June 28, 2024

Forest Foundation and Ekomunikatib through USAID SIBOL Launch Project FOREST

PUERTO PRINCESA, PALAWAN – Forest Foundation Philippines, together with its grantee Ekomunikatib Multimedia Consultancy Services, through USAID’s Sustainable Interventions for Biodiversity, Oceans, and Landscapes (SIBOL) initiative, launched Project FOREST (Fostering Outdoor Reading and Environmental Stewardship Together).

Project FOREST aims to cultivate a deep awareness of forest conservation among elementary school students in the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP) through conservation storytelling. Guided by the comprehensive general management plan of the PPSRNP, it engages the park’s stakeholders to fully embrace the ecological, socio-economic, and cultural significance of conserving natural resources.

The project will educate approximately 500 students about the PPSRNP’s forest resources, threats, and conservation solutions through four storybooks with audio-visual versions, storytelling caravans, and an interactive board game. These activities will also provide insights to enhance the park’s ongoing forest conservation-focused communication, education, and public awareness initiatives by documenting the experiences from this project.

Project FOREST released four books, which revolve around the overarching theme of forest conservation and the ongoing public and private collaborative initiatives within the park. The first book, titled “Ang Mahiwagang Kabakawan ng Cabayugan”, takes root from the USAID SIBOL’s green assessment report and showcases the resilience of mangroves in extreme weather events and their importance for local communities. The second book, “Si Peewee, ang Masayahing Pawikan”, focuses on the ridge-to-reef concept, highlighting the connection between healthy forests and thriving seas that host sea turtles and other wildlife. The third book, “Ang Tatay Kong Bantay Gubat”, explores the vibrant life of local communities within the park. Finally, the fourth book, *Takbo! Takbo! Baboy Damo!*, emphasizes the crucial ecological roles of wild boars as “ecosystem engineers,” showcasing how their rooting and nesting behaviors contribute to enhancing soil productivity and tree diversity in the forest. Each story aims to engage young readers through emotions and themes that encourage an appreciation for and commitment to forest conservation.

The launch was attended by representatives from the Department of Education, USAID Philippines, USAID SIBOL, Palawan State University, the Local Government Unit of Puerto Princesa through the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park and World Heritage Site and City Information Department, Tagbanua Central Indigenous Cultural Communities, Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, City ENRO Puerto Princesa, DENR-CENRO, Barangay Cabayugan LGU, and over 200 students from public schools in the area.

Following the launch, Ekomunikatib Multimedia Consultancy Services, together with the Department of Education, will be holding book reading caravans in five elementary schools within the PPSRNP to distribute physical copies of the books and educate 400 elementary school students about the importance of forests.

The book is available for download here.

For more information about Project FOREST, follow their Facebook page.