Monday, June 18, 2012

PBSP’s refo caravan is not only tree planting

PBSP’s refo caravan is not only tree planting

“We don’t just plant trees; we let them grow.”

This is the headlining campaign of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) as it launched its 20th run of its annual Cebu Hillylands Reforestation Caravan, an environmental conservation event that engages corporate and individual volunteers to not only plant trees but also help ensure their growth.

The event, also in partnership with the Visayan Electric Company (Veco), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and KEEP Foundation, will kick off on June 23, 2012 at sitio Cantipla 2, barangay Tabunan, Cebu City.

It is set to run for 18 Saturdays until October 20, 2012.

PBSP is the largest corporate-led foundation in the country that leads the promotion and practice of corporate social responsibility.  Since 1991, it has organized annual reforestation caravans with help from companies and other agencies to encourage business sector involvement in restoring Cebu’s aquifers and recovering barren areas of the Cebu Hillylands, also known as the Central Cebu Protected Landscape.

The Cebu Hillylands is a 27,000-hectare lot composed of five watershed and protected areas that span Central Cebu. It is the major source of potable water for Metro Cebu as well as home to various endemic plant and animal species and subspecies.

Through its reforestation efforts, PBSP was able to plant 1 million native and endemic tree seedlings with help from 10,000 volunteers from 2010 to 2011, making it one of the biggest reforestation events of the country.

Aside from being one of the largest and friendliest tree-planting activities organized for volunteers, the event also ensures that every tree seedling planted will have 85% to 96% survival rate.  Every year following its tree planting activities, PBSP partners with community organizations in maintaining PBSP’s reforestation sites for this purpose.

For this year, however, PBSP will focus on reinforcing the participation of some 5,000 volunteers by not only planting seedlings but also by helping its partners in other maintenance activities.

For the next Saturdays following the kickoff , volunteers will also do strip brushing, ring weeding, replanting of damaged tree seedlings, application of vermicompost and staking on some of PBSP’s most recent reforestation plantations.

Kickoff with an academic twist
PBSP’s previous year’s kickoff had the largest delegation to date with 848 volunteers from 43 institutions. During its 2010 kickoff, it got 731 volunteers from 19 companies.

For this year, PBSP hopes to kick off the event with 800 volunteers from at least 20 companies and plant 15,000 seedlings in six hectares.

The kickoff is divided into various segments for volunteers to participate in: the tree planting proper and various breakout sessions that will follow after it.

Volunteers will are encouraged to take part in either of the two environmental education sessions—a mini-lecture on wildlife photography and bird watching by Godfrey Jakosalem, and an Envi Quiz Bowl organized by Lisa Paguntalan.

Both speakers are from the Philippine Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, Inc., a national non-government organization that promotes conservation of biodiversity in various regions of the country.

Pupils from barangay Tabunan are also invited during the kickoff for a read-along session organized with the Philippine Daily Inquirer to further teach them how to appreciate, conserve and protect the watersheds.

To date, more than 200 volunteers already pledged to join the kickoff on June 23. Assembly for the kickoff event will be at Asiatown IT Park of Cebu City from 6:30 to 7:30 AM.

PBSP is still inviting more volunteers to join the kickoff and the rest of the Saturdays for the caravan. Companies and individuals can also participate in PBSP’s efforts by adopting a hectare for reforestation or by bringing employee volunteers on any scheduled Saturday of the annual caravan.

For more information, interested companies and volunteers may contact Malu Largo of PBSP via telephone at (032) 232-5283 or 232-5270 or via email at mblargo@pbsp.org.ph or pbspvro@pbsp.org.ph.