The Youth Exploring Solutions (YES), an accredited non-for-profit, passionate, and voluntary grassroots youth-led development organization conducted an environmental field trip to Lake Piso Multiple Use Reserve in Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County.
The environmental field trip aimed to familiarize emerging environmentalists with Lake Piso Multiple Use Reserve and its importance to Liberia’s biodiversity and conservation initiatives.
It was also designed to broaden and enlighten the minds of young “Environmental Justice Ambassadors” to establish an environmentally aware culture in Liberia through voluntary grassroots youth-led initiatives that protect the environment and conserve biodiversity.
The Environmental Justice Ambassadors planted coconut trees, conducted coastal cleanup, and interacted with the Chief Park Warden of the Lake Piso Multiple Use managed and operated by the Forestry Development Authority.
Maxwell Nyounway, Chief Park Warden, welcomed the young Environmental Justice Ambassadors and explained the importance of Lake Piso to Liberia and the rest of our global village. Nyounway outlined that Lake Piso is the largest lake in Liberia and third protected area by law created by an act of the National Legislative on August 15, 2011.
He pointed out that Lake Piso is a conservation hotspot in the Upper Guinea Rainforest which is an important bird area and a RAMSAR site with acclaimed international and national interest for the richness of its biodiversity, its diverse ecosystems and its natural beauty.
He further revealed the pivotal role of Lake Piso in providing the much-needed habitats and ecosystems for five of the world’s seven tortoise species, spawning ground for fish, and an ideal site for migratory birds as well as other important types of animals and plants species.
The Chief Park Warden described the ecosystem of Lake Piso which includes a humid forest, wetlands and coastline, a brackish lake and mangroves, and dry land inclusive of extensive mixed savannah woodland on the lowland.
Nyounway who also served as a tour guide disclosed that people are living in the park but their activities are monitored and they are advised to adhere to laws and regulations governing the park. He said the park is divided into three administrative zones with administration, research and enforcement components.
The young Environmental Justice Ambassadors planted coconut trees in Sembehun, a place alongside the shoreline, where hundreds of coconut trees have already planted not for commercial purpose, but solely for local consumption.
According to Marian Tucker, National Program Coordinator of the Youth Exploring Solutions, who also held from Grand Cape Mount County, the Coconut trees were planted to buttress the efforts of locals in providing food, habitat for wildlife, coastline protection and sea erosion prevention as well as to help reduce carbon footprint from the atmosphere.
The Environmental Justice Ambassadors conducted coastal cleanup in Sembehun, where plastic pollution and abundant seaweed are visible.
18-year-old Gartee Jumah said the environmental field trip provided a unique opportunity to listen, learn, connect and interact with the Chief Park Warden of the Forestry Development Authority in understanding the importance of the Lake Piso Multiple Use Reserve.
“Today was the very first time I visited a natural reserve. I was so fascinated, amazed and elated of the beautiful landscape, stunning beaches, admiring lake with mangroves and the brilliance of Chief Park Warden Maxwell Nyounway in describing and explaining the importance of the Lake Piso Multiple Use Reserve.” Gartee added.
Gartee continues: “This environmental field trip has renewed my commitment as Environmental Justice Ambassador, reawakened my desire to protect the environment and conserve biodiversity, and rejuvenated my spirit to ensuring a greener, safer, healthier and cleaner environment for all.”
Precious Bryant could not hold back her high-digital table to capture this scenery of beauty. She told her fellow Environmental Justice Ambassadors to spread the news about the importance of the Lake Piso Multiple Use Reserve.
“We need share what we learned here today. As Environmental Justice Ambassadors, we must muster the courage and turn the tide from environmental degradation to environmental sustainability. It is our responsibility to hold our leaders accountable in making informed environmental decisions and advance environmental awareness and sustainable lifestyle though youth-led initiatives.” Precious stressed.
In the words of Nathaniel Greene, an Environmental Justice Ambassador studying Criminal Justice at the African Methodist Episcopal Zion University (AMEZ University), “No one can live without clean air, clean water, and a sustainable country, so I believe that greatest opportunities of tomorrow will come from solving some of the most critical and pressing environmental issues that have engulfed our country.”
“We cannot turn a blind eye on the many environmental problems our country is faced with; instead we must wakeup, standup, shakeup and roll up our sleeves making our communities livable, our water drinkable, our food consumable, our air breathable and our land fertile. Let us work to protect the environment and conserve biodiversity through research, education and utilizing the rule of law. The time is now, tomorrow will be too late”, Greene stated.
Conservation International – Liberia, one of the leading nonprofit environmental organizations working to build a healthier, more prosperous and more productive planet generously facilitated the environmental field visit to Lake Piso Multiple Use Reserve in Robertsport.
The Farmers Associated to Conserve the Environment (FACE), a local environmental consultancy and conservation organization also contributed the field visit.