Australian Ambassador Robinson with the Earth Warriors for Biodiversity at the MMFR and MBG

The Makiling Center for Mountain Ecosystems (MCME) welcomed Hon. Australian Ambassador Robinson on 14 October 2019 during his tour at the Mount Makiling Forest Reserve ASEAN Heritage Park (MMFR AHP) with the Australian Alumni Association, Inc. (PA3i) Southern Tagalog Chapter led by former MCME Director, Dr. Nathaniel C. Bantayan together with Dr. Susan Ong and Dr. Jojo Baril.

Aimed at educating and creating environmental awareness among the youth, it can be remembered that the PA3i, through the Australian Grant, sponsored an experiential learning among 30 high school students from Los Baños National High School (LBNHS) on zoology, forest nursery operations and management and taxonomy on 18 July 2019. The PA3i installed an infographic bearing the pledge of Earth Warriors for Biodiversity in the mudspring entrance. Also, with the grant, the association had sponsored repair of the devastated potting shed in the CFES which in turn made the nursery seedling production more efficient.

In today’s event, part of the Earth Warriors Biodiversity Program that culminated in DL Umali is the presentation of the infographic and the CFES potting shed before the Hon. Amb. of Australia. The company had a short tour toward the mudspring where Dr. Bantayan had a chance to introduce some of the Philippine Native Forest Tree Species along the trail. The Ambassador and his company were thrilled by the calls of various bird species and really enjoyed the coldness and serenity of the forest. At the CFES, Dr. Bantayan introduced Foresters Emer C. Gestiada, Rolly V. Breva and Angela A. Limpiada as members of the Earth Warriors from the MCME. For. Gestiada was honored to provide a brief overview on nursery operations and management and the significance of the forest nursery in the rehabilitation program for the MMFR AHP and other forest ecosystems in the country. Meanwhile, For. Breva provided an overview of the protection and regulation function in order to safeguard the MMFR AHP and its bountiful natural resources while Dr. Bantayan emphasized the management’s collaborative partnerships with other business sectors, groups, organizations, and the community for plantation establishment up to its maintenance through the Tree Planting and Nurturing Program of MCME.

Finally, the Ambassador visited the seedling of Pili (Canarium ovatum) he planted at the Makiling Botanic Gardens (MBG) last year.

Also present in the tour were the two Forest Technicians, Foresters Aurora Mamiit and Mr. Yaser De Chavez, who provided security and assistance during the tour and Mr. Romer Mada, in the transportation.

By: Emer C. Gestiada

Photo credits: Angela A. Limpiada

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