30-31 January 2018, Siniloan, Laguna, Sierra Madre Mountain Range. 66 children and 8 teaching staff from Grade 3 of the British School Manila (BSM) led a 1000 native Philippine tree restoration activity at a formerly denuded part of the longest mountain range in the Philippines (680 km or 420 mi North to South), the Sierra Madres, where some of the country’s virgin forest remains and where forests act as protective barrier against storms and cyclones from the Pacific Ocean.
“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something I can do.” – Edward Everett Hale
These are the words that came to mind after the FEED and University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) – LIVING LEGACY – teams got together to assess how the weekend program progressed; Lead Forester, Reynaldo E. Lorida, who supervises over 4000 hectares of the Laguna Quezon Land Grant, communicated what many of our accompanying Forest Guards agreed: “The kids were incredible! So eager, focused and happily planting through the ankle deep dark orange mud, heavy rains and cold winds. Ang saya (Tagalog translation, it was fun)!”
CLIMATE CHANGE SURVIVAL 101: How Forests Protect Everything – An Immersion Program for The British School Manila, Year 3
A Day Away from Civilisation and Creature Comforts
The BSM kids when through FEED’s “Climate Change Survival 101 (CCS101)” course, which comprises the basics on climate change, keystone species (e.g. bees) and trees; to number of further customised, child-centred activities designed with and around the environment, from a preliminary technical presentation on Our Plastic Ocean, to Nature Dance Warm Ups, a Trail in the Wilderness, Nursery Establishment and the actual Tree Planting itself.
The purpose of FEED’s CCS101 is to immerse participants in both the theory and practice of mitigating and adapting to climate change through hands-on exercises closer to their reality. Even the meals prepared were partially harvested by the BSM kids at the vegetable garden route, with their ginger harvested used in the vegetarian spaghetti, and the rest of the harvest in the native “binalot” (Tag. tr. wrapped in banana leaves) chicken and pork adobo meal prepared by the local community.
“Earth and sky, forests and fields, rivers and trees, the mountains (and the seas) are excellent teachers, showing us more than we can ever learn from books – through Nature’s sights, sounds, and senses… Tree planting activity and help plant for the planet. Every leaf traps carbon dioxide, every seedling matters, and every helping hand counts….” This was the main message and backbone of the entire planting, to enhance the children’ learning and awareness on preserving the environment for future generations.
Although the kids were guided before hand as to what to bring for the overnight camping and tree planting trip, they had no issues releasing their shoes, cleaning the mud off their feet and camping dorm style at base camp, exhibiting resilience, interest, intelligence and flexibility during the entire program about How Forests Save Everything.
UPLB academic staff included Prof. Emeritus Dr. Asuncion Raymundo (also FEED board), Associate Prof. Dr. Annalee Soligam Hadsall, UPLB Museum of Natural History (MNH) curator for orchids and epiphytes, Institute of Biological Sciences (IBS), College of Arts & Sciences (CAS); Assoc. Prof. Dr. Aimee Lynn B. Dupo, MNH’s curator for moths and spiders, IBS, CAS; and Michelle Alejado, Licensed Forester (Forest Biotechnology) and MNH’s coordinator for linkages.
FEED was represented by Diane Penales, VP Operations; Nomer Cuartero, Nursery Manager; and Anne-Marie Mananquil Bakker, Director of Partnerships.
Supervising BSM teaching staff on the trip were Emma Swinnerton, Catherine De Villa, George Pearson, Carmela Therese Arcena, Jenny Moriarty, Karen Punted, Elaine Dangly and Anthony Rada (latter, security) who ensured expert supervision and engagement throughout the program flow.
All participants received a Certificate of Appreciation to acknowledge one of the larger restoration of trees to the LQLG site forest. Thank you British School Manila Year 3 and more power to you all in striving for a greener Earth!
GPS Coordinates for Remote Monitoring
- 14°29’15.11N 121°30’51.31E
- 14°29’15.70N 121°30’51.38E
- 14°29’15.85N 121°30’52.35E
- 14°29’15.24N 121°30’52.46E
Thank you Year 3 BSM kids, teaching faculty and administration for exhibiting profound leadership on environmental awareness in our youth, may the Forest always be with you too!
“Together — one of the most inspiring words in the English language. Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” – Also attributed to Edward Everett Hale, American author, historian, and Unitarian minister.
At the British School Manila (BSM) we believe education should be personalised, fun and challenging for all children and to deliver this, we link the classroom with our extensive and highly successful co-curricular programme.
We are a smaller school with a strong sense of community that works closely with our families. This personal approach helps us understand, develop and nurture your child. Our British based education, delivered in an international context, provides an outstanding opportunity for children to grow in an environment that is committed to learning in the broadest sense of the word. Your child will integrate sports, service, residential camps, visual and performing arts and a wide range of other opportunities within our academic programme. We view ourselves as one school and aim for the progression from Nursery right through to Y13 to be a seamless educational experience.
At BSM our driving goals are to prepare your children for life beyond school and university, by firstly, equipping them with 21st Century skills that we refer to as ‘Learning Power’ skills and secondly providing authentic, real-life learning opportunities that help prepare them for the challenges of a rapidly changing world. Of course, academically, we aspire to ensure all children fulfil their potential and our achievements in all sections of the school are excellent. When our students finally leave BSM they regularly access and excel at top schools and universities worldwide.
Ultimately, at the British School Manila your child will learn the core values of respect, honesty and kindness, and will be encouraged to learn and exercise self-discipline in their everyday lives. It is our belief that by focusing on these key principles, we will prepare your child for a happy productive life and to become adults that we will all be proud of.
Simon Mann, Head of School
More information: http://www.britishschoolmanila.org
FEED runs a number of Students and Volunteers for the Environment (SAVE); Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) – such as mangrove planting for coastal protection or ridge reforestation plantings; One Child, One Tree; Bio-Intensive Gardens (BIG) for nutrition in public elementary schools and other spaces; and other LIVING LEGACY programs – customised environmental engagement activities for individuals and organisations interested in contributing to climate change adaptation efforts and greening critical areas such as watersheds, ridges, and reefs that all require rehabilitation.
Tree-Planting with FEED Video
Check out the video journey by Clueless Commuter who planted with us last 24th of June 2017 to get a good idea of how FEED plantings go: https://youtu.be/KROn4rjVqBg
© FEED, Inc.