Monday, October 15, 2007

Bantay Kalikasan (Save Mother Nature)

ABS-CBN's Bantay Kalikasan (Nature Watch) was launched as a response to the worsening state of the environment, especiall in Metro Manila. In its desire to provide a healthy environment for the development of children, the Foundation has focused on the revitalization of the 2,700 hectare, largely denuded La Mesa Watershed. La Mesa Reservoir provides filtration services for 1.5 million liters of drinking water for Manila's 3 million population.

La Mesa Watershed is composed of a variety of ecosystems and is home to many indigenous species of kingfishers, monkeys and wild pigs. In recent years, illegal logging, unauthorized agricultural conversion and squatting hastened the loss of the watershed's renowned diversity and, if left unchecked, would result in the loss of 85% of the watershed's forest cover.

Bantay Kalikasan recognizes that this process of degradation can be slowed down, stopped and partly reversed by the establishment of effective and appropriate management systems and controls. Bantay Kalikasan's vision seeks to promote and sustain La Mesa as a watershed of immense resource and educational value. Its overriding themes are conservation and education-interpretation.

A 24-hour foot patrol protects the young saplings as well as acts as a deterrent to illegal logging of mature trees.

An Eco Park that combines a natural recreational refuge with the educational purposes of an outdoor classroom is envisioned to bring the people back to La Mesa as it did in the old days. The following have been completed: Orchidariu, Butterfly Garden, Hanging Bridge, Picnic Area and Eco-Trails.

$5 ensures the planting and care of one tree for 5 years. With planting density pegged at 625 seedlings per hectare, a donation of $1,562.50 will support half a hectare of forest.

An Avian Centre, hands-on children's museum, biological laboratory and nature interpretation center are planned.

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