annual celebration of World Wetlands Day is an ideal venue
for communicating this year's theme Forests
for Water and Wetlands. This also supports the
International Year of the Forest which is being celebrated
in the year 2011. The connection between
forests, water and wetlands is clearly emphasized in the SCPW's enrichment
plantation/reforestation project - the
Rehabilitation of the Arayat Watershed for the
Protection of Candaba Wetlands. This is being
implemented through the "tree-preneurship" approach wherein
the participating upland farmers/families are trained to be
The SCPW celebrated the World Wetlands Day around the
Wetlands Caravan, the evolving CEPA Programme of
for wetland conservation. The celebration this year
had three components: a bird watching
activity, a Community Learning Forum, and a visit to the
tree-preneurs' backyard nurseries at Barangay San Juan Baño.
the event were Ms. Jocelyn Esguerra, the National
Coordinator of United Nations Development Programme - GEF
SGP; Mr. Leovino Ignacio, Provincial Environment and
Natural Resources Officer of Pampanga; Mr. Ruel Nucup,
President of the Maria Sinukuan
Upland Farmers Association; Ms. Joy Isla and Ms. Liza Vengco of the Unilever
Minerva Martinez of the Protected Wildlife Services of
Department of Environment and Natural Resources - Region
3; and Mr. Rommel Santiago, the Protected Area
Superintendent for the
Mount Arayat National Park. Also participating
was Dr. Llewellyn Young, the Ramsar Regional Advisor for Asia
and the Pacific.
The celebration started with a bird watching at the Candaba
The Candaba Swamp is
important in the flood control for the downstream Pampanga
River. It acts as a natural flood retention basin during rainy
season, holding the overflow from the smaller rivers, then
drains into the larger Pampanga River.
The swamp is an
important staging and wintering area for thousands of migratory
birds. Birds, such as
seven purple swamphens (Porphyrio porphyrio), Chinese
pond herons (Ardeola bacchus), and black-crowned
night-herons (Nycticorax nycticorax) are among of the
species sighted in the area. In 1982, about 100,000 ducks (Anatidae)
were observed in a single day, a record for any site in the
Because of its biodiversity,
to protect the area, the swamp has
been declared a bird sanctuary, under close monitoring by the
DENR and the local government. Regulations include a
permanent ban on hunting and strict management of land use.
more pictures of the bird watching
Assembly Place of Maria Sinukuan Upland Farmers Asso.
than a hundred upland farmers in Mount Arayat gathered for the Community Learning Forum
held at the assembly place of the Maria Sinukuan Upland
Farmers Association. It aimed to
increase the awareness and appreciation of the local
population on the importance of the Arayat forest
cover in the maintenance of the ecosystem integrity
of the Arayat-Candaba watershed.
Dr. Simplicia Pasicolan of
the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (also a
Member of the SCPW Board of Trustees), the resource speaker,
discussed the topic "Forests and Wetlands: The
Wetland-Forest Connection", specifically the Mount
Arayat - Candaba Wetlands connection.
more pictures of the forum
San Juan Baño, Arayat, Pampanga
visit to the backyard nurseries of the tree-preneurs was the third component of the
celebration. This was ended by an
Open Forum where concerns and problems encountered by tree-preneurs
in their backyard nursery development were raised and openly discussed.
Mr. Bienvenido Martin of the Department of Environment and
Natural Resources and Ms. Amy Lecciones of the Society for
the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands facilitated the community interaction.
more pictures of the visit