Nat Re seeds Sierra Madre Forest anew, adding community nursery & veg garden

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Thirty-five (35) active participants from the National Reinsurance Corporation of the Philippines (Nat Re), many of whom had planted with FEED on prior occasions, others new – arrived at the University of the Philippines Laguna Quezon Land Grant (UP LQLG) from 7 am onwards to experience several aspects of FEED’s Ridge to REEForestation work in the Sierra Madre mountain range, in collaboration with FEED’s fist and longest Living Legacy partner, UP Los Baños (UPLB), which manages the over 9,000 hectare protected forests at the LQLG.

“We are Seeding the Future” is Nat Re’s tagline, which indeed encapsulates their focus on the importance of nursery work (adding 100 new trees to the nursery), food and water security (500 seeds and cuttings to the vegetable garden), reforestation (500 native Philippine trees planted) and community uplifting and development (scholarship contribution to Kyle Cancinas, FEED’s latest scholar at UPLB focused on carbon sequestration capabilities in the LQLG.  Trees planted included:

  • Lanite -200, Malaruhat Pula -200, Malasantol – 50, Batikoling – 5, Igang – 15, and Malalansones – 30.

Facilitated by some members of the LQLG forest guard ground team who were not on patrol that day: Randy Velina, Freddie Chavez, Roger Glipo, Ariel Atip, Teotimo Argete, Renato Dagumboy, Teofilo Breganza, Dave Montecalvo, Shermae Canzana, Dante Rasay and Cecil Cuyo.

The group was introduced into the basics of community-based nursery propagation and bagging of native Philippine forest wildlings collected by the forest rangers, and then proceeded to the vegetable garden also prepared nearby, as a source of heirloom vegetable seeds also managed by the forest guards, to provide sustenance to FEED’s various partner barangays and communities surrounding the protected site.  Having been planted throughout the pandemic, the vegetable garden provides nutrition throughout the year as a perennial vegetable garden source for the rangers, their families, and other forest dwellers affected by the long distances required to head to the closest market in Siniloan.

The vegetable garden planted adopted native seeds and cuttings from the  Bio-Intensive Garden modalities espoused by the International Institute for Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), FEED’s major partner in tackling malnutrition and poverty alleviation in all Ridge to REEForestation sites. Some of the perennial crops included: kamote (sweet potato), talinum (native spinach), various beans, tomatoes, okras, eggplants, squash, patolla, saluyot, sigarillas, chaya and malungay (moringa).

After completing a quality control session including labeling the garden for the forest guardians to maintain, the volunteers proceeded to complete the planting of 500 Philippine forest trees including Bani, white lauan and kupang.