Citizen-science takes place at a national scale when people record native tree species in their neighborhoods; identifying them, taking photos of them, and sharing them on social media.
But why are native trees so important? Many reforestation projects indiscriminately use tree species based solely on their fast growth, appeal, or for other reasons. However native trees that are indigenous to a given area have higher rates of survival, and contribute to the ecological systems that forests provide.
Launched in September 15, 2015, the Tree Trek and Tag (3Ts) is a result of a partnership between Haribon and the Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation (PTFCF) which aims to raise awareness on urban biodiversity specifically on native trees.
The program has three components. First is the creation of tree maps in coordination with institutions having at least 10 native trees in their area, second is to conduct tree treks or nature walks featuring historical and basic identification of native trees, and third is the mobilization of the public to post pictures of native trees found in their cities by using #nativetreecity in social media.
To join a Tree Trek or organize your own with your organization, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Some participants took photos of trees they had known and grown to love over the years while others discovered tree species in their own “backyards” for the first time. Three institutions partnered with Haribon to act as tree trek sites: Cultural Center of the Philippines (Liwasang Kalikasan), Armed Forces of the Philippines (Camp Aguinaldo Grandstand) and the National Parks Development Committee (Kanlungan ng Sining in Luneta Park), , all of which bringing native tree science to more than 140 people from the general public.
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