Toplang tree planting adds to worldwide network of Living Chapel gardens


Friends and partners of the Living Chapel recently engaged in their first ever worldwide planting event. The event encouraged the establishment of new Laudato Si’ gardens, the strengthening of existing gardens through planting new seedlings, and the enjoyment of these gardens.

The Laudato Si’ initiative is coordinated by senior forestry expert Alberto Del Lungo, who states, “In line with Pope Francis, the Laudato Si’ encyclical and the UN 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, the mission and message of the Living Chapel initiative are to sensitize and involve people, in countries around the world, through schools, NGOs, parishes, municipalities and governments to recover portions of degraded lands of different landscapes, inside and outside villages and cities, by planting Laudato Si’ gardens.”

Communities that agreed to establish a garden received a young tree from the Living Chapel, which they could use to start their own garden.

Friends of the Mountain Partnership in the village of Toplang in the Dhading District, Nepal, joined the worldwide movement by planting a variety of trees at a local primary school on 20 September. Restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic prohibited the community from engaging as fully as they would have under normal circumstances, but regardless they were able to have a small, socially-distanced gathering to plant 16 trees.

Eight local community members came together at the primary school, where they planted trees of eight varieties, including the Buddha Chitta, a species endemic to Nepal. Other varieties included the curry tree, the purple-flowered jacaranda tree, and others. A local tree nursery also donated two seedlings for the establishment of this new garden in Toplang.

Del Lungo created a guidebook on how to establish Laudato Si’ gardens. The guidebook emphasizes the communal nature of establishing a garden, an act that should involve as many people and institutions in a community as possible. The resource details 11 steps that should be carefully considered when establishing a new garden, such as choosing which species to plant and how to nurture the seedlings into trees.

News from Umesh Lama and the Living Chapel

Photo by Umesh Lama

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