Why education is essential to the future of forests

Africa – “Batela zamba, tokobatela zamba, toloni nzete, tokobatela zamba” – let’s protect our forests and plant trees – sing 500 elementary school students in unison at the Public School of Lusambila, in rural Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

It is National Tree Day, an observance established in 1986 to commemorate the importance of trees for DRC’s economy, society and environment. A special day to remind all citizens that the country’s future is tied to the biodiversity and vitality of its forests.

This year, Lusambila’s students have unusual guests. The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) has organized a special celebration, as part of its environmental education program in DRC.  Through a dynamic three-day workshop, the children will learn to protect the forest and take care of the environment – a critical know-how for a community that lives right next to one of DRC’s most important forests, the Yangambi Biosphere Reserve.

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