Biodiversity on Wheels celebrates 5 years!
By Kitty Amante
This Earth Month, Haribon Foundation's BOW or Biodiversity on Wheels marks its fifth year in bringing biodiversity and conservation education to Filipino school children and youth.
The Biodiversity on Wheels (BOW) program is an interactive multimedia library van that visits schools, organizations and communities to teach Philippine biodiversity. Since 2012, Haribon's BOW has reached almost 60,000 students and youth from 96 schools and 21 communities, and has mobilized 1,196 volunteers all over the country.
During a BOW rollout, children participants learn about what makes our country's wildlife unique, the Philippine biodiversity and its importance and simple ways on how to help save the environment.
A Moving Classroom
Lounelle Godinez, BOW training specialist recounted that when school children are asked about Philippine species, what will normally populate the list are giraffes, lions and other animals not typically found in the country. "Many children nowadays miss out on learning about our country's unique flora and fauna such as the Haring Ibon (Philippine Eagle), tamaraw and rafflesia," continued Godinez.
She explains that BOW is a moving classroom that uses age-appropriate and interactive ways of teaching so that children will have fun while learning about Philippine biodiversity and conservation. Antonio, 7, told Haribon that he learned about the importance of trees from the story-telling session. "We should not cut down trees because if we do, it will cause landslides," shared Antonio.
"I enjoyed the origami-making but my favorite was the part about the Philippine Eagle," said Rachel, 10. "It’s my favorite animal which I always read about with my older sister."
Volunteer Chrizelle So told Haribon that she felt fulfilled seeing the kids learning about how to care for the environment at such an early age. "Even as I volunteered to teach, I found myself learning so many new things," she added. "I realized after BOW that there's so much to explore about our biodiversity and for many years I was only peeking through a tiny hole."
STI College teacher Argel Barrientos also said that BOW showed the children what is happening in the natural world around them and helped them understand its connection to simple acts such as proper waste disposal. He told Haribon that he would want to see BOW rolling into college campuses in the future. “I hope that biodiversity education will reach the college students so they will also understand and appreciate its importance,” pondered Barrientos.
Keep BOW rolling
Biodiversity on Wheels is made possible by donors and partners that support biodiversity conservation in the country. The HARI Ecovans were donated by HARI Foundation, Inc., the corporate social responsibility arm of Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. These moving classrooms were customized by the Centro Manufacturing Corporation and equipped with multimedia features through the support of Mead Johnson Nutrition and Acer Philippines.
On its fifth year, BOW aspires to reach a total of 70,000 school children and youth from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Help Haribon keep BOW moving this 2017 by donating or sponsoring a child or more today.
Each PHP 200 donation brings biodiversity education to one more child in the country. Or consider sponsoring a full BOW roll-out that reaches a classroom-full of children starting at PHP 10,000.