I mean I never planned to become a reserve forest defender but things happened. Long story short, in 2014 a bushfire in the area cleared the 2 acres of land behind my house and got close enough to burn parts of my roof. In an effort to pay it forward, I volunteer with the Fondes Amandes Community Reforestation Project clearing fire traces, doing river clean-ups and support tree planting efforts as part of the National Watershed Rehabilitation Programme.

This year, I got to use a weed wacker at the annual Gayap, where the community comes together to do dry season preparation. This is the first year I also made it to the top of the ridge and I must say it isn’t for the faint of heart as the trek to the summit took over 2hours with a rugged terrain and a steep incline. There was a substantial difference between hiking under the shade of the canopy as opposed to the sun beating down on cleared areas. We stopped at water catchment areas and ponds set up along the trail for charging the watershed and supporting new trees.

There was unforgiving razor grass, saturation of sweat, muscle fatigue never experienced before and lifetimes worth of memories in three days. It’s also pretty cool getting to say I am a reserve forest defender. It appeals to a part of me that wanted to join the defense force and run around in the bush like Tarzan.


– pack light

– hydrate

– stretch

– post trek river bath – an absolute must

Next year, I hope I get to use the chainsaw 🙂