Tree Planting Adventure with TRCRC
Monday, 9 July 2018
Written by Vivian Oh
For the purpose of our Post Raleigh Expedition Social Action Plan, we collaborated with Tropical Rainforest Conservation and Research Centre (TRCRC) on a tree planting program at the Tropical Rainforest Living Collection Banun (TRLC Banun) in Gerik, Perak, from 28th June to 30th June 2018.
This program is divided into two phases, the first phase being to kick start the tree planting activity at TRLC Banun where we will be opening a “Raleigh Plot”. Hence, for this phase, 5 venturers of Raleigh Borneo 18A, namely Iqmal, Jalil, Stella, Zakirah and Vivian were entrusted with the task of planting 30 trees consisting of 8 different kinds of rare and endangered species at the designated area in TRLC Banun. This designated area in which all 30 trees were planted is known as the “Raleigh Plot”. The second phase is intended to ensure the continuous collaboration between Raleigh Kuala Lumpur and TRCRC given that this “Raleigh Plot” will be maintained (with the possibility of expansion) by the members of Raleigh Kuala Lumpur in the years to come.
We owe our tremendous gratitude to Adam, the volunteer coordinator at TRCRC who worked tirelessly to make our collaboration a success. It is also worth noting that Adam wore many hats during the course of the program given that he was our coordinator, driver, tour guide as well as our trek guide. In addition, we were extremely grateful as we were fed with humongous information on plant species and trees related topics by Adam who is an expert in this field.
We left Kuala Lumpur in TRCRC’s Land Rover driven by Adam early in the morning on 28th June. It was a 3 hours journey on the highway, followed by an hour driving on a village road and last but not least a 50 minutes to an hour rather treacherous drive before we finally arrived at the destination. TRLC Banun is surrounded by electric fence due to an inherent risk of elephant attack. This also explains the reason why only limited number of visitors are allowed to access TRLC Banun.
We did not immediately start with tree planting on the first day of our arrival. Instead, we were brought to a number of attractions near TRLC Banun. Upon our arrival, we were driven to the viewpoint of Titiwangsa Range and were shown the astonishing view of the range. We then sat by the viewpoint where we had a great time listening to Adam’s sharing on the knowledge of plant species in Malaysia. We also had the opportunity of exploring elephants’ crossing site. We then went to the Waterfall to have a chilly shower. The first day ended with a delicious meal cooked by the staff at TRLC Banun. We were arranged to sleep in hammocks due to insufficient bedrooms at TRLC Banun. It is also worth mentioning that sleeping in the hammock was simply the best way to reminisce our 18 days of trek at the heart of Borneo.
From Left: Jalil, Zakirah, Iqmal, Stella, Vivian
We started to plant trees after our breakfast on the second day. We had to dig 30 2- feet holes at the designated area where the holes had to be 5 feet apart from each other. We then carried the compounds and the plants from the nursery up to the designated area after which we placed the plants into the respective holes. While it may sound easy to plant a tree, it was definitely not the case when we were assigned to plant 30 trees on a rather steep hill. Planting 30 trees in just a day simply would not be possible without everyone’s hard work. It took us approximately 5 to 6 hours to have all 30 trees planted. The second day ended with Adam bringing us to the 29th SEA Games tree planting site.
We went for a 2 hours jungle trekking on the third day before our departure to Kuala Lumpur. The view was breathtaking as we trekked through the jungle. In short, it was indeed a rewarding, eye-opening albeit short 3 day tree planting program. It is of great importance that throughout this program we have had the opportunity to learn to mitigate the effects of deforestation to ensure a sustainable future for the mankind. The second phase of the program will kick start in a timely manner and we look forward to forging a closer partnership with TRCRC following the success of the first phase.