[Photos courtesy of Alo Lantin, Communications Officer at WWF-Philippines]
On March 7, Edukasyon.ph in partnership with Forest Foundation Philippines conducted a free environmental writing workshop for a select group of students from Central Mindanao University, Bukidnon State University and San Isidro College. The initiative, titled Youth as Keepers of the Forest, brought together young writers, nature-lovers and environmental advocates in Bukidnon to empower and equip them with skills and techniques to bring their stories to life.
The event held at Central Mindanao University was attended by 32 college students in BS Development Communication, BS Environmental Science, BS Forestry, BS IT, BS Accountancy and BS Civil Engineering, who participated in a full-day storytelling workshop, group break-out discussions and a writing competition.
Distinguished guest speakers and instructors for the event included Alo Lantin, Communications Officer at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Philippines, Jo Victoria Kristy R. Cruz from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Protected Area Management Bureau, and Jhesset Enano, environmental journalist at the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Dennis Rosales, Project Officer of Forest Foundation Philippines said, “Saving our forest is not an overnight task, we have to find ways and be creative. Our activity today revolves around growing advocates, to possibly come up with advocacies through storytelling.” Rosales hopes to grow more partnerships in Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental to implement more activities, which will not only contribute to the conservation of the forest but also for the community.
Jhesset Enano of Philippine Daily Inquirer told students, “A lot of people feel like these stories about the environment, biodiversity, forest loss, and climate change are far from them. It takes some kind of public consciousness. And to strike that public consciousness, you have to tell [your] stories.”
The event was held as part of Forest Foundation’s Best Friends of the Forest (BFFs) program, which aims to build a community of advocates who are well-empowered and informed to speak up, lead, and take action on forest conservation and protection. The program includes a series of activities, such as tree-growing, learning workshops, and general assemblies in their main focal landscapes: Palawan, Sierra Madre, Samar and Leyte, Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental.
Winning pieces by workshop participants Jackie Lou Homonlay, Regein Calunsag, Israelbelle Ferolino, Bryan Rey Villaruel and Analiza Marquez will be given the platform to share their personal insights and advocacies on the Edukasyon.ph blog.
Environmental conservation is already a key issue for young people, as they’ll be the most affected by climate change. Forest Foundation Philippines will continue to empower and provide concrete resources and platforms for students to speak up and take the lead.
Ria Tagle, Project Manager from Edukasyon.ph, said “Working with experts like Forest Foundation Philippines gives young people access to mentors, volunteer opportunities, crucial networks from the government, academe, and community. It helps them know that they are not alone, and they have a specific role in change-making. What we’ve seen in the workshop is students already know the issues, they’ve studied it, and they’ve lived it. We just have to make sure that they have what they need to act on it.”
If you’re a student interested in writing stories for the environment, shoot us an email at [email protected] with the subject ‘Forest Foundation x Edukasyon.ph’ to find out how you can be part of the advocacy!