OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

World Environment Day

On June 12, 2011 in Goba, Ethiopia, the Bale Beauty Nature Club (BBNC) hosted a World Environment Day celebration with the help of environmental Peace Corps volunteers, including OSU’s own Ramona Arechiga (College of Forestry).  This celebration was the first of its kind in Goba and included a variety of activities from a community tree planting to an art exhibit featuring some of the region’s most environmentally active artists.  World Environment Day celebrations were held world-wide with Forests: Nature at your Service as its theme on June 5th.

Arechiga was integral in the implementation of the community tree planting portion of the celebration. The BBNC donated 800 seedlings from their nursery to be planted in the athletic stadium in Goba for the event.  The celebration was attended by approximately three hundred community members who all took part in the tree planting.  Arechiga led the tree planting efforts, kicking off the activity with a “proper tree planting techniques” demonstration before the attendees were encouraged to go out and plant trees with their friends and family.  Two native tree species, Hagenia abyssinica and Juniperus procera, were planted within the stadium complex.  These trees will go a long way to encourage and familiarize the community members about the importance of replanting trees within their community as well as the necessity of planting native trees wherever appropriate.

The Bale Beauty Nature Club is just one of Peace Corps Environment Program partners.  The BBNC was founded in 2003 by five individuals from Goba dedicated to environmental awareness.  Inspired by the work throughout the world to address deforestation, soil erosion, wildlife extirpation and extinction, they founded the BBNC with the help of the nongovernmental organization FARM Africa in order to address these and other environmental issues facing Goba and its surrounding communities.  Goba is the former capitol of the Oromia region and is nestled adjacent to Bale Mountains National Park.  To date the BBNC has established the first environmentally-focused library in the area and worked to set aside a small reserve in Goba for native flora and fauna.  The BBNC is also very proud of its nursery and tree planting program, which provide environmentally appropriate trees and shrubs for the Goba community to plant within family compounds.

Ramona is the College of Forestry’s first Peace Corps Master’s International student and completed her first year of coursework at OSU with advisor John Bailey.  She is currently in Ethiopia in the middle of her 27-month Peace Corps assignment, and will return to OSU to complete her degree program