On February 4th, a total of 88 people participated in the Pro-Forest Foundation's annual tree planting program in the Cerro Blanco Protected Forest. The twenty members of the foundation staff, including park guards, reforestation workers and administrative staff, were joined by 68 volunteers including 30 students from the Catholic University, 8 members of the Puerto Hondo Ecological Club, 5 interpretative guides from Cerro Blanco and 18 people from many walks of life that found out about the event through social networking.
During a four hour period, a total of 1,900 native trees were planted by the group in areas within Cerro Blanco that had previously been cut over before the protected forest was created in 1989. This forms a part of the 55,000 trees that are being planted in Cerro Blanco this year with the support of the World Land Trust.
The tree planting coincides with the winter rains, which provides a two month window of opportunity to take advantage of the rains to plant trees, since there are no on-site watering systems. This represents the fourth consecutive year that the Pro-Forest Foundation has invited the general public to participate in its tree planting program. Ecuador suffers one of the highest deforestation rates in the region and it is essential that Ecuadorians recognize the damage that has been and continues to be done through rampant and un-controlled deforestation that is destroying the countries' natural heritage. Through this event, the Pro-Forest Foundation seeks to create more awareness in the public and support for its conservation programs in the Cerro Blanco Protected Forest.