UAE: Volunteers restore rain-damaged hiking trails, plant saplings to help farmers

When rains lashed the country last month, many tourist spots and adventure destinations were damaged, posing a risk for visitors

by

SM Ayaz Zakir

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Published: Sat 11 May 2024, 8:20 PM

Last updated: Sun 12 May 2024, 3:55 PM

Thirty-five volunteers from multiple nationalities volunteered for a cause this weekend – restoring nature trails and planting saplings in Masfoot, an exclave of Ajman.

When rains lashed the country last month, many tourist spots and adventure destinations were damaged, posing a risk for visitors. In response to recent extreme weather events, this diverse group of volunteers joined hands to restore the natural beauty of the region.


Armed with shovels, rakes, and brooms, the volunteers embarked on a mission to restore the nature trail to its former glory. They cleared debris and gravel step-by-step and restored nearly 300 metres of the trail which is ready to welcome visitors once again.

The event was organised by Emirates Nature-WWF. It was open-to-all and did not require any registration or entry fees. People were invited to join in on the charitable cause which would also benefit local farmers in Masfoot.


Altaf Habib, project manager at Emirates Nature-WWF said that the inclusive nature of the program welcomed volunteers of all backgrounds to contribute to the restoration efforts.

“Our project operates as a membership program. But with the recent focus on flood recovery efforts, it was open to the general public at no cost. Volunteers played a crucial role in clearing and restoring the trails, dedicating their time and effort to the rehabilitation of Masfoot's natural environment,” said Habib.

After clearing and restoring the trail, the volunteers, along with the organisers embarked on a hike to a local farm as a gesture of appreciation towards the farmers. Upon reaching the farm, the volunteers eagerly engaged in planting Arabian moringa saplings.

“The planting of moringa trees, in particular, holds promise for both short-term recovery and long-term sustainability, offering benefits such as moringa oil and honey production while supporting biodiversity,” said Habib.

Tejasvi Prakash, UAE youth ambassador for nature, who has been contributing for the last two years said that her impactful activities aimed at revitalizing Masfoot's environment will be remembered and cherished all her life. “With shovels in hand and determination in our hearts, we set out to rehabilitate the flood-damaged nature trail, ensuring its accessibility and preserving its beauty for future generations.”

“The key idea behind planting saplings is to provide farmers with an additional source of income. The moringa tree has a lot of benefits holds superfood status, and holds high medicinal properties. In two to three years, farmers will reap the rewards of this initiative. The Arabian moringa is naturally suited to the environment and will ensure a fruitful future for both farmers and the land,” added Prakash.

Lisa Kassem, a Canadian and first-time volunteer with Emirates Nature-WWF was encouraged by her friend to join the activity. She is a faculty member at a university in Sharjah. “I was encouraged by a friend to join this unique volunteering experience. It has been truly enlightening. Not only did we contribute to a worthy cause, but we also gained valuable insights into the history of this place through interactions with the local population,” said Kassem.

“It's more than just tourism, it's about making a meaningful impact. After this enriching experience, I am eager to participate in more activities and continue to be part of positive change in our community,” added Kassem.

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