UNO-R would bring the forests from the highlands of the mountains down to the lowlands of the cities and towns with its adoption of Urban Greening project.
Aimed to plant “not-just-any tree” but those that are “premium, rare, endemic,” and on the verge of extinction, the project was launched on September 7 at the Presidents’ Hall as part of the 2011 University Week celebration activities. The tree planting would be undertaken during the UNO-R@50 Golden Celebration on May 2012 inside its own campus.
Forester Reinero Medrano, manager of EDC Corporate Social Responsibility, explained the importance of these “high value but endangered native trees,” not only to Philippine biodiversity but also to the reduction of carbon dioxide that causes climate change.
UCDO Supervisor Mely Flores presented the concept paper of the Urban Greening, which she said is a movement to rescue, recover, and transform the UNO-R campus into a museum of Philippine heritage trees, and to enliven and promote the Tatak Recoletos’ thrust, Earth Stewardship.
Fifty trees symbolizing UNO-R’s 50 years of excellence, not only in terms of academic achievements but also in community development, from 1961 up to the present, would be planted. Likewise, since the fifty trees are to become mother trees, are slow growing and would take at least five decades to mature, they would also signify the university’s Continuing Journey towards the next 50 heritage-building years as Cradle of Excellence.
In his welcome address, VP-Religious Affairs and UNO-R@50 Chair Rev. Fr. Cornelio Moral described the launching program and the 3rd Environmental Stewardship Conference as life promoting activities. On the other hand, University Property Administrator and Greenheart Hermitage Founder Br. Jaazeal Jakosalem, OAR, in his closing remarks presented the effects of climate change and urged the participants to become active Earth Stewards.
A number of environment advocates came to witness and exchanged ideas during the occasion: PENRO Valentin Talabero and his staff, Bacolod City PIO Officer Rogelio Giganan and his staff, CENRO staff, BACIWA Engineering Department Manager Genelyn Gemora and her staff, USLS Balayan staff, Handumanan-RESOURCE staff, and Cynthia Laurente of AIDFI, the 2010 BCC World Challenge champion and 2011 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for its indigenous project hydraulic Ram Pump.
Also with CSR Manager Medrano were EDC Forester Roniño Gibe and Community Partner for Livelihood Program’s Jeramil Puracan.
Environmental conference speaker on EC0-Campus, USJR VP-Religious Affairs Rev. Fr. Manny Bolilia, OAR, was also present, along with members of the UNO-R community, especially the faculty members, student leaders, student writers, and the UCDO unit coordinators. Leading the UNORians were Fr. Moral, Br. Jakosalem, and CAS Dean Nieves Hibaler-Pepito.
Aside from being one of the UNO-R @50 event highlights, the project is also a tribute to REAP’s celebration of Recoletos Education Year, which is themed, Kindling the Heart and Empowering the Mind for Responsible Stewardship.
“Tree for the Future” is part of EDC’s Binhi Greening Legacy program whose goal, among others, is for the Filipino to develop the passion to preserve and protect the vanishing Philippine hardwood species. All the planted trees would be monitored and databank through GPS to generate a GIS geospatial satellite map.
With Urban Greening, the UNORians would go out to reach more school campuses in the other cities and towns of Negros Occidental.#msf