SCOE-SBSG led Lukan Volunteers to Plant Trees
by Karren Tangonan
At least 55 trees were planted by ten volunteers from St. Luke’s Medical Center College of Medicine (SLMCCM) at Laguna Quezon Land Grant (LQLG), Sinoloan, Laguna, last October 20,2019.
Spearheaded by Hilerei dela Fuente of Class 2023, the tree planting activity is the first project of the Standing Committee on Environment of Sagip Bayan Student Bayan (SAGIP-SCOE) for the current school year. This is conducted in partnership with the Fostering Education and Environment for Development, Inc. (FEED, Inc.), a non-profit organization that advocates Philippine environmental and biodiversity protection through education and tree-planting or nurturing.
The volunteers explored around the headquarters and learned about its current activities. Formally greeting the volunteers was Reynaldo Lorida, a forest guardian, who has been serving the land grant for 22 years. On his welcoming speech, he shared some of his and his colleagues’ experiences as foresters.
“Ang trabaho talaga namin ay para palitan ung mga puno na pinuputol sa illegal cutting,” Mr. Lorida said. According to him, because of the inability of the government to provide alternative livelihood for loggers is the reason why illegal cutting, also known as “kaingin,” can’t be completely stopped.
The life of forest guard, according to Mr. Cuartero, is difficult. For a relatively low compensation, forest guards trek long hours through the southern mountain of Sierra Madre. Some of them will have to stay for two weeks in the mountains as part of their duty.
He also emphasized the important role of Sierra Madre in buffering the strength of typhoons. He said that to continue being safe within its protection, maintaining the trees is utmost.
After being oriented with the purpose of the organization, volunteers, guided by the foresters, trekked for fifteen minutes from headquarters to the planting site. Mr. Lorida then made a quick demonstration of how to properly plant the trees before the volunteers dispersed around the lot to plant at least five tree seedlings each.
Accordingly, the foresters will continue to nurture the trees, and monitor their growth. Dying trees will have to be replanted. They also encouraged the volunteers to come back after three months to see the fruits of their labor.
This event was one of the many tree-planting activities hosted by FEED, Inc, and one of the many that continue to reforest the LQLG. This 6765-hectare land is currently managed by University of the Philippines Los Baños. In return for its responsibility to maintain the land as a sustainable forest, the UPLB receives scholarship grants from FEED, Inc.
They said volunteers who wish do similar tree planting activity through FEED, Inc, or LGLQ, will have to pay a registration fee. This fee goes to the scholarship matching fund for agriculture, environment, forestry, fisheries, sustainability, and carbon offset researches. Volunteers may also customize their tree planting activity, particularly the planting site, the number of hours they want to trek, and the number of seedlings they wish to plant.
A standing committee unique to the SBSG of SLCM, SCOE continue to conduct projects to further involve Lukans in environmental concerns.