Seminar-workshop on biodiversity conservation and Classroom based- research (CBR) held in Apayao State College
Date: June 14,2016

      "The key message in community development practice today in engaging communities to face the environmental crises is to be ecosystem-based as we think and act locally while linking globally, across levels, scale (spatial and temporal), sector and disciplines to attain human and ecosystem well," said retired UPB professor, social and environmental scientist, Dr. Rowena R. Boquiren here May 31, 2016 during the first seminar-workshop on biodiversity conservation in Apayao's forests, farms and community-role of the education sector, held in Apayao State College, Luna campus.

The seminar-workshop was participated by faculty and staff as well as the key officials from both ASC campuses headed by its President, Dr. Nieves A. Dacyon. Also among the participants were the agriculture, forestry and education graduates of the said institution.

Said participants reviewed the earlier learning on the concepts of biodiversity, forest protection, conservation. Afterwhich, Dr. Boquiren updated them and made them explore the engagements in meeting the education sector's role in conservation.

The Philippines is one of the Seventeen (17) megadiverse countries in the whole world. This means, it is one of the countries which carry 2/3 of the earth's biological resources, and where 80% of flora and fauna at risk are found., hence must be prioritized in conservation.

The Philippines is an archipelagic country with 7,100 islands and which its formation over the past 50 million years made it biologically diverse, rich in endemic species (in unique ecosystems which are our global patrimony) and with ecologically linked ecosystems from ridge to reef. Factors affecting patterns of biodiversity are the island biogeography, soils, topography, as well as the climate and temperature in the country's location. The biodiversity status of the countryis therefore an advantage where community development practitioners operate with conservation (wise use of resources) as key concept.

Apayao's vision of becoming the Agro-forestry center and eco-tourist destination in the farnorth supports its being the last frontier of nature in the north making the activity most timely and relevant.

As a major output of the seminar, the participants were oriented on Classroom-Based Research and ways to maximize the National Service Training Program (NSTP) as opportunities to sustain the academic institution/s role in conservation.

"The education sector is expected to sustain its function in society by living up to its mandate to have curricular programs and extension services that respond to the challenges from the environmental and economic crises that we face. Science-based and technologically prepared graduates must be produced by the education sector," Dr. Boquiren stressed in the said event.

Elated to climate change issues globally, we have lost 13 million hectares of forest each year over the last decade, and population increases and economic growth have produced a nearly 50% increase in global CO2 emissions between 1991 and 2007, from 21.9 to 29.6 billion metric tons. This 2010 Millennium Development Goals Report(UN, 2010) indicates very low and uneven progress.

"Classroom-based research (CBR) is as much a strategy to learning as it is an approach to research. It is therefore used to meet several objectives of the school system - to improve instruction and learning, as well as to generate information. Oftentimes, however, it is conveniently perceived as the practice of assigning research tasks to students in line with the inquiry approach in instruction," said Dr. Boquiren.

"From an institutional perspective, the possibilities in CBR constitute an innovative, if not a radical shift in educational practice," Dr. Boquiren also said.

The advocacy also intends to level up the conventional National Service Training Program (NSTP), as a part of the curriculum, practices from community clean and green drive to a more productive action research based in the classroom.

As an output of the workshop which followed the seminar, the participants were grouped and were tasked to prepare CBR proposals. One of the outputs which surfaced was the proposal presented by Conner Campus R&D Director, Dr. Agustina G. Pattung. It was titled 'Indigenous Biodiversity Conservation Practices of the Different Tribes in Conner' with components such as migration pattern of the various tribes in Conner, etymology of the tribal areas in Conner and documentation of the literatures of the different tribes in Conner and biodiversity conservation practices of the different tribes in Conner.

Other proposals include aggressive interventions against Invasive Alien Species (IAS) in the field of forestry and agriculture as well as culturally related proposals which end goal is to come up with Instructional Materials (IMs) that would revolves around the functions of the college such as research, extension, instruction and production.

The activity was timely and made even more relevant with the presence of the government officials during the culminating program of the said activity.

It was attended by the Apayao out-going Vice Governor and incoming Mayor of Pudtol, Hector Reuel Pascua, out-going Pudtol Mayor Batara P.Laoat, National Commission for Indigenous People (NCIP) Provincial Director, Dr. Corazon Claveria, and Community Environment and Natural Resources (CENR) Officer-In-Charge, Dr. Candido J. Tuscano.

"The entire officialdom of Apayao is in full support to this advocacy. We waiting for your proposals to approve especially with respect to what our Father in the Province [the late Calanasan Mayor Elias K. Bulut Sr.] continuously reminded us about in taking care of our very rich biodiversity here in the province," said Vice Gov. Pascua.

"We are thankful to have leaders and community people who are now modeling stewardship and accountability to take care of our mother nature. We should also do ours as this is the critical role of us in the Higher Education Institution (HEI). Our dreams are now coming true as envisioned by the late Mayor Bulut," said Dr. Dacyon in response.

"I hope that this very rare opportunity that we had today is just a start in saving the last frontier in the north.It is from effort like this that we can give our environmental activism really running," Dr. Boquiren expressed with fulfillment.

"We can continue having this dream but also fulfilling these with actions. Let us save the last frontier!" she reminded everyone.

"The bigger challenge is how to translate the lessons learned from this seminar workshop into concrete actions. Developing a research culture among students and faculty thru classroom based researches (CBRs) is one thing. Maximizing every researcher as an integral part of the ecosystem is another if not the most important thing.

"We express our thanks to the supportive provincial and local government as well as the other entities represented by Dr. Boquiren. We consider them as our inspiration in our burning desire to contribute in saving and in sustaining the last frontier" Dr. Dacyon expressed.

"We are indeed within the direction of ASC Vision as a biodiversity centered higher education institution," said Dr. Pattung in closing.

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