As a new intern in Haribon Foundation, one of my first tasks was to help training specialist Cza Constantino with the Biodiversity on Wheels (BOW) program. I was already told about the project when I was just applying for internship, and I was thrilled with the idea that I’d get to talk to children about wildlife and biodiversity, something I enjoyed reading about as a kid.
Being naturally fond of kids, my enthusiasm to join the program even intensified as Cza gave me a presentation to study. This equipped me to have enough knowledge on the topic.
The venue was East Rembo Elementary School. It was a quaint school with lush greenery, and the faculty was glad to have us. Cza had to orient and guide the volunteers with the room-to-room storytelling, but one class arrived already and I had to start without the others.
Fortunately, the kids were participative and rowdy with excitement, which I saw as something very positive even if they were occasionally hard to control. They were very amused with the activities and interesting facts we supplied about the different endemic species in the Philippines, such as the eternally loyal Philippine Eagle, and the gender bending Mameng or humphead wrasse. Then, I saw Cza work her magic as the kids laughed and cheered during the learning session. I felt that the project was in really good hands.
When it was my turn to present, I was struggling a little with communicating with them, and I would sometimes still use technical jargons. My mentor gave me constructive feedback and gave me tips on how to connect with the audience better. She made sure everything was going well, and was able to manage me, the kids, and the volunteers all at once. The volunteers were few but very helpful. We were undermanned, so we had to work in tandem to be more efficient. My peers looked like they enjoyed a lot and even wanted to volunteer again!
The kids had so much fun with the activities and presentations, they even wanted us to wait until their class was done so they could come back to learn more. A few times we bumped into several of them outside the school, and the children remembered our names! It was very flattering and I felt like we really reached through these kids. It was a beautiful thing, seeing them genuinely interested in biodiversity and eager to learn more about it. I think the project turned out to be a success. It was a very tiring day at work, but a really fun and fulfilling one too. I hope to continue being part of Haribon Foundation and I look forward to helping out on more noteworthy projects like this one.
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