‘Save Our Rainforest Race’ participants compete to plant as many trees as possible

  • Living
  • Friday, 13 Feb 2015

Shariffa Sabrina (centre), Amy (right) and a PEKA supporter holding tree saplings that will be used in the upcoming eco race.

Billed as a “race against time”, the SORR competition’s biggest triumph will be trying to save our depleting forests.

THE “Save Our Rainforest Race” (SORR) is billed as a “race against time” to save our depleting forests.

It will be held on March 28 at the Kuala Woh Recreation Forest near Tapah, Perak, and features a 10km nature walk, checkpoint challenges and tree planting.

Participants will have the opportunity to learn and appreciate nature through its enriching activities. Registrations are welcome.

The first SORR was held on March 2, 2013, at the Bukit Tinggi Forest Reserve near the famous Chamang waterfalls of Bentong. In collaboration with the Pahang Forestry Department, some 1,000 participants did a “race” to plant 500 tree saplings in a patch of degraded forest.

“The race was over a 5km route stretching from the Chamang waterfalls all the way to the top of a small denuded hill,” explained Hasbe Zuraiha, one of the organisers.

“Each team carried their own saplings while passing by five checkpoints that tested their knowledge about rainforests, had an activity in an Orang Asli settlement, or other eco challenges.”

Running for nature: PEKA President Shariffa Sabrina (back row, centre) with Save Our Rainforest Race organisers and supporters at the recent launch. Photo: FAIRUZ IZYANA AYUB

The second SORR in March 2014 was an eco race organised near Kuala Lumpur at the Sungai Besi forest reserve. Some 2,000 people did a 10km walk with checkpoint challenges that tested their environmental knowledge plus tree planting activities.

SORR is organised by PEKA Malaysia, an NGO known as Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam Malaysia. “Peka” means sensitive in the Malay language, and this approach is in line with its cause to ensure the protection and conservation of our natural environment for current and future generations.

With the recent environmental catastrophes that have hit Malaysia, like the East Coast floods and the Cameron Highlands landslides, PEKA feels the urgency more than ever, in spreading the objective of SORR which is to raise awareness on the importance of saving the rainforest.

“We feel that Malaysians are very supportive in the cause of protecting our environment in a sustainable way, and we as an environmental NGO feel that we should provide more platforms for Malaysians, to showcase our collective voices to the relevant authorities and parties to show our concerns,” remarked Puan Sri To’ Puan Datuk Shariffa Sabrina, president of PEKA.

The recent launch of SORR witnessed celebrities and icons from various backgrounds, such as Dato’ Tom Abang Saufi and Iman Lough (fashion), Amy Search and Nabila Huda (singer and actress), Keith Foo (actor), Hatta Dolmat (designer), Amanda Imani (singer), Imelda Harris (chef), Ujang (comic artist), Kharleez Jaaffar (cyclist) and Thanuja (Miss Malaysia 2010).

These and others, dubbed as Friends of SORR, pledged their participation in the eco event.

“I think it is great to have an eco event to look forward to annually,” said Hatta Dolmat during the launch. “Especially for the urbanised folks, SORR gives us a reason to get pumped up and excited to connect with nature.”

Registration for SORR 2015 is currently open. Interested individuals or groups must form a team of two. The participation fee is RM80 per person (or RM160 per team), which includes a race pack, a tree sapling for each team, and refreshments for breakfast and lunch. The closing date for registration is March 16, 2015. To register and for more information on SORR 2015, log on to pekama laysia.org or follow PEKA on facebook.com/pekamalaysia.

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