Preparation is the key. Our dynamic and exuberant lecturer, Dr. David Smith of the University of Essex always said, “practice, practice, and practice.”
This has become my mantra ever since our 2011 Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) Coral Reel Field Course, which I recently applied when I presented the results of my conservation work for the EDGE Coral Reef project in Burdeos at the 12th Philippine Association of Marine Scientists (PAMS) National Conference at the University of the Philippines (UP) in Tacloban City, Leyte in October 2013.
On the first day, I was able to chat with all my old friends, got to meet new ones while I waited in line for registration, and incidentally, had become a PAMS member. An opening program and short orientation followed in the day’s events.
During my spare time, I practiced my presentation and timed them accordingly. I was set to give my presentation on the third day of the conference, and when my name was called to present, it was all vanilla. As I answered the last question, I encouraged the audience to apply for the EDGE Fellowship.
On the second day, I attended other sessions that added value to my work in Haribon. It included increasing awareness in biodiversity conservation and effectiveness in establishing marine protected area.
These networks include: larval source and sinks, and remote sensing using geographic information system for habitat mapping, among others.
One of Haribon’s networks, the Marine Protected Area (MPA) and its Support Network (MSN) also had a meeting after dinner. Another meeting regarding a project development for a national coral reef assessment followed, with the project aptly funded by the Department of Science and Technology.
As I attended the presentation on increasing awareness in coastal communities, I realized that little things do matter—like as simple as requiring participants to bring their own eating utensils to reduce the use of plastics has a really big impact. Another presentation that I felt significant was having an accurate and precise data in order to transform it into a meaningful action—it is timely and can be understood by the community and the local government.