World Wetlands Day Celebration in Naujan Lake, Oriental Mindoro
February 2 of every year– The World Wetlands Day is being celebrated. In Oriental Mindoro, various activities were undertaken in celebration of it at Naujan Lake National Park (NLNP).
This 2015, in collaboration with different public and private sectors including Biodiversity and Watersheds Improved for Stronger Economy and Ecosystem Resilience (B+WISER), Mindoro Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, Inc. (MBCFI), Haribon Foundation and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as the prime agency, another breakthrough for the promotion of NLNP was conducted. There were series of events that materialized from Feb. 1 to 3, starting from Coastal clean-up activity which was participated by students and teachers, residents and Brgy. Officials as well as LGUs, and the representatives from Department of Education, Provincial Government of Oriental Mindoro and PAMB members.
Bird Watching activity was conducted on Feb. 02 (second day) which was participated by teachers deputized as Eco-Rangers coming from the different schools within the municipalities covering NLNP. Thousands of Wandering Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna arcuate) has been seen and counted. Also, several frequently observed bird species were found such as Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea), Intermediate Egret (Egretta intermedia). Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula), Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybridus), Osprey (Pandion haliaeetus), White-collared Kingfisher (Halcyon chloris), White-browed Crake (Porzana cinerea). Subsequently, a symposium facilitated by Mr. Edgar Genabe – Municipal Planning and Development Coordinator of Pola was conducted. DENR Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer, Mary June F. Maypa gave a message wherein she emphasized the hardships and efforts of those individuals behind the success of the said event.
Mr. Karl Villegas of B+WISER presented the DENR-USAID-B+WISER Program in NLNP and some interventions that were made for the improvement and protection of the Lake. On the other hand, Dr. Felix Gaschick of B+WISER discussed the Ecosystem Restoration – Landscape Restoration. He emphasized that to protect Naujan Lake, the people must protect first the forest and all water ways from the peak of the mountains down to the lake. Also, Mr. Raul Caceres from B+WISER presented “Hotspots in Bright Spots Campaign.” He gave the difference between hotspots and bright spots and said that with the help of the different stakeholders, those problems such as hotspots can be erased, solved, and turned into bright spots.
Introduction of the flagship species of NLNP, the Philippine Duck (Anas luzonica), locally known as “Papan” was formally executed by Forester Leo G. Capon – Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) of Socorro. After which the criteria and mechanics for the photo contest by Ramsar Convention on World Wetlands Day was discussed and elaborated by Ms. Amy Lecciones of the Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands. Winner of the said contest will be endowed of free trip to one of the Wetlands around the world that he will choose.
There was also a photo exhibit that showcase the different flora and fauna, especially those endemic species found on Naujan Lake. The second day activities formally ended with a commitment signing for the continuous rally for the protection and conservation of the NLNP.
On Feb. 03, 2015, the presentation of the NLNP as a Wetland of International Importance was discussed and attended by students and journalists coming from different academe within the province. It was followed by an impromptu quiz regarding the facts of NLNP and the discussion of the Rewoven Habitats for NLNP by the B+WISER. They presented the Papan as NLNP Mascot and discussed the guidelines for the logo-making contest. Workshop on logo design held next. Furthermore, the overview of Papan Skit competition with the theme “Wetlands for our Future” was successfully accomplished, followed by the awarding of certificates to the winners of different contests and to participants and representatives of different agencies. (N.G.M. JR)