I managed to make my weekend productive this week by participating in mangrove replanting activity in Sg. Kerteh, yesterday. This activity is organized as one of the annual event of EcoCare program for 2011. For information, EcoCare is an initiative between Optimal (my workplace) and Malaysia Nature Society (MNS) to preserve mangrove in Sg. Kerteh, Terengganu. This time, around 20 volunteers consisted of Optimal staffs and local village folks of Kg. Gelugor had worked hand in hand to plant around 100 mangrove seedlings in an area at Sg. Kerteh.
Briefing session by MNS representative
All participants gathered at Kg. Gelugor jetty at 1430HRS and were briefed by MNS representatives about the activity. We were transported to the replanting site by two boats. Some of the participant including me went to the nursery located by the side of Kerteh River to collect the seedlings and brought it to the designated replanting site. Our mangrove seedlings of choice for that day were Bakau Minyak (Rhizophora apiculata).
Collecting the mature seedlings
From my experience, working in swampy area is very challenging. The soil is very soft that you will be submerged into the mud at knee level. Walking around the site to plant the seedlings was not easy. In the end, I ditched the rubber boots and walked bare foot. It is better that way and of course, covered in mud was inevitable.
The seedlings were planted 1 metre apart of each other to ensure successful growth. A hole is made using straight hoe about 1 foot deep. Since the soil is muddy and soft; and we had limited number of straight hoe (only three provided) some of us starting scouring the mud using our hands. And I’m not missing the fun too.
The activity ended at around 1600HRS. We cleaned ourselves and boots before leaving the site. It was a very satisfying moment for me seeing the seedlings filled the empty space of the site. I hope the seedlings will grow into adult mangrove and maintaining the ecosystem of swampy area in Kerteh River. We arrived at Kg. Gelugor Jetty on 1430HRS and were served with light refreshment before heading home.