Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. Have you all heard of the reforestation project going on in Lebanon? The  National Forest Program is a plan designed by various NGOs and the Ministry of Agriculture to bring our forested land up to 20% from its current 13%. In numbers, this means adding two  million new trees each year. Fortunately, they aren’t at it alone.

A new NGO, the Lebanese Reforestation Initiative (LRI) was created for this purpose. Funded by USAID, the LRI started planting in five sites around the country in November. Armed with 120,000 seedlings that  include cedar,  pine, wild almond, juniper, fir and oak, this NGO is going to help reforest Lebanon. Most importantly, they plan to ensure that these plants survive once they have been planted,  which entails monitoring these seedlings for a minimum of three years.

Also, the LRI is working with local communities on a grassroots approach  to reforestation. Over the last year, in the run up to the launch of this  season’s first planting season, the NGO has been working with nine native tree  nurseries in Lebanon to help them modernize their methods and promote better  practices in terms of how seedlings are planted. As part of the LRI’s policy of engaging with the local community, the NGO is  aiming to hire 25 people in each of the five sites in which they are reforesting, be it as  full-time guards, part-time planters, or seasonal workers.

Aside from teaching new methods and employment, the LRI is also working with  local schools and communities to boost awareness of reforestation efforts, and  the benefits that forests provide. The NGO is also working to highlight the dangers  of forest fires. My fellow Lebanese, I think this group’s initiative is awesome.

However, the LRI has funding for only four years. After that it will become an independent entity. Hopefully by then it will be able to secure funding from private donors to survive and continue working to restore our once glorious forests. However, that depends on us. My fellow Lebanese, I ask that we all support the LRI in this initiative that will give us cleaner and healthier air, a more beautiful country, and more. This is the country we know and love and its up to us to protect it. Let us do it in any way we can, be it by fundraising, participating in such initiatives, spreading awareness, and more. Let us work together for the improvement of our nation. We can do it, Lebanon!!!