Rashaya, November 19, 2015 – Under the patronage of the Lebanese Armed Forces Commander General Jean Kahwagi and in commemoration of Independence day, the Lebanese Armed Forces Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) launched the “Campaign to Expand Lebanon’s Forests” in an event at the Rashaya Castle with the support of the Lebanon Reforestation Initiative (LRI), a program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the United States Forest Service (USFS). This event was attended by representatives from the Lebanese Armed Forces, the Governor, Qaemamqam, Head of Unions of Municipalities of the region, members from the municipalities of the Rachaya biocorridor, local associations, community members, and school students.
During the event, Colonel Youssef Mechref, Head of the Civil-Military Cooperation Department at LAF, discussed the various activities implemented in partnership with civil society throughout Lebanon. LAF is conducting with the civil society in different regions of Lebanon. Additionally, Dr. Maya Nehme, LRI’s Project Director gave a presentation on Rashaya’s biocorridor that links the previously reforested sites in the region to additional sites that need to be reforested.
In parallel, more than 150 Rachaya student volunteers started planting hundreds of native tree seedlings with the Army officers on the selected reforestation site.
During this one-week campaign, LAF officers will plant hand-in-hand with local workers and community members in 11 different communities across Lebanon including Bcharre, Tannourine, Kfardebiane, Rmadiyeh, El-Qlaiaa, Rashaya, Kfar Denis, Majdel Balhis, Kawkaba Abou Arab, Maqneh and Aanjar. Through this national awareness campaign, LRI intends to increase the public interest, ensure dissemination of outplanting best practices, and instill a national commitment to reforestation.