When I heard that Mindanao wanted to break the world record for the most number of trees of planted in an hour, I instantly got interested. Dubbed as “Treevolution: Greening MindaNOW,” the activity is organized by the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Office and aimed to gather volunteers in the six regions of Mindanao to plant over 4.6 million trees in a total of 9,200 hectares of land in different parts of Mindanao in just an hour. I got even happier when I found out that our town was chosen to be one of those areas.
I started reading and sharing every information I come across with on Facebook in order to inform my friends that there is such an ambitious goal but can possibly be achieved if many people will take part in it. I was just saddened by the fact that my school did not receive any formal communication that we are joining the Treevolution.
I couldn’t afford to be left out in this once-in-a-lifetime event. I decided to go even if I wasn’t fully aware of the local arrangements such as jump-off areas and assembly time. I did not even know the exact location.
Locally, information dissemination was not intensive. I only got information through Facebook posts. Even so, I woke up early on September 26 and drove my motorcycle to the location. It is a good thing that the organizers set up some signage showing the direction to the planting site.
When I arrived at Sitio Kapyawe, Barangay Alegria, Alabel, Sarangani Province, there were already many people there. I learned that the planters were organized by Barangay. I asked around for directions. Someone I know who is part of the organizing team suggested that I joined one Barangay because they only have very few people there. So I joined the team from Brgy. Datal Anggas. Even if I don’t know the people in the team, I just joined them.
Most of the people in the team did not really know what to do. We just waited for instructions from the organizers. They said that a signal will be given to indicate the start of the one-hour planting period. Stakes were already prepared but there were no holes. We were also instructed to retrieve the plastic bags of each seedling we planted because it will be the necessary in counting the number of trees we have planted.
To make things easier, we decided to organize ourselves into pairs. One will be assigned to dig holes, the other to plant the seedlings.
When the signal was given, we rushed to our respective areas and started planting. Our site was a steep slope so it was really hard. My partner was an elderly woman so she had a hard time catching up with me. It turned out that there were not enough seedlings for us. My partner and I were able to plant 24 trees in a span of about 30 mins. We could have planted more had there been more seedlings.
Yesterday, I heard on the news that the Treevolution has successfully surpassed India’s record by a whopping 3.3 million trees planted. Wow, that made me feel really proud to have been part of this feat — even if it meant coming to class an two hours late! I think that it was worth it.
It can be noted, too, however, that the organizers was not able to meet the number of trees it targeted to plant. It could have been attained had the local government involved the academe, who can even be more sincere in doing this endeavor. It really puzzled me. How could they leave out the youth in this worthy event? This could have been a win-win situation: they get more volunteers, the youth learn valuable lesson about taking care of the environment. Secondly, it seemed to me that the organizers did not prepare the number of seedlings enough to meet their target. I have known from some friends who volunteered in GenSan that there were more volunteers than seedlings.
Well, I am still happy that an effort as big as this has been initiated by a government agency. The challenge now is sustainability. I hope it wasn’t just a show but an event that has real impact in the preservation of our environment.