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IN PHOTOS – Project: Rehabilitate La Mesa Ecopark

Water and fresh air are essential to survival and when these resources are compromised, the results are devastating. The road to its recovery can be tough, but it’s not impossible. Last March 7, we joined Columbia Sportswear in one of its most important programs yet – Project: Rehabilitate La Mesa Ecopark.

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La Mesa Watershed is a 2700 hectare property supervised and controlled by Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS).

It is the primary source of drinking water of about 12 million Metro Manila residents, and with 2000 hectares of this property dedicated to woodland and wild life, it also serves as a carbon dioxide sink, providing the city with the fresh air it needs.

Unfortunately, due to lack of funds, illegal settling, poaching and logging, the La Mesa Watershed came into disrepair and ruin. In 1999, ABS-CBN Foundation, Inc. created Bantay Kalikasan (Nature Watch) and, in partnership with the MWSS, undertook the Save La Mesa Watershed Project. The project aimed to preserve and protect La Mesa Watershed. Eight years ago, 1500 of this important property needed reforestation. Today, only 158 hectares remain to be planted thanks to Bantay Kalikasan’s highly effective programs to involve the general public in rehabilitating the La Mesa Watershed.

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In 2004, the La Mesa Watershed has been renamed La Mesa Ecopark and was reopened for the general public. A part of this property was renovated to a public park to spread environmental awareness through education and advocacy. La Mesa Ecopark is the best venue for natural outdoor recreation, providing a true forest experience that families can enjoy together.  It is also a living classroom and laboratory for environmental education and aims to be a center for biodiversity conservation. In 2006, over 280 different schools from all over the country, some coming from as far as Laoag, Bohol and Cebu, trooped to La Mesa Ecopark for their educational school field trips.

While significant changes has been made in La Mesa Ecopark to transform it into the landmark it is today, there is still much to be done to ensure its sustainability in the years to come.

This is why we visited La Mesa Ecopark to help transform it little by little. Some of the activities included:

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Weeding and preparing the soil, as well as planting germinant

04Columbia @ La Mesa 10 Repainting playgrounds in need of a little TLC.

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As Columbia says: “It’s good to be tough. It’s better to be tough with a purpose.”