Magazine article American Forests

Monks and Kids Plant in Cambodia. (Clippings)

Magazine article American Forests

Monks and Kids Plant in Cambodia. (Clippings)

Article excerpt

As Cambodia rebuilds after decades of devastating warfare, a key task will be environmental restoration. As one part of that effort, AMERICAN FORESTS is helping with a tree-planting project that counts schoolchildren and Buddhist monks among its dedicated volunteers.

Using a Global ReLeaf grant, Mlup Baitong, a local nongovernmental organization, has coordinated the planting of thousands of seedlings over the last two years. Thirteen Buddhist pagodas, 17 schools, and several villages are now planting those trees in an attempt to restore a severely deforested area.

Amanda Bradley of Mlup Baitong says the monks have been very enthusiastic about the project. Trees provide an attractive area for meditation and give the monks practical benefits like fruit and shade. Tree-planting also draws on traditional beliefs.

"Buddhist monks are very interested in this activity because it fits with Buddhist teachings," Bradley says. "The Buddha was born in the forest, found enlightenment in the forest, and died in the forest under a Banyan tree."

Schoolchildren have played a major part in the project, which evolved from Mlup Baitong's environmental education programs. …

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