By Chloe Tan
One Earth, One Chance, One Choice. The choice to save our environment is urgent, and is everybody’s to make. To raise awareness among the locals about the importance of natural ecosystems from “Ridge to Reef”, the Provincial Environment Management Office (PEMO) organized a weeklong series of conservation-related activities. PBCFI participated actively in the following events:
Migratory Birds of Kabankalan City – A talk by Godfrey Jakosalem, PBCFI Senior Wildlife Biologist (June 19, 2013): As part of the 2013 Asian Waterbird Census, surveys were conducted in the Kabankalan-Himamaylan-Ilog Integrated Coastal Area. The results were shared with the participants of the Kabankalan City Environment Awareness Forum, highlighting the migratory bird diversity and the importance of protecting the city’s coastal habitats and resources.
Photo exhibition at Robinson’s Place, Bacolod City (June 21-28, 2013): PBCFI shared series of exciting photographs for exhibition in the shopping mall during the week. This helped us reach out to the public, calling to attention the plight of threatened wildlife in their respective habitats.
Forest Restoration Forum (June 25, 2013): Negros Occidental aims to increase its forest cover to 20% by December 2014. The current figure is 9%, up from 4% since 1990. The progress has been encouraging, but is still “a far cry” from the target, in the words of Atty. Wilfred Ramon Peñalosa, PEMO. This forum brought together people who have been working to restore forests in the province, allowing them to share the initiatives that have been undertaken, best practices, challenges and solutions. In the opening address by Rafael Coscolluela, President of PBCFI, the ecological services forests provide, and the concerns about well-meaning but ineffective forest restoration efforts were highlighted. We invited Dr. David Neidel of the Environmental Leadership & Training Initiative (ELTI), National University of Singapore (NUS), to share his expertise in “rainforestation”. Participants of the forum went home with a better grasp of the topic and with contacts of a pool of experts, taking the province a step closer to its goal.
Biodiversity Importance of Sipalay – A talk by Kim Doble, PBCFI Programme Officer (June 27, 2013): To help the people of Sipalay City become aware of the exciting wildlife living in their own backyards, we shared the findings of field and ethnobiological surveys that were conducted in Mamara Watershed and Calatong Forest and Wildlife Sanctuary. Our Programme Officer Kim Doble spoke with enthusiasm about threatened birds, amphibians and bats that were recorded. The spotlight was on the Bare-backed Fruit Bat, a critically endangered species where the last population stronghold occurs in the limestone caves of Calatong Forest. This talk (was presented to city officials, Barangay captains and high school students. In conjunction, photographs by our wildlife biologists were put up at the Sipalay City Hall as part of their City Environment Week celebrations.
1st Provincial Student Research Symposium (June 28, 2013): This inaugural event organized by PBCFI was held the culminating day of the Provincial Environment Week. The contest for the Best Student Research Paper and Best Student Research Oral Presentation saw six and eight groups of students respectively, putting their best foot forth in a bid to clinch the winning titles. These students represented three institutions, namely Central Philippines State University, Central Adventist College and University of St. La Salle, Bacolod City. A variety of biodiversity-related topics were presented, including corals, marine algae, bats, birds and termites. Besides encouraging biology students to enhance their research, writing and presentation skills, the symposium also provided a platform for the sharing of wildlife information among the academe, government officials, NGOs and other stakeholders. Congratulations to the winners:
Best Student Research Paper
|1st||Infestation of ectoparasites in fruit bats (Pteropodidae) from Calatong Forest, Negros Occidental, Philippines||Jestine Marie D. Betita, Frances Evonne A. Costales, Marie Kris P. de la Cruz & Eureka Mae G. Nacionales||University of St. La Salle, Bacolod City|
|2nd||Comparison of macroalgal biomass and diversity in marine protected areas (MPAs) and non-marine protected areas in Danjugan Island, Negros Occidental||Kevin Cyril Agbones, Kristina Graziella Celiz, Kevin Patrick Degayo, Francis Martin Planta & Mitzel Angelica Sapalo||University of St. La Salle, Bacolod City|
|3rd||A comparative study on species abundance and evenness of water birds in selected sites in Negros Occidental||Marie Clarenz Jaranilla, Jenny Mae Lago & Lin-ai Sitchon||University of St. La Salle, Bacolod City|
Best Student Research Oral Presentation
|1st||A comparative study on species abundance and evenness of water birds in selected sites in Negros Occidental||Marie Clarenz Jaranilla, Jenny Mae Lago & Lin-ai Sitchon||University of St. La Salle, Bacolod City|
|2nd||Comparison of the occurrence of coral bleaching and its intensity in marine protected and non-marine protected areas in Southern Negros Occidental||April Rose Bibit, Anecito Cogonon, Prabhjot Kaur Deol & Anna Lydia Ibonia||University of St. La Salle, Bacolod City|
|3rd||Bats in Ilog Hilabangan River System: a baseline survey||Airesh Alojado, Jemjem R. Visitacion, Julius P. Tanaman & Rey J. Villo||Central Philippines State University|