Last weekend, volunteers from all over the country from Amigos de la Patagonia (Friends of Patagonia) Association, completed the second phase of replanting indigenous species in the native forest in Cholila. The forest was destroyed in 2015 by a fire that burned down more than 40,000 hectares (approximately 98,000 acres).
Pan American Energy (PAE) renewed its support for the initiative, which is part of the Regional Environment Supporters Program that the company has promoted since 2017 with the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development Control from the province of Chubut. Care for the environment is one of the four pillars that sustain PAE´s Corporate Social Responsibility approach, and this Program includes a series of Education for Sustainability initiatives in order to strengthen the network formed by the environment supporters.
In this vein, and as a continuation of the first phase, implemented in April 2018, the volunteers planted more than 6,000 native trees in the forest during the weekend. The Association´s Executive Director, Sebastián Homps, explained "the reforestation will follow the principles of ecological restoration; the objective is for the ecosystem to go back the way it was. We seek to restore the forest structure, its composition, and the diversity of species, taking the original ecosystem as a model."
Homps also noted that "alongside the reforestation initiative, we have developed the "Plant to Educate" program which – through reforestation - seeks to emphasize the values of care, solidarity, teamwork and a long- term sustainable vision."
These initiatives are part of the ReforestArg.org Program, which was created to restore the Andean-Patagonian Forest by planting one million native trees. The program includes two complementary actions: ecological restoration, which assists in the recovery of a native forest under adverse conditions that would make it impossible for recovery to occur naturally, and the organization of workshops which emphasize the need for environmental education when it comes to preserving natural resources and their relationship with the population's quality of life.
From PAE, Horacio Garcia, the leader of CSR for Golfo San Jorge, remarked, "The fact that we continue recovering forests that have been destroyed by fire and planting more than 6,000 trees is good news indeed. It is very important for the company to be part of initiatives such as ReforestArg.org because we understand that the public-private cooperation yields better results. We feel we are providing support to a highly valuable project."
García also noted, "We believe that is essential to support this type of awareness-raising activities so that both the neighbors and the environment supporters have the tools they need to implement and move forward with our proposals and can thus improve their communities and make them more sustainable."