ECO CAMP 2016 @ Mount Makiling Forest Reserve ASEAN Heritage Park

The Makiling Center for Mountain Ecosystems (MCME) in cooperation with the National Power Corporation Makiling-Banahaw Watershed Area Team (NPC MBWAT) and in partnership with the Department of Education Lipa (DepEd Lipa) conducted a 3-day Ecological Camp (ECO CAMP) from August 27 to 29, 2016 in Mount Makiling Forest Reserve ASEAN Heritage Park (MMFR AHP). ECO CAMP 2016 is an activity under the ECO-SCHOOL Project as part of the program entitled: “Community Development Program in Makiling-Banahaw Geothermal Reservation.” The activity aims to develop and conduct a training course to enhance elementary students’ awareness on current environmental status; hone skills in interpreting environmental concepts thru art; develop favorable skills and attitudes towards watershed management practices; and strengthen knowledge and skills thru values orientation.Activities of the ECO CAMP were held at the Toyota Environmental Education Theater (TEET) of the Makiling Botanic Gardens (MBG) and at the Central Forest Experimental Station (CFES).

Dr. Nathaniel C. Bantayan, Director of MCME and Park Manager of MMFR AHP welcomed the participants and guests of the ECO CAMP 2016 by sharing his story of how his passion for nature was sparked and fueled by the beauty of Mount Makiling. He enjoined everyone to take part in protecting and conserving the MMFR AHP and hoped that similar passion will be sparked in the participants. Dr. Bantayan gave special thanks to NPC-MBWAT through For. Emmanuel R. Regondola, Section Chief for funding the program and Dr. Ludy N. Pasagui, Superintendent of DepEd Lipa, was acknowledged for all-out support to the activity.

ECO CAMP 2016 was participated by 32 Grades V and VI students and five (5) teachers from five (5) schools surrounding Mount Malarayat namely: Malitlit, Anangi, Sto. Niño, Talisay, and San Francisco Elementary Schools. A total of nine (9) resource speakers namely: For. Myranel S. Canceran (URA II, SFD-MCME); For. Mae Belen C. Llanza (URA II, ELDS-MCME); Mr. Martin Q. Imatong (DDRM-CCA Consultant, DDRMO-Los Baños), For. Leonardo D. Barua (UES II, SFD-MCME), Dr. Corazon Calimag (UESII, TREES-CFNR), Mr. Eisen Bernardo V. Bernardo (Creative Officer, CPA-ACB), For. Divina Gomez (NPC-MBWAT), For. Nicasio M. Balahadia (Head, SFD-MCME), and For. Technician Nick M. Manlisis (PRU-MCME) were invited to present and lecture on topics including forests’ roles and importance; environmental principles, problems, and issues; climate change and disaster risk management; creative works and writings; and environmental enhancements.

Dr. Felipa Morada, Education Program Supervisor-Science of DepEd Lipa closed the program together with Dr. Bantayan. She thanked everyone for the opportunity that were given to their students and teachers and is looking forward for more collaborations and partnerships in the future.

by For. Mae Belen C. Llanza

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