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The Grade 3 batch of HEDCen went to the river as part of their Science class under Teacher Mariel.  With the guidance of Sir Justin Duque and other TRCP staff, the children got a first-hand immersive experience on walking the HEDCen talk of becoming Better People for a Better Earth.

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The day began with a short talk by TRCP Coordinator, Mr. Henry Calilung.  More familiarly referred to by HEDCen students as Sir H, he gave instructions on the proper way of planting the trees and of why it is important to plant native trees in our forests.  From HEDCen, we proceeded to trek to the tree planting site.  A bee hive (known in Tagalog as pulot pukyutan) and madre cacao blooms greeted the class on the trail.  Sir H also showed the Grade 3 students a sapling of Sindora supa (locally known as supa) which was planted by volunteers of Hands On Manila last 2011.  The supa tree is valued for its durable timber and aromatic oil.  Unfortunately, extensive logging of this species has earned it a place in the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) Red List of endangered species.  What makes the supa doubly special is that it is found only in Luzon and Mindoro.

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The first activity was tree planting.  The Grade 3 students planted 35 ipil saplings.  Known to botanists as Intsia bijuga, ipil trees (not to be confused with the more common ipil-ipil) are another valuable timber species.  They very much deserve to be called by their English common name of Moluccan ironwood.  Used globally in heavy-duty construction (including railroad track supports!), ipil tree stands throughout Asia have been thoughtlessly cut down.  Very few natural stands remain and no sustainable ipil plantations have been established.  Apart from its timber, ipil also has extensive yet untapped medicinal properties.  The tree planting was also a meaningful bonding experience between parent and child (or guardian and child for some cases) as the following pictures attest.

The tree planting was followed by a short break.  The students had some fun frolicking round the water falls after eating their snacks.  The result?  Plenty of wet pants and wide grins!

The Grade 3 Science activity was concluded with a short river cleanup.  No, they did not pick up loads and loads of trash but just the same, the cleanup (and the entire day) was a success.  Why so?  This is because TRCP was once again able to bring children one step closer to their Mother Earth.

A note on the title of this post:

It is estimated that a fully grown tree produces oxygen for four people every day.  So if all 35 saplings achieve their full potential (in about 10 years), that’s enough oxygen for 140 people everyday!