Environmental Protection and Conservation: A Shared Responsibility

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Environmental Protection and Conservation: A Shared Responsibility

 

Nature’s Call to the Young – To increase awareness in the state of the environment amongst students, the Youth for Environment in Schools Organization (YES-O) was formed by the Department of Education in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in 2003. The establishment of a school-based co-curricular organization shall serve as a significant venue for students’ actions and movements toward safeguarding, protecting and conserving the environment for the future generation.

Since then, YES-O continues to promote environmental understanding and action through social, civic, intellectual, recreational and science-related programs and activities.

Relative to this, DENR has been constantly monitoring YES-O activities in various schools pursuant to DepEd Order No. 52, s.2011 otherwise known as “Strengthening Environmental Education in Public and Private Schools”.
Recently, an ocular monitory was conducted on July 21-24 in public elementary and high schools in the Province of Pangasinan. The areas monitored include Bonuan Boquig Elementary School, Dagupan City National High School, Mangaldan National High School and Mangaldan Central School.
Also, a series of YES-O programs are conducted in the said schools which highlights different activities to encourage school kids to partake in environmental protection and conservation.
In Bonuan Boquig Elementary School which is located in the Northern part of Dagupan City, students actively participate in numerous activities as part of the school’s commitment in providing school children a learning atmosphere which is environment friendly;eco-friendly facilities were developed by students, teachers and as well as residents in the community. Hailed as champion in the 2014 Search for Best Implementer of Gulayan Para sa Paaralan (Division and Regional level), BBES continues its programs and projects implemented on the said contest particularly on waste management, water and energy conservation and tree-planting activities.
Among these programs and projects are the vertical tower garden, solar aquaphonics garden, garbage shredder machine, vermiculture, school-based urban containerized gardening, product labeling of recycled materials, electricity conservation program, solar powered library, monitoring of power consumption, using compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), trash fashion, barrel rainwater harvesting system, solar water pump and a lot more. According to BBES Principal Manuel Ferrer, as teachers/mentors, they want to enrich the students’ knowledge not only in academics but also instill social and environmental responsibility. Through their exposure to different eco-friendly activities, they may serve as inspiration to other children in promoting and raising awareness on environmental conservation and development.
In Dagupan City National High School (DCHNS), teachers and students engage in the “Wrappers to Pavers Program” (a solid waste management program initiated by the local government of Dagupan and Unilever Philippines to lessen the garbage in the city particularly in the schools). Wrappers, sachets and other plastic materials are gathered and collected. These wastes are then converted into pavers or concrete blocks which can be used in construction of school facilities as bricks for roadways, pathways and other beautification purposes. DCHNS received their share of pavers which are now used to elevate some areas of their school.
Considered as the largest and widest campus in the Province of Pangasinan, Mangaldan National High School (MNHS) caters to more or less 5,000 students every year. Several YES-O activities were done and conducted to encourage the commitment of the large population of students in safeguarding and maintaining a healthy environment. MNHS offers specialized programs for students in secondary level such as the Special Science Class Program which helps in increasing the consciousness of students on environmental issues and concerns. Also, the school maintains a mini forest where several mahogany trees serve as shed for students while studyin in the benches provided for them.

Similarly, Mangaldan Central Elementary School also keeps up with YES-O activities during the school year through constant monitoring of projects and programs that enriches environmental awareness. A clean-up drive in the school area was recently conducted to maintain the cleanliness and promote healthy living amongst students and teachers. Parents were also involved in the said clean up drive where a total of 50 sacks of garbage which were segregated were gathered. These were collected by a garbage truck from the local government of Mangaldan which comes to the school every week.
Young as they may be, students are now empowered through the YES-O program with their involvement in taking care of Mother Nature as part of our shared responsibility. As young citizens, they are encouraged to be part of the battle of the environment’s biggest challenge. (Felisandelle C. De Vera, RPAO)