It was in March of this year that a disastrous fire raged through Doi Suthep National Park. It ate through grasses, shrubs, and bushes and devoured whole trees. The fire spread further and further, making its way to the Pongkrai Pine Tree Plot in Mon Jam, where it left nothing but scorched earth and ash. The Pongkrai Pine Tree Plot was like the scene of an apocalypse.

Our Class 6 made it their mission to change this state of affairs and reforest the destroyed forest. In the run-up to this mission, small trees were grown with much love and dedication in the CDSC tree nursery.

On 30 May, the time had come: our little trees were big and strong – the mission could begin. With the trees in our luggage, we drove through the winding mountain roads to the Ban Pong Krai Watershed Unit in Mae Rim. There we met 4 other schools that had joined the Young Forest Restorer program by the Forest Restoration Research Unit.

Before our mission could really start, our Administrative Manager Benita Janfrüchte presented a plaque to Dr. Steven Elliott – the FORRU Co-Founder and Research Director – and to Mr. Wannachai Rakmitre – the Chief of Watershed Management Center 4 – to show our gratitude for their support in this mission. Without FORRU and Watershed, this challenging mission would not be possible.

Equipped with gloves, knives and spades, we continued our journey to the Pongkrai Pine Tree Plot. And even though nature had already reclaimed some of the scorched earth, there was still a hint of ash in the air, a reminder of the devastating fire. After a short introduction to the correct planting of the trees by Dr. Steven Elliott, we went to work. Highly motivated and with a lot of enthusiasm, holes were dug, and trees were planted and fertilised. Everyone was very diligent. Our mission was to plant 500 trees and we all achieved this goal together.

Next school year we will return to maintain and monitor our CDSC forest. Hopefully, then nothing will remind us of the ravenous fire. We would like to thank FORRU for the excellent organisation of the day and look forward to further cooperation.

Mission completed!

Jayne Zönnchen