THE Hari Eco-Van drove to Nemesio I. Yabut Elementary School on June 26 with a very important agenda: to plant the seeds of a green future among school children.
The Biodiversity on Wheels (BOW) program is a project by Haribon Foundation that seeks to instill among children, especially while they are of formative ages, fundamental knowledge about various topics regarding conservation. BOW comprises of a one-day long event that involves story-telling, coloring activities, origami-making, and learning sessions.
Haribon’s main partner for BOW at Nemesio I. Yabut Elementary School was the banking company Australian and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ). ANZ encourages its employees to undertake a volunteer leave for good causes as part of its corporate social responsibility. ANZ volunteers were divided into teams and assigned activities to facilitate. One team was made in charge of the coloring activity and origami-making; whereas another was tasked with story-telling, an activity for the younger kids. Haribon member and volunteer, David, delivered lectures and engaged the older children in learning sessions.
The volunteers approached their tasks with vigor. The storytellers captured the undivided attention of the schoolchildren, introducing them to a variety of endemic species. Then followed an enthusiastic, interactive relay of the Sierra’s Harp (Harpa ni Sierra) story. Sierra’s harmonious music is fading to a halt as string after string of her instrument was hacked by humans. Upset, her melody of rage distressed the complex bionetwork. The story seeks to incorporate how important keeping the balance of the ecosystem is.
The origami-making team tirelessly demonstrated and instructed the schoolchildren on the methods of folding to make a paper whale. Children were made to showcase their work output from the coloring activity, wherein they were instructed to identify endemic species and color them upon command. The first to do so gets a Haribon biodiversity sticker as a prize.
The school, with a rough estimate of 1,600 children, was covered by the Biodiversity on Wheels team. It was a tiring but ultimately fulfilling feat. Some of the volunteers shared their cherished experiences. Ray, a volunteer and a senior officer at ANZ, was especially moved by a particular moment: the storytelling session with special education (SPED) children. “I had a wonderful time, especially telling stories to SPED children. I can relate to those kids as I have a four-year-old son myself as lively as they are. It was a challenge, I admit, but I was tasked to teach them the value of caring for the environment, so I just had to be creative and physically active,” he shared.
Joy, another volunteer, also voiced out her immense satisfaction as the BOW session came to a successful close: “When I found out about this project, especially that it concerns children specifically, I signed up immediately. I’m more of the nurturing type so it really fits me. It was an eye-opening experience, I got to interact with all sorts of people.” Joy is a recruiting assistant/resourcing consultant for ANZ. She was assigned to the origami-making team for this particular BOW event. When asked regarding her perceived impact of BOW on the children, she said: “It is very important. The formative years are crucial, what is instilled during this time influences the way they will later think and behave as adults.”
Conservation efforts do not end here. It is with hope that Haribon eyes a green future, a future begun by educating children on crucial environmental issues.
Haribon believes that education and empowering people so that they may wisely use and safeguard the resources they depend on is key to conserving these same resources. No matter how much you give, your donation to Haribon will make a real difference. Call 421-1209 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.