VOLUNTEER DIARIES

An eye-opening lesson on native trees

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What is biodiversity? It has been a question that lingered ever since the first few teasers were posted in the S&P Global office in Silver City 2, Pasig. Every year, S&P Global chooses a foundation to sponsor for a project they call ‘Community Impact Month’ (CIM).

Haribon Foundation was one of the chosen institutions this year because the project leaders felt the need to increase awareness on matters concerning our home planet.

Biodiversity, by definition, is the variety of life in an ecosystem. A forum was held to
expound more about it where Haribon facilitators, Arlie Jo Endonila and Joseph Senga, provided a clear picture of the Philippines’ current state and what else can be done to save our forests. It was an eye-opener to most participants.

n S&P Global volunteers who joined their company’s Community Impact Month celebration

n S&P Global volunteers who joined their company’s Community Impact Month celebration

“It was very informative! From our endangered species to the hazards of having too many exotic trees, they covered what I needed to know about [the current state of]the
Philippines!” said Mildred Co, one of the organizers of the event. The forum tackled statistical information of what’s left with our forests as years go by and directly related it to the preservation of species that inhabit these forests.


This event was followed through with another insightful and more hands-on activity called Tree, Trek, and Tag (3Ts). Haribon guided around 40 employees of S&P Global to La Mesa Eco Park to walk along the forest and talk about the native trees and their prime role in preserving the Philippine ecosystem. “It was a rare learning experience for me. It was enlightening and made me concerned with nature even more,” said Gina Si, head of the CIM team.

We were divided into two groups with Haribon Forester, Raz Ripalda and Philippine Native Plants Conservation Society, Inc. (PNPCSI) Forester Anthony Arbias as our facilitators and guide in identifying the trees.

We learned interesting stories and information on more than 10 species of native trees. To the participants’ surprise, about 80-percent of the ecopark was actually filled with exotic trees. Most people would think that there’s nothing wrong with that. But with a little knowledge about its correlation to the forest’s natural inhabitants, you would understand how it could be a threat to our forests.

Exotic trees are not good habitats for local biodiversity. For example, birds will not nest in mahogany trees, nor will they eat mahogany fruits and seeds.

As a responsible citizen, what can we do? First, we should continue spreading the word and educate as much people as we can. Knowledge on proper forest conservation is limited to only a few. If it wasn’t for Haribon Foundation, the employees of S&P wouldn’t even know about these threats to our ecosystem. Second is to drive the public to take action. Plant more native trees!

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Haribon’s 3T’s (Tree, Trek and Tag) Project, in partnership with Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation (PTFCF), aims to popularize our native trees and highlight its importance in maintaining ecological in the Philippine forests.

Act. Make an Impact. Promote and support native trees through Haribon’s 3T’s, Adopt-A-Seedling (AAS) and tree planting activities. You may call 421-1209 and/or email constituency@haribon.org.ph to join today! Post photos of native trees in cities in social media with #nativetreecity.

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