Haribon Foundation went to General Nakar, Quezon Province to raise awareness about the Preventing Extinctions Programme for the Philippine Eagle, (PEP-Philippine Eagle) which aims to promote forest bio diversity conservation. My sharing will be about the events on July 22, when we celebrated Environment Day at the General Nakar Central School. The basic theme of the celebration was about the importance of the environment, and how everyone has a role and can take part in its conservation. As a Haribon Member, I was lucky enough to get invited to come along, take part in the activities, and to share to everyone what went down.
The day started off with an opening program held in the school’s stadium. Students were gathered around and were standing directly under the hot midday sun, eager to hear about the Philippine Eagle and how they can make a difference. An introductory speech was given by the school principal about how important it is to save the environment.
There was also a special intermission number where Grade 3 students performed a dance number, complete with matching costumes inspired by nature, animals and plants. An interesting Tagalog song was playing in the background, and these basic lyrics were being repeated continuously: “Lahat tayo Magkaugnay!”, highlighting the theme of interconnectedness and that all our actions can effect change in the greater scheme of things.
The next part of the program was a skit by Ms. Mari Almeda of DENR PAWB entitled “Lipad Malaya Lipad!”, about a mother Haring Ibon and her new born baby eagle. The story starts off with the eagles roaming the forests, simply taking part in the circle of life. But due to man’s greed, animals were being killed and slaughtered irresponsibly to the point of extinction; in the story, hunters saw our innocent eagles high in the sky, and opened fire on them with their rifles. The mother eagle was unfortunately wounded and fell to the ground. Wanting to protect her mother, the baby eagle swept in to stay at her side, but the mother commanded the baby eagle to save herself and their species instead, crying out: “Lipad Malaya, Lipad!”. Mari was wearing a full sized Eagle costume and this spectacle was able to captivate the audience, and they laughed and cried along with the script, as they took in the valuable message of responsibility and care for nature.
A Learning Session followed, where I and my other co-members facilitated to over fifty Grade 5 students. An informative talk was first conducted by Haribon Membership Head Luke Imbong, showcasing the best of Philippine Biodiversity. He was proud in declaring that our country is a nation of “Mosts” or “Pinaka-”: largest Philippine Eagle, one of the world’s most biodiverse country, among many others; which hopefully instilled pride in the students.
The participants were then divided into 4 groups for the activity called “The Web of Life”. This involved a series of cards that contained different types of plants and animals, and strings which represented how they are all linked together. The students were interested in seeing that man’s actions have a huge effect to the overall chain, and they looked on helplessly as various strings were cut when species were brought to extinction.
These activities proved to be enriching experiences, as the children participated and volunteered eagerly. When asked what they considered was an environmental problem in their province; one child was quick in exclaiming, “Illegal Logging”. We made it a point to tell them about the different types of environmental problems, their negative effects to our Web of Life and what should be done to prevent these.
In the afternoon were a series of competitions such as coloring contests, Poster and Collage Making and Environmental Quiz Competition for the rest. The day went by quickly and ended with an awarding ceremony for the winners and a hearty dinner for us Haribon Members. It was a fulfilling experience to visit one of Haribon’s project sites and, hopefully, more people can join us in the next one.
If you want to support the projects of Haribon to save the Philippine environment and biodiversity as well as get to try it out for yourself, just visit their website and sign up to become a Member.