Youth Ecological Camp
for
Agusan Marsh

22-24 June 2011
Provincial Training Center
Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur

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          The Agusan Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary (AMWS) is a declared Protected Area and is one of the most significant wetlands in the Philippines.  It is listed as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention (site no. 1009, effective 12 November 1999).  The AMWS is one of the most important biodiversity sites in the country and is considered as a Key Biodiversity Area (site no. 180).  It is comprised of a vast complex of freshwater marshes and water courses including 59 lakes that collectively act as holding water basin for floodwaters that regularly inundate the Agusan Valley during the northeast monsoon. 

Issues

          Unfortunately, this unique ecosystem is being threatened by a wide range of issues and problems that compromise the ability of the AMWS to sustain these important ecological functions and services, to wit: pollution from mining upstream, wildlife and timber poaching and unregulated in-migration.  On top of these, there is low awareness about the importance of the AMWS among the stakeholders, thus participation in planning, management and decision-making is compromised.

 

Harnessing the Youth for Conservation: 
        The  Youth Ecological Camp

         A strategy for promoting stewardship for Agusan Marsh is through the informed participation of its young generation. The continued awareness campaign and participation of the youth can offer a sustainable approach in the conservation of the lakes biodiversity and culture in the years to come.  This could create wider partnerships that will complement the management efforts of the communities with the local government units in the area.

         Through the Ecological Camp, the youth were taught about conservation concepts and plan and implement school- or community-based projects. These plans are then presented to their respective schools or communities in a Community Forum to solicit their support.

          On 22-24 June 2011, the Youth Ecological Camp for Agusan Marsh was conducted at the Provincial Training Center of Agusan del Sure.   Thirty-three (33) high school students from various schools of Banawan and San Francisco participated in the 3-day eco-camp on 22-24 June 2011.  Participating schools were Bunawan National High School, Agusan del Sur National High School, Buenasuerte National High School, New Visayas National High School and Mount Carmel College.

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