Youth has an essential role in environmental advocacies, and it is vital that they are aware of the issues and concerns that our environment is currently facing.  They can be the driving force to promote and support environmental conservation and sustainability.

Participants and facilitators during the Eco camp

This year, in partnership with the Provincial Government of Oriental Mindoro, through their Environment and Natural Resources Office, we selected Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) members from different municipalities to participate in the Eco-camp. This activity aimed at increasing the awareness of SK members toward biodiversity conservation and Mindoro’s state of the environment by discussing significant issues and concerns. Moreover, it is also to encourage them to actively lead and participate in environmental protection and conservation events and activities and help them prepare project proposals related to it.

The four-day summer camp was conducted on May 27-30, 2019, to likewise celebrate the International Day of Biological Diversity, at the Provincial Demo Farm, Merit, Victoria, Oriental Mindoro. A total of 30 youth coming from all over Oriental Mindoro attended the activity.

Proposal writing

Activities during the summer camp include basic leadership and teamwork actions, environmental talks, poster making, science communication, bird watching, and proposal writing. Participants were randomly clustered into two teams where they compete against each other. The group with the highest score at the end of the camp was proclaimed the winner. In the basic leadership and teamwork activities, different complex problems were solved by each team. Furthermore, environmental talks include Philippines biodiversity, Mindoro biodiversity, and thematic presentation in celebration of the International Day of Biological Diversity with the theme “’Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health.” The participants’ favorite activity is the bird watching led by Mr. Don Geoff Tabaranza, MBCFI’s RESEARCH Program Manager. Students were taught on the proper use of binoculars and how to identify common birds found in agroforestry ecosystem.

Environmental education and awareness is a powerful tool to engage everyone in biodiversity conservation, especially among young local leaders. These leaders can be our motivators for the young generations to participate in the protection and conservation of our environment.