by Pippin Barry – Australia
Today I went with the students from Santa Maria to plant some mangroves at the local estuary. We start at 8 am and have to bring the bamboo stilts with us. I meet the students at the bosom of the river and we divide up the mangroves to carry between us. It is an hour walk to the planting site and along the way we do observation of the local fish and shrimp farms.
The students sing songs and marches to keep motivated as they walk in the hot rising sun. Lots of them ask me “are we there yet?” more than once. Eventually we do arrive at the area and the students get to interview some men who are constructing a new hut. Some have brought along video cameras to make a small video interview.
I gather the students to start collecting the rubbish from the planting area. The rubbish has floated here from the river and has really piled up thick. You have to grab the plastic out of the mud and pick off any mud it brings up. We dig in and clean the area and soon we have space to plant new mangroves.
We’ve brought 150 mangroves to plant today. The mud is really easy to dig in and we use the bamboo stilts to create small holes. It doesn’t take long for the whole area to be transformed. We set the stilts and tie the small trees to them so they don’t get knocked down by the tide.
After a morning of hard work we head back to the buses to return to school and plan for Wednesday’s presentations. I hope the students really felt that they were helping the local environment today.