Youth has an important role in social change which includes environmental advocacies. It is vital that the youth are aware of the issues and concerns that our environment is currently facing.

Together with the Department of Education, MBCFI has been at the forefront of increasing knowledge and awareness, not only of teachers but also students, on biodiversity and its conservation. The strategies to encourage their participation are the conduct of environmental events, talks, exhibits and camps.

In line with this, a two-day summer camp was conducted on May 19-20, 2018 at the Silonay Elementary School, Silonay, Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro. It aims to educate the students about the science of climate change and its effects in the country, to develop students’ awareness on the state of the environment by discussing significant issues and concerns, and lastly, to encourage the student’s active participation in the protection and conservation of the environment. Schools under the jurisdiction of the Divisions of DepEd Calapan, Occidental and Oriental Mindoro were invited to participate. A total of 38 students coming from 13 schools participated in the summer camp.

Activities during the summer camp include basic leadership and teamwork actions, environmental talks, poster making, science communication, bird watching, and native seedlings nursery establishment. Students were randomly clustered into seven groups where they compete against each team. The group with the highest score at the end of the camp was proclaimed the winner. In the basic leadership and teamwork activities, different physical and mind-boggling problems were solved by each team. On the other hand, environmental talks include Philippines biodiversity, Mindoro biodiversity, and thematic presentation in celebration of the ocean month. Nursery chamber establishment was also taught headed by Mr. Eli-Jed Tamboong, Community Facilitator of MBCFI. Another interesting activity was bird watching led by Mr. Don Geoff Tabaranza of MBCFI. Students were taught on how to identify common birds found in the mangrove ecosystem, and the proper use of a binocular and a spotting scope.

Environmental education and awareness are powerful tools to engage everyone in biodiversity conservation. If a lot of people are aware of the importance of biodiversity, a lot of people also will participate in its conservation.