AS the Haribon Foundation Biodiversity on Wheels (BOW) enter different elementary schools, people turn their heads to view the decorated white van. Students would point to the species painted and would try to name each of them.
They would even tap on the van and tell their friends about the animals being transported using the van. Adults, on the other hand, would welcome the van with inquisitiveness. Thinking about it, BOW likes the attention as it chooses to park in open grounds so it can showcase its library on one side and its multimedia center on the other. Minions, who are known as “BOW-sters,” would come out of the van to assemble the stage. Students were then invited to gather for an interactive discussion about biodiversity.
Biodiversity is not common to elementary students. They usually have blank looks when asked about this topic. It becomes such a relief when they understand the concept when being explained.
They start to become more interested as they view slides that feature flora and fauna of the world. Time flies with each slide and before you know it, each learning session seems like its always about to end.
There is an activity where each student would make a pledge for the environment. When this is conducted, it causes pensive stares and several giggles while environmental issues are addressed.
Interestingly, pledges are not solely for the environment. It cuts across animals, classmates, teachers, parents, relatives and even the entire mankind.
Some of the pledges include:
“Nangangako ako na hindi ko na sisipain ang aming aso [I promise I will not kick our dog anymore].”—Jhoana
“Di na ako mananakit ng pusa kahit ang pusa ay nangangalmot [I promise I will not hurt a cat even if it scratches me].”—Christian
“Hindi na ako lalayas sa bahay at magpapaalam ako sa tita ko [I won’t leave home without telling my aunt].”— Jaden
“Nangangako ako na tutulong na ako sa mga taong nangangailangan [I promise to help those in need].”—Anonymous
No one knows how kids creatively make their pledges for the environment. At a glance, these random, unrelated and mind-boggling vows for Mother Nature do not make sense. But one can always believe that these unpretentious thoughts are building blocks of hope for a better nature and future.
With their own simple personal advocacies, the students participate in the action song, “Heal the World”. One of my fondest sessions was when one student asked for the lyrics so she can memorize it. It is always a well spent learning session when students leave with high spirits as they continue to do the “Heal the World” hand gestures.
During the learning session’s conclusion, the BOW bids the school farewell. However, the BOW van’s journey has not ended, since there is always another school waiting.
The BOW has been made possible through the collaborative efforts of Haribon Foundation, Hyundai Asia Resources Inc. (HARI), Centro Manufacturing Corporation and Acer. It has now visited 17 schools and has taught Biodiversity to 1,910 students in Metro Manila.