Mangrove Restoration Project

The day was long but felt short.

Early in the morning at roughly 6 AM, we had to wake up and instantly get ready to leave. We had a bus to catch, which would take us off to the Mangroves. My brother and I changed into our swim gear, and we waited for our friend to come (his mom was to drop him off at our place, then we would take him with us to the bus stop).

We had a fun drive to an old ADNOC 30 minutes away from where we were, where the bus was waiting. We all got on and saw some familiar faces. I greeted the rest of my friends, and soon after more and more people came on and the bus got ready to leave. The ride was a little over an hour long, which would normally be boring and tiring. However, we were all with our friends and people we knew, so it was an exciting drive full of joy.

We all got off and saw mostly barren sands, but a low-swampy-looking area, with what seemed to be thousands of sticks coming out of the ground.
We went towards a bunch of chairs and tables under a massive shade covering us from the beaming sun. There we were greeted by the staff working there, and they prepped us as to what we were going to do.

We were basically going to harvest a bunch of mangrove seeds, peel the ones that were ripe, and put them into a drone. This drone was a very big and powerful one, which would go out into the land and shoot those seeds into the ground. The seeds would eventually become fully-fledged mangroves.

After we were prepped, we went out towards a saltwater that separated us and the mangroves. Since there was saltwater running between us, we had to take a boat across. We all were given buckets per 2 people and set out walking all over the squishy and slippery land known as marine alluvium, saline soils. We found seeds all over, some were on the big mangrove trees and some had even fallen on the ground.

After harvesting, we took them back to the tables under the shade and put the ones that were ripe and ready out into the drone. Afterward, we finished up, had some snacks, swam, and played for a bit in the big saltwater before we had to get ready to leave. Once we were finally done, the bus took off with everyone happily chatting and playing.

ADNOC has a plan, that by 2030, they plant 10 million mangrove seeds all over Abu Dhabi.
They had organized this event to get communities together, learn and help them with their goal.
I’m really glad I was able to participate in this activity, because not only was it a lot of fun, but our hard work will definitely make an impact soon.

Muhammad Saaim Zia, Grade 9


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