The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Region- I (DENR- I) through the initiative of the Regional Public Affairs Office (RPAO) not only spread and inform the public regarding the policies, programs and projects of the agency, leads in the protection, preservation and conservation of the environment and natural resources but also advocates voluntary humanitarian endeavour particularly to the youth.

As a continuing activity of the RPAO led by Chief, Renelita A. Santos and designated information officers from MGB, EMB, PENROs and CENROs and sectoral focal persons – the conduct of Communication Education Public Awareness (CEPA) for the youth regarding the protection and preservation of the environment and natural resources in selected primary and secondary schools in the region most especially in the interior barangays was held in two public primary schools last February 28- 29, 2020. Topics discussed in these schools include solid waste management, biodiversity, wildlife and marine conservation, clean water and clean air.

The information officers’ team first noticed the old, broken and damaged slippers of young learners during their first environmental lectures and activity in Cabaraoan Integrated School in Sto. Tomas, La Union prompted the DENR- I team led by Information II and Youth Desk Officer Zenaida Paday- os and CDO Mariel Aquino to initiate the so- called Box of Hope- a large carton box placed in the lobby of the DENR- I building where voluntary donations in kind like new slippers, shoes, clothing, among others overflowed after an audio- visual of the information officers’ environmental activities was shown during the DENR- I regular Monday Program and the purpose of the Box of Hope moved the kind- hearted employees and officials.

On February 29, 2020, the DENR- I information group went back to Cabaraoan Integrated School in Sto. Tomas, La Union and Siapar Integrated School, Anda, an island municipality located northwest of Pangasinan. In cooperation with PENRO La Union and CENRO Western Pangasinan headed by Atty. Hipolito Salatan. The DENR- I information team proceeded to Anda with the Box of Hope by car, by foot and by water and distributed the contents of the Box of Hope to the excited learners and teachers in the above mentioned schools. In Barangay Siapar, school officials and the barangay chairman thanked the DENR- I team for their compassion and generosity. The small but significant gifts given to the learners is a large bridge that connect the youth to nature and the advocates of nature. Likewise, it will relatively touch and soften their hearts which will someday pass on to the next generations to come.  As they say, “Big things come from small beginnings.”