The HARI Ecovan Biodiversity on Wheels (BOW) journey ended 2014 with remarkable mileage. BOW drove through 12 schools and two communities as far as Bulacan, Laguna, and throughout Metro Manila, teaching biodiversity conservation to over 4,000 pre-school to grade school students through film showing, library activities, story-telling, and learning sessions.
Apart from this accomplishment, the BOW program gives recognition to the enthusiastic 116 volunteers who eagerly worked with children to implement various BOW activities offered in every school visit and community event. It is truly priceless to see the passion and dedication of the volunteers who took the time to tell a story, lead a coloring activity, make an origami, and teach biodiversity.
Volunteers hurdled losing their voices as they shared a story to students from Kinder to Grade 2 about Sierra, a diwata (fairy) living in the forest. She used to fill the forest with music played with her harp but the sweet sound is now fading in sorrow because of the destruction to her forest home. The different plants and animals living in the forest share Sierra’s sorrow as well.
Volunteers overcame their shyness while acting out forest creatures to encourage mimicking and active participation among the students. Towards the end of their storytelling, the volunteers showed their excitement about conservation actions that are being done to bring back music to Sierra’s harp again.
The volunteers patiently guided school children through the different activities the BOW’s mobile library offered such as coloring, origami, environmental-pledge writing, and borrowing of books. Their creativity were challenged as they taught children the steps on making origami fishes, birds, snakes and many more. Repeatedly, they read books out loud while students gathered around them to listen to stories about nature.
Informative discussions combined with activities focused on the different species found in the Philippines and why we need to protect them were provided to Grades 5 to 6 students. To drive home the message that they are part of biodiversity, the students were asked to draw their favorite animal or plant species during the learning session. As they were encouraged to help conserve biodiversity through a discussion on the principles of nature, students wrote their pledges on taking care of their favorite species.
As the HARI Ecovan BOW continues its journey, we are looking forward to planting more seeds of environmental awareness among children and youth in 2015. Thanks to partners who made this journey possible by sponsoring a BOW program in public schools and special communities. We also salute the volunteers who spent their time teaching biodiversity to these students.
Many hands have contributed to this achievement and the HARI Ecovan BOW hopes to see more partners and volunteers to keep its wheels rolling through its journey in 2015.