Freeland Foundation

Bangkok, Thailand. June 22nd, 2010

We spend Earth Day planting mangroves at the Khlong Pittayalongkorn School. With a small team of volunteers we give 350 saplings their place in the muddy waters south of Bangkok. The mangrove coast is home to a unique ecosystem that would perish if the trees disappeared.

Name:Freeland Foundation, Bangkok, Thailand
Aim:"Raising public awareness and building local capacity to protect critical ecosystems and the freedom of all living beings."
Since:August 2002

Earth's Day is the perfect opportunity to get engaged in environmental protection. Through a traveller's connection we know a staff member at the freeland foundation, who invites us to a mangrove planting event.
They have invested in 3,500 mangroves and the last batch of 400 is planted today.

The location is south of the crowded metropolis, where the only mud coast of Bangkok province is located. Mangroves are essential for the fragile ecosystem, not only to prevent the mud from being washed away and give free reign to the salty seawater, but also because they provide vital nutrients to many essential organisms and thus influence the entire biosphere.

The location is not easy to find; our taxi driver has to call three times. When we finally arrive we are very welcome and we can join the ongoing briefing. A bilingual staff member translates something for us in English. We have to hold the mangroves carefully at the stalk and remove the plastic bag by squeezing it. Putting the mangrove in the soft mud can be done using either your hands or your feet, in which case you would gently push them down with your toes.

We walk the planks until we reach the point where they are already putting in the sign "Earth Day 2010: Freeland Foundation". One by one, they glide into the water that permeates our clothes up to our chest, and crawl to where we are going to plant the saplings. At first, the little trees are handed over slowly and carefully, but soon we pass on bundles and give them a comfortable place in the mud. The actual planting doesn't take long, and we realize this couldn't be upscaled to industrial capacity by tomorrow. But then again, it is awareness creation that is just as important an aspect of this Earthday action.
We all take a shower and have lunch together. The point is that every volunteer sees and feels what she is contributing to, and has a good time too. This is indeed a very nice day out.

Back in Bangkok at the office we make a little donation and learn more about the Freeland foundation, that is doing good work in fighting both human and animal trafficking.

FREELAND is dedicated to making the world free of human slavery and wildlife trafficking by increasing law enforcement capacity, supporting vulnerable communities and raising awareness."

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