Supporting its theme ‘Climate Change and the Rainforest’, ASEAN Plus Three Junior Science Odyssey (ASEAN PT JSO) held field activities including tree planting, field work and field exposure participated by ASEAN-Members and other participating countries on June 14, 2016 at Makiling Botanic Gardens (MBG).
Ten ASEAN-member countries: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and four other participating countries: China, Chinese Taipei, Korea, and Sweden, joined the ASEAN Plus Three Junior Science Odyssey (APT JSO), an annual educational event where young students with ages 13-15 participated to develop their knowledge and skills in the field of science and technology. With Philippines as the host country, Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI), together with the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) jointly organized the 5th year of the said event.
Former UPLB Chancellor, Dr. Rex Victor O. Cruz, and MCME Director, Dr. Nathaniel C. Bantayan, gave speeches where they introduced the rich biodiversity of Mount Makiling Forest Reserve (MMFR) and talked about nature – its components and importance.
Students were also given a chance to be exposed in the field and experience the beauty of nature. They were grouped into six teams, a team composed of 7 to 8 junior students from different countries and were accompanied by Educators for Nature Tourism (ENTs) as their guides. Aside from enjoying the nature itself, students were also educated on the resources inside the heritage park.
The tour started at the bridge wherein the water level monitoring system was located. Basic information about watershed and its importance were also discussed. In the Dipterocarp Arboretum, the commercial and ecological importance of Dipterocarp species were tackled. The third stop was on the Nursery. Students were taught what are the functions and how important a nursery is. Participants also experienced crossing the Molawin Creek and ends the tour on their last station, Birds of Mount Makiling.