May 21. The Goal of the program is to improve the solid waste management system within the Chi Phat CBET environment by increasing community awareness and participation towards waste reduction, recycling and a litter-free environment. Sophany set up his laptop and projector using solar power, as city power is out from 11am to 5pm. He showed a film clip of the dangers of plastic trash in Cambodia. Then I presented my recycling presentation. It was well received by the community.
When our presentations were completed, the villagers began discussing the plan. This sounded like yelling to me, but they had valid concerns and questions. Then Mr. Van Sophon, a member of the Commune Council, got up and announced to the community that it would be in everyone's interest if the ecotourism village were littter-free. I almost cried. It was that easy. He then thanked me for coming.
I led the community members in a fun and educational activity called Every Tree For Itself from the Project Learning Tree environmental education curriculum guide. Each member pretends they are a tree in a forest, and hence, cannot move their feet. Then they have to grab the limited natural resources of water, sun and nutrients (seen as colored chips) before their fellow trees do. There are not enough resources to support the human forest, which mimicks a natural forest.
The Community Based Ecotourism village of Chi Phat is comprised of a committee and members who hold positions in support of tourism and conservation efforts raising money for the village.
Chhay Kpos waterfalls, one of the stops along the trail.
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Della Barbato has been an informal environmental educator since 2006.