EDC, partners plant endangered endemic species on Earth Day

GEOTHERMAL energy leader Energy Development Corporation (EDC) celebrated Earth Day last weekend by planting about 100 premium endangered native trees in the Cuernos de Negros, where the so-called last remaining forest of Negros Oriental is located.

“The (EDC) team has been planning this and you know that we sit in the Mt. Talinis range. So as part of the Earth Day celebration, EDC personnel, mountaineers, and partners will go up, spend the night there, clean up and also plant trees,” said Jay Joel Soriano, head of EDC’s Negros Island Geothermal Business Unit (Nigbu), in an interview over the weekend.

On April 21, some 55 trekkers, including 10 mountain guides, started trekking up Mt. Talinis, also known as Cuernos de Negros, and spent the night camping at Lake Nailig in Valencia.

“We invited fellow mountaineers who trek not only as a hobby but also because they care for the environment to emphasize the importance of working together to preserve the remaining forests in Negros Island,” said Soriano.

The native trees that were planted were seedlings taken from the newly-inaugurated state-of-art automated nursery, the Vegetative Materials Recovery (VMR) facility, at EDC’s Southern Negros Geothermal Project (SNGP) in Ticala, Valencia town.

“The new VMR can host up to 40,000 seedlings at a time,” he said.

The nursery is host to about 70 of the 96 native tree species, which EDC labored, to rescue from different forests across the country to propagate and “save” the endangered species.

Norreen Bautista, head of EDC’s Community Partnerships, External Relations, and Watershed Management (Crew) group of SNGP, said each trekker/mountaineer planted two seedlings at the designated watershed area in Mt. Talinis.

The Earth Day celebration had for EDC’s partners the Provincial Government of Negros Oriental through the Provincial Tourism Office, the Provincial Culture and Arts, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, and the local government units of Valencia and Dauin.

The trek started in Nasulo, Barangay Puhagan in Valencia on April 21, traversing Panhilakan and then to Lake Nailig. Beginners exited through Nasulo while the advanced mountaineers exited through Lake Yagumyum to Bediao, Dauin town on April 22, Earth Day.

EDC’s weekend activities to celebrate Earth Day are “tribute to Mother Earth” and as “initiatives (that) are all a part of EDC’s commitment to power Negros and the rest of the country with pure renewable, uninterrupted geothermal energy 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Soriano.

“The preservation and care of trees are entrusted to us. Let us keep on contributing to our shared goal of making a greener, more climate-resilient Philippines,” he said. (PNA)

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