Haribon teaches biodiversity at Ilolilo workshop

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Haribon Foundation’s Biodiversity on Wheels (BOW) program kicked off its activities in the Visayas last month with a workshop at Central Philippine University (CPU) in Iloilo City, part of its ongoing effort to teach kids outside of Metro Manila about the importance of protection and conservation of our country’s biodiversity.

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In partnership with a local university in Western Visayas, CPU formed a team of enthusiastic volunteers to teach elementary children about biodiversity conservation as part of a three-day BOW Facilitation Workshop.

222 CPU grade school pupils gathered under the acacia trees of the school grounds to take part in the different activities prepared by the CPU BOW Team using the HARI Eco-van, a vehicle with complete audio-visual system, library, a mini-exhibit on biodiversity, and other learning toolkits for children. The team is composed of selected CPU faculty, staff, and students led by its Outreach Director Levi de los Santos Jr. The pilot program was guided by workshop facilitators from Haribon, Arlie Jo Endonila and Czarina Constantino.

Grade 1 and 2 students participated in a locally-contextualized story that introduces the Big Five endemic species on Panay Island: the Visayan-Writhed Hornbill, the Rafflesia, the Panay Monitor Lizard, the Visayan Warty Pig, and the Visayan Spotted Deer, as well as other endangered Philippine species. The storytelling group used the large pictures they have drawn during the workshop to enhance the presentations.

Volunteers engaged Grades 3 and 4 pupils in “Find the Species” coloring activity and origami or paper folding as fun ways of learning about endangered species and how they can be protected and preserved.

The interactive learning activities for Grades 5 and 6 students made use of the multimedia equipment in the HARI Eco-van, including video and PowerPoint presentations on biodiversity, environment problems and solutions. Facilitators and students enjoyed the lively discussion and exchange of ideas.

The activity is done in line with CPU and Haribon’s agreement to collaborate in educating and mobilizing the community toward environmental protection by raising awareness on biodiversity and other environmental concerns.

The BOW implementation in the CPU Elementary School is the first of 50 targeted BOW activities in Panay during the one-year partnership between the two institutions.

Esther Rose Romarate and Vivienne Songcayawon, CPU

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