3rd Annual Eco-Camp At Calatagan, A Success!

Program: Learning Support

         Last April 26, 2011 marked the date of Calatagan’s third annual Environmental Youth Leadership Camp, a Local Government program that has gained popularity as a model-youth program since the first camp’s success in 2009.
        This year’s partners included: USAID, Conservation International, U.S. Peace Corps, and local partners including the E.Zobel Foundation and CAP Oceans Foundation. The campers welcomed the visit of U.S. Ambassador Harry K. Thomas to the camp on its third day as it was chosen as USAID’s highlight partner project of the month for their 50th Anniversary. Ambassador Thomas visited Ang Pulo, a community managed ecotourism and education mangrove island, to learn about the work of the people’s organization, visit with the campers, and plant a ceremonial mangrove seedling.
       The youth camp is an effort to educate Calatagan’s youth and teachers about the present day issues facing Calatagan’s natural resources, offer a way to conserve and protect the natural beauty of Calatagan, and to empower the youth to be active in their communities.
Local speakers played a larger role in the camp this year including lectures from the Bantay Dagat President Rodrigo de Jesus, Calatagan’s Environmental Lawyer Atty. Mario Maderazo, and teachers from two of the local high schools Jemalyn Aguia and Orlando Magyaya. The participants came from not only the high schools, but also from the people’s organization that will be mostly run by the youth. This year’s camp was attended by 87 high school students and members of a people’s organization known as ISaC (Ilog Santiago Cluster) -- an organization for the community management of the Santiago River Restoration project and community clean up; plus eight teachers for four high schools. Camp material was expanded this year to include lectures and activities about the upland ecosystems in Calatagan, organic farming and nutrition, Lastly, this year’s camp placed more of an emphasis on solid waste management and how the youth of Calatagan can play a significant role in its success. The campers had a blast in the recycled trash relay that was held after the solid waste management lectures, despite the heat of summer.
       This year’s camp, as well as previous camps, was effective in motivating the youth of Calatagan to stand by the environment programs of the LGU, as well as creating their own projects that support the conservation efforts already in place. Campers and teachers are excited for the projects planned for the 2011-12 school year, and the LGU and the other partner institutions are eager to continue their support for the efforts of the youth. Next year’s camp is expected to grow and expand more to support the increas ing interest in the beautiful environment of Calatagan.