Around twenty (20) students from Los Baños National High School (LBNHS) participated in the “Earth Warriors for Biodiversity” last 18 June 2019 held in the Mount Makiling Forest Reserve ASEAN Heritage Park (MMFR AHP). Earth Warriors of Biodiversity is a project of the Australian Alumni Association in UPLB that seeks to develop an integrated program for the youth by increasing their awareness on biodiversity through interactive and hands-on learning activities inside the forests of MMFR AHP. It focused on increasing awareness on the native trees of the Philippines. Two major components of the project are 1) InTreeCare – Interactive learning activity on tree nurturing and 2) InBioTrail – Interactive biodiversity learning trail.
The activity was organized and coordinated with the current President of the Association and former director of the Makiling Center for Mountain Ecosystems (MCME), Dr. Nathaniel C. Bantayan.
As early as 6:00 AM, the participants were welcomed by some MCME Staff. Briefing and orientation on the MMFR Access Protocol was given by MCME’s Educators for Nature Tourism (ENTs), retrieval of captured bats at the area near the MCME Central Nursery was led by Dr. Joey Baril of College of Arts and Sciences, then participants proceeded to the Mudspring area for the InBioTrail.
Led by Dr. Susan Aquino-Ong of College of Agriculture and assisted by the ENTs and MCME Staff (For. Angela Limpiada, For. Analyn Malayba, Mr. Glen Ubay and For, Michelle Angela Rafols), participants were told about the stories of ten (10) native trees along the Mudspring trail. They were also taught of the proper identification and unique characteristic of each tree being labelled for the activity.
After the InBioTrail, they proceeded to the MCME Central Nursery for the series of lectures/talks about Seed Germination, Containerized Seedling Production and Proper Seedling Handling and Transport to Pot Beds which were discussed by Foresters Valeriana D. Barredo-Parducho, Emer Gestiada and Aldin C. Alegre respectively. Students were given the chance to experience hands-on potting and transplanting of seedlings to potting media. A sumptuous boodle fight lunch was served, then a Post Evaluation was done before the Closing Ceremony.
The participants were now called as “Earth Warriors” for Biodiversity and the members of the UPLB-Australian Alumni Association and mentors from MCME, were the “Earth Warrior’s Masters”.
Valeriana D. Barredo-Parducho
Photos taken by: AALimpiada