Today marks the kick-off of EcoCare 2011, an initiative between Optimal and Malaysia Nature Society (MNS). The event was held at EcoCare's proposed site for Mangrove Awareness Center by the riverside of Sg. Kerteh.
Optimal's CEO, Mr. Herman Shrijver had delivered his welcoming speech before Kemasik's ADUN officiates this year's EcoCare event. The VIPs had also released fishes into Sg. Kerteh as a symbolic of the commencement of this corporate service responsibility program.
There were three events organized for the EcoCare's volunteers namely fishing competition, planting mangrove seedlings and collecting mangrove's seeds at Sg. Kerteh. Our beloved CEO also took part in the fishing competition with the volunteers who are Optimal's staffs and the villagers from nearby villages.
I took part in collecting mangrove seeds nearby the nursery. About a boat load of volunteers joined this activity. We managed to collect a bagful of seeds that will be planted in polybags and let to grow in the nursery before they are mature enough to be planted at selected planting sites along the Kerteh river.
This conservation effort is not that easy. It is reported that the growth failure rate for mangrove seedlings is about 60 %. Hence, a huge capital is needed to sustain to the conservation effort and Optimal is really committed to preserving the biodiversity of swamps area in Kerteh. The causes of seedlings' growth failure are from the tide, bad weather and bad water quality. So, this replanting effort is a never-ending process to ensure this natural tsunami barrier will sustain the ecosystem and provide protection to the people who lives near to the sea.
At noon, the volunteers had their lunch and the fishes caught by the participants were weighed to find the winner. Price-giving ceremony for fishing and photography competition were presented and the anglers need to be satisfied with their heaviest catch of 200 grams fish to emerge as champion. After all, this event had been very successful and I am looking forward to join EcoCare 2011 events that have been planned throughout this year. :)