AT LEAST 989 Cebuanos from all walks of life gathered to plant 15,000 seedlings in the mountain barangay of Tabunan in Cebu City on Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020.
The event, led by the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Cebu and the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro), had 7,000 native narra and 8,000 guyabano trees planted in a government-owned lot close to the Central Cebu Protected Landscape.
Volunteers were also catered to three environmental talks held by three experts on Cebu’s terrestrial ecosystem, urban gardening, proper handling of tree seedlings and eco-friendly composting before the planting sessions started.
JCI Cebu president Marc Uykingtian, in a short speech, expressed his hope that the volunteers will bring everything they learned to their respective urban communities.
“Seeing so many of you, fellow young people, come here to volunteer and spend your weekend morning with us signifies that Cebu has a really bright and green future,” he said.
Botanist and environmentalist Val Salares, in his short talk with the volunteers, challenged the youth to plant more native trees like narra above all else.
“We have so many native and endemic trees that some of our towns in Cebu are named after them, yet when you go there, the locals no longer know what these trees are,” he told the volunteers.
Uykingtian said this is a manifestation of JCI Cebu’s support to the “Kakahuyan alang sa Kaugmaon” goal of the Cebu City Government, which aims to plant three million trees in three years.
“Our Cebu Communitrees program is not just an ordinary tree planting program. It’s a campaign for green awareness and environmental education that aims to gather people of all ages and walks of life and learn to be environment-conscious together,” he said.
Aside from JCI and Cenro, workers from other government and private organizations like Aznar Quarry, Oceanwide Maritime Services, Accenture, Cebu City Jail, Sta. Fe Beach Club, Yamaha Riders Cebu, Dash Engineering, Travelbee and What’s on Your Mind Designs also showed up to help.
Student leaders from University of San Carlos, University of San Jose-Recoletos, University of Cebu and Cebu Institute of Technology University also participated in the activity.
Uykingtian said JCI Cebu has now started to gather new seedlings and prepare for another environmental activity scheduled in July.
“We hope to have more volunteers by then, so we can spread the awareness in a wider and more effective way,” he said. (S)