The Roots and Shoots Forest Nurseries is a program started by the Cordillera Conservation Trust to help in the protection and reforestation of the Cordillera Mountains. In partnership with the Department of Education we train teachers, students, and communities in remote schools in the Cordillera to build and maintain Forest Nurseries in their respective schools as well as teach them how to collect seeds from surrounding forests ensuring the propagation of their local forest resources. As a value added benefit the nurseries also serve as learning laboratories for the students to learn more about their local forest resources, how to propagate, care for and protect their forests. The Roots and Shoots nurseries also provide an important value change in the students who learn to care for trees and forests from seed, to root, to shoot all the way to putting them into good earth and caring for them over a generation. It is a value chain for nature that starts with the young in these remote schools.

We designed the Roots and Shoots project so that the nurseries can be built mostly from local materials and are normally built in just one day by the students, teachers, and community. The involvement of the parents and community in the construction of the nurseries further enhances the local ownership and sustainability of each nursery, the schools being the centers of many remote communities are also the perfect conduits for character change and value formation for environmental protection. We chose the most remote schools in the region because these are the areas where the ecology and ecosystem is of prime importance, it is here where communities still directly rely on the environment for their daily needs and the destruction of which would not only mean the destruction of the ecosystem but of a lifeway and economy as well.

Since we started building Roots and Shoots Forest Nurseries in 2011 when we started with one nursery, we will now have over 107 nurseries all across the mountain region in the most remote schools commonly only accessed on foot.