Women farmers nurture new trees for Mt. Banahaw
By Nova Penaverde Regalario
Women members of the San Cristobal Farmers Association lead the management of tree nurseries for the restoration of forests in a protected area known as the Mount Banahaw-San Cristobal Protected Landscape (MCSCPL).
Through Haribon’s ROAD to 2020 movement, the association takes part in the rehabilitation of more than 42 hectares of depleted forest lands in San Pablo City, Laguna. Nestled between the provinces of Laguna and Quezon, the protected site covering almost 11,000 hectares is home to more than 300 species of trees and 90 species of birds, with some classified as endangered or rare.
On a typical day, the women members of the San Cristobal Farmers Association are seen working in agricultural farms in order to support their families’ basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing and education. Amidst the daily grind, however, these women farmers would set aside every Wednesday of the week at the nursery to mass propagate the native seedlings which will become the future forests of Mt. Banahaw.
Through collection of wildlings, bagging, potting, watering and constructing of growth chambers, these women nurture the trees being prepared for its permanent home at the Mt. Banahaw-San Cristobal Protected Landscape.
When asked about her experience devoting a week’s day for the environment, association member Virginia Cañon told environmental group Haribon Foundation, “It feels like a breather from our daily work in the fields as farmers. We enjoy what we do here a lot that we just get surprised how much work we’ve already accomplished at the end of the day.”
Cañon said that because they spend most of their weekdays planting vegetables, she and the other women farmers do not really get the chance to interact as much they do in the nursery. “When we are here, we get to share our life experiences from home and learn new agricultural practices from one another.”
“It is an empowering and meaningful activity. We know that it is our children who will benefit from what we do here,” Cañon told Haribon.
San Cristobal Farmers Association promotes the understanding of women as equal partners with their men counterparts and aims to cultivate a long-term cultural shift to recognize women’s roles in decision-making and actions towards the protection and promotion of biodiversity.
Haribon’s ROAD to 2020 project is an environmental conservation movement committed to bring back Philippine rainforests by engaging partners at all levels including local governments, non-government organizations, people’s organizations, private organizations, schools and individuals.
Haribon Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources, Inc. is a membership organization committed to nature conservation through community empowerment and scientific excellence. Hatched in 1972, it is the pioneer environmental organization in the Philippines. It’s natural and social scientists work with communities and people from all levels governance to promote biodiversity conservation.