Surprisingly, many of my office mates gamely signed in.  I'm not sure if it was because of the free t-shirt or a day out of the office... just kidding,  no they were genuinely excited to join kaya madaling dalhin yung grupo - masaya.  After all we've heard about the environment and these green initiatives, who wouldn't catch the green bug already?

6.  Secure and prepare the site.  Tree planting activity entails a lot of work.  Preparing the site is a huge task itself.  Planting holes with markers have been provided for us.  We are left to plant the seedlings itself.   It may sound easy, but the work we did for 2-3hours under the sun was still h-a-r-d work.  Tagaktak pawis pa din yun!  Good thing we wore comfy working clothes and did some stretching exercises to avoid cramps.

7.  Plant the right way   Our resource person taught us the proper way to plant so we can secure good mortality rate.  DO NOT REMOVE THE SEEDLING FROM THE PLANTING BAG.  Purge a hole at the bottom of the seedling bag - enough for the roots to be expose,  bury the whole thing and water it.  Nature will take its course after.  I've been told that a good time to plant is just before the rainy season.  The occasional rain softens the ground and prepares it to receive the seedlings.    If you plant during summer, you'll need a lot of water to do it.

Working hands w/ sugat :(

Now, what to wear and things to bring for the tree planting activity:
1.  Wear comfortable working clothes like white shirt, jeans, and washable rubber shoes.  I made a mistake of wearing flat crocs without socks that part of my skin was exposed to the sun & grass-blades, which made my it really itchy after.
2.  Wear sun protection like hats, sunblock, shades, and that tricycle drivers' arm cover.
3.  Bring first aid kit and your own special emergency medicines
4.  Bring water, change clothes and towel and toiletries (optional)
5.  Bring gardening gloves.  Surgical gloves (P7 a pair at Mercury) also served us well.

Make sure to create a fun working atmosphere especially when you're with volunteers... feed them with 2-piece Jolly Chicken Joy (unintentional plugging) and give little freebies if you can like souvenir t-shirts.  If you are doing this activity with minors, make sure you have their parents sign a waiver just in case something happens.  Survey the terrain, check the weather report, do proper orientation, plan for contingencies, and try to level everybody's expectations before the event to avoid any miscommunication and accidents.

If I'll be given a chance to do this again next year, it'll be really awesome.  I'm grateful to be given opportunities like this.  Changing the world, one tree at a time.  Naks!

Ohhthat! by Tin
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Thank you for sharing your "Ohh, that!" thought/s. :)