Haribon Foundation’s Biodiversity on Wheels (BOW), in partnership with AMS Asia (formerly Austriamicrosystems Philippines Inc.), recently headed to Barangay Tulo in Calamba, Laguna, to expose elementary students to the rich biodiversity of the Philippines.
The fun-filled BOW experience of students was organized by Haribon members, with the help and support of 10 AMS Asia volunteers. To capture the interest of such young students, there were activities such as storytelling, learning session, and film showing, and also a visit to the “Haring Ibon” library that is filled with books, magazines, and art works to cater curious minds.
Through the learning sessions conducted by the Haribon staff, students were exposed to the widely diverse Philippine biodiversity, the threats that the environment is currently facing, and the different ways of how the country’s ecosystem could be protected.
Students from various levels were made aware of the extraordinary wildlife that are endemic in the Philippines. Such bird species include the Bleeding Heart Pigeon, Philippine Eagle, and the Palawan Bird Wing. Other endemic creatures are the Philippine Mouse Deer, as well as the Philippine coral reefs and many others,
Students were also informed of the grave threats to the ecosystem, discussing to them important issues such as habitat loss and pollution, and with these, they were educated on best ways to prevent further damage by incorporating the “4 R’s”—reuse, recycle, reduce, and rethink.
After discussing the country’s biodiversity, the participants went through the highly creative and informative interactive storytelling. Students sat through and immersed themselves with the story of the life of Sierra and her Harp, titled Harpa ni Sierra.
Harpa ni Sierra is a story of the vast mountains ranges of Sierra Madre, with the harmonious music of wildlife that sounded vigorous, and enchanting. However, the story progressed as soon as the ranges withered in the hands of greedy men who wanted to “better their lives.”
As the story went on, these men continued to heave through the landscape and ravaged the homes of the animals, and they had heaved away chord after chord on Sierra’s harp. Harpa ni Sierra engages little kids in an interactive way to influence them on the values of keeping the ecosystem balanced while coexisting with the wildlife in their environment respecting nature and all that live in it.
Being aware of environment’s importance through Harpa ni Sierra, they are then showed a film, The Lorax, which depict how men’s greed could cause such devastating effects on both the animals and humans alike. With all the trees cut down, the air is polluted, thick, and musty with decay that led to the destruction of a balanced ecosystem. The Lorax is a family film that serves as a teaching tool for students to learn the consequences their actions toward the environment.
The BOW implementation is of great importance as students and volunteers are exposed to the Earth’s wonders, opening their minds with greater knowledge on the world’s environment, and how to better protect such rich biodiversity.
Even with little resources, many can be achieved in raising public awareness, especially of important issues on grave threats and how it can be prevented.
The BOW is already being implemented in Metro Manila, and is now slowly branching to different places harvesting great results.