The DSD Program partnered with the WWF, Bantay Gubat and the Dumagat community inside the Ipo Watershed for a 1-day tree planting activity inside the Ipo watershed. A quick instruction on how to plant the seedlings was provided by Manny Cruz, head of the Bantay Gubat Program. The team, composed of DSD and DCD faculty and students as well as REDO and CSWCD admin personnel and assisted by Bantay Gubat volunteers, took a quick boat ride to a part of the watershed where they planted 400 narra and other hardwood seedlings. The DSD Program will visit the area after a few months since it is not simply a tree-planting activity but is part of a tree-nurturing program. After the tree planting activity and a shorter boat ride later, the team joined the members and leaders of the Dumagat women’s organization for a hearty feast of grilled tilapia and wild fern salad—the food were all locally-sourced! The salu-salo was followed by an orientation on WWF’s Forest for Water Project. Emphasis was made on the vital importance of ensuring the health of watersheds like Ipo which play an important part in promoting and safeguarding people’s wellbeing. The orientation, and the dialogue with the Bantay Gubat and Dumagat women that followed, also stressed on the crucial role of the Dumagat communities inside the watershed in the overall management of the forests in the area. The day was capped with a visit to the community and a refreshing trek to a waterfall!
Written by: Asst. Prof. Paul Edward N. Muego.