By: I Wayan Darsana and I Gede Sudarma
On 30th January, Pak I Nengah Tarug and Forest Ranger, Pak I Gede Artha Susila from Karangasem Forestry Department, donated 170 tree seedlings, comprising 100 avocados, 50 jackfruit and 20 banyan trees and the supporting outreach about the importance of youth to preserve the forest to EBPP Manikaji School’s junior and senior high students, OSIS (student council), and customary village leaders in the Bale Banjar (community hall) as the follow-up activity of the EMpower Photovoices Creative Project in 2022.
The EMpower Photovoices Project is an extra-curricular youth empowerment project, sponsored since 2015 by EMpower - The Emerging Markets Foundation, when, in 2022, the Manikaji students chose to try tree planting in an effort to restore the Mount Abang forest and hopefully address water scarcity in their village.
During the outreach, after the discussion session, the students and the government officials agreed on a commitment to be consistent in planting trees and protect the forest together. As the follow-up activity, the students will plant these tree seedlings on Saab Hill, below Mount Abang peak, on February 11th in the area of some existing small springs on these slopes. The Forestry Department also committed to give training to the students and the community on how to prepare and plant the tree seedlings and polybags when they are ready to start. They also suggested that our facilitators follow up in May to order more woody tree seedlings (banyan, gmelina and/or albesia) to be planted in November.
We are feeling grateful for the very positive feedback of the government officials towards the EBPP students’ effort. Hopefully, it could trigger other students and broader communities to preserve the forest together and improve the prospects of addressing the water scarcity in Manikaji. •