SESAM, Peace Corps Conclude Biodiversity Assessment Training

The School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM) and Peace Corps Philippines completed a nine-day Capacity Building of Selected Academe, Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) and Local Government Units (LGU) in Biodiversity Conservation at Seda Hotel in Santa Rosa, Laguna on May 11-19, 2022. 

The Continuing Education and Training Division (CETD) of SESAM spearheaded the facilitation of the training, which included fieldworks in Taal Lake with side trip at the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute of the Department of Agriculture, in Makiling Botanic Gardens and in Calatagan, Batangas. 

Thirty-six participants represented the Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology, Southern Leyte State University, Department of Natural Resources-Protected Areas Management Board (DENR-PAMB) from Nueva Ecija, and the local government of the Municipality of Macrohon, Southern Leyte.

Funded by the United States Agency in International Development (USAID), this training aimed to increase the knowledge of the participants on the different research methodologies related to biodiversity conservation; enhance the skills of the faculties of the two state universities in conducting biodiversity conservation researches and its applicability for planning and budgeting of the LGUs; allow the participants to develop a management plan that intends to address the threats to the biodiversity in the Minalungao National Park, Nueva Ecija, as well as the threats to the coastal and marine resources of Panaon Island, Southern Leyte.

Ms. Cherry Rose Montojo, Development Program Specialist of USAID, began with thanking Peace Corps Philippines and SESAM-UPLB for collaborating in this training. She also urged the participants to take advantage of this training in order for them to map out plans for their respective local natural resources.  In his opening message, Mr. Milosil Cruz, Response Program Manager of Peace Corps Philippines, enjoined the trainees to actively participate and always keep in mind the objectives of the training. 

Meanwhile, Dr. Rico C. Ancog, Dean of SESAM, introduced SESAM as the institution that champions environmental conservation and management. “We believe in the importance of biodiversity, especially in working with the academic institution”, he added.  In the afternoon, Dr. Ancog set the stage by his lecture on the State-of-the-Art of Biodiversity Assessment: Challenges, Policies, and General Directions. 

The second day of the training highlighted lectures on terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity. Professor Pastor L. Malabrigo, Jr. of the UP Los Baños College of Forestry and Natural Resources (UPLB-CFNR) discussed the biodiversity assessment of terrestrial flora; while Mr. Gil Gabriel S. Villancio of SESAM tackled biodiversity monitoring of terrestrial fauna and focused on arthropods and vertebrates. Dr. Maria Theresa M. Mutia, Chief Science Research Specialist at the Department of Agriculture-National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (DA-NFRDI), lectured on biodiversity assessment of inland aquatic resources, particularly in rivers and lakes.

The lectures during the third day focused on biodiversity assessment of coastal and marine resources and an overview of biodiversity and spatial analysis via Geographic Information System (GIS). Dr. Badi R. Samaniego, Assistant Professor at SESAM, concentrated on corals, while Dr. Hildie Maria E. Nacorda, Associate Professor at SESAM discussed about sea grasses. Dr. Eduardo C. Calzeta, also an Assistant Professor at SESAM, facilitated a hands-on exercise on GIS after his lecture about the software.

The capacity building is an activity of the UPLBSESAM Continuing Education and Training Division for the furtherance of the School’s extension function through two of CETD’s thematic focus areas. One relates to environmental capacity building and technical assistance provided to several clienteles, such as national government agencies, local government units, academe, non-government organizations, private sector, and other stakeholders. The other is on building partnerships, cooperation, and linkages with an aim to promote environmental advocacies and initiatives that could help provide solutions to environmental problems. The five focus areas of CETD form part of the Sustainability and Accelerated Innovation in Learning and Solution (SAILS) Strategic Framework that guides SESAM in the delivery of meaningful instruction, research, extension, and administrative services benefiting the society and the environment.

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