University of the Philippines Open University
The UPOU Earth Ambassadors (UPOUEA) was conceptualized as part of the role of the UPOU as a Public Service University. It is a project of the Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS) that aims to train a core group of selected elementary students to promote and advocate awareness about sustainable development, biodiversity conservation and management of natural ecosystems and traditional socio-ecological landscapes.These young students shall help promote and advocate awareness in their schools and in their communities, the importance of sustainable environmental and natural resources management. The UPOUEA was actually an offshoot of a briefing/orientation and relevant activities on environmental awareness requested by The Learning Place (TLP), a private elementary school in Los Banos, Laguna in 2010 which was co-organized by UPOU and Yakap Kalikasan Tungo sa Kaunlaran ng Pilipinas, Inc. (Yakap Kalikasan), a Los Banos-based Non-Government Organization (NGO) working for the environment.
Some activities of the UPOUEA include School Caravan - film showing and story telling about the importance of biodiversity and the underlying threats to the bioresources of our planet; a walk to the forest- a guided walk and eco camp at Mt. Makiling which aims to expose the young minds to the beauty of organisms in its complex ecosystem; a walk for a cause; Tree planting; Eco Weekend, Blogging for the environment which serves as the online presence of the UPOUEA, workshops and mini plenary session on environment conservation and break-out sessions on various topics such as photography, basics of image editing, blog development, file management, use of email, research and news writing, etc. the UPOU-FMDS also supports the Brigada Eskwela that aims to bring together education stakeholders to participate and contribute their time, effort and resources to prepare public school facilities ready for the School Opening.
UPOU Earth Ambassadors aims that through capacity building and other advocacy approaches, the children shall be empowered to be responsible stewards of the environment. Moreover, this shall become a venue for the experts in ecology, environmental management and various disciplines to share their time and expertise with young children. Through this simple effort, UPOU hopes that these children will grow up to become responsible citizens of the Philippines and the world.