I’ve mentioned in my previous posts that I always make it a point to bring students to the Underground River National Park every year. My main objective is to give the younger generations a sense of pride about the natural resources in Palawan. In addition to that, it serves as a breather for people like me who handle different jobs in a day.
Last school year, I brought a class of environmental students to get the perceptions of tourists on the services being provided in Sitio Sabang, Barangay Cabayugan. It serves as the wharf or portal to the Underground River National Park. I prepared a short questionnaire that the students used in the interview with the tourists.
The questionnaire is divided into three parts: demographic information, features of the park and Sitio Sabang that prompted them to visit the place, and the environmental services that they expect to get from the area. The results showed that most of the tourists have an impression about the quality of the environment in Palawan such as quiet, fresh air, beautiful beaches, and “green”. Most of the tourists were first timers and they were happy about the place.
There are recommendations on the hand that would make their experiences to be more enjoyable and one of these is an automated teller machine (ATM). They said it would be more convenient for them if there is an ATM in Sitio Sabang. Most of the tourists that day bought pearl jewelries and some of them wished to buy more if there was only an ATM they can use.
The short study revealed a lot about the perceptions of the tourists and I would try to publish them one at a time in the next few days.
Today I prepared an exam for my students on environmental monitoring and the coverage of the said exam is about biological indicators or the use of organisms as predictors of alterations or changes in the environment.
There are different kinds of biological monitoring in assessment of the environment. For air quality, lichens are used to predict the changes or the concentrations of pollutants in the atmosphere. A lichen represents a symbiotic relationship between an algae and fungus. They normally appear like green or white patches in the barks of the trees. You have to look closer to notice the branches and leaves of the mini forest.
The colors and shades of a lichen indicate the concentration of pollutants in the air. There are species sensitive to sulfur dioxide and there are species that can tolerate a certain amount of nitrous oxide. Generally, none of them can tolerate longer exposure to SOx and NOx and it may be difficult to spot a lichen in an urban setting.
One of the common lichens found in Sabang,Barangay Cabayugan, Puerto Princesa City
A year ago, I brought my class to Sabang area which serves as the portal to the Underground River National Park. I taught them how to measure and map lichens. The field trip was just to let the students experience first hand how to use biological indicators in the assessment of air quality.
The students during their field exposure.
Everything about the environment are very interesting and as an instructor, I still learn every time I take my students out in the field.
Have you ever been to Palawan? I hope you did because it is such a nice place to visit. Aside from having top tourist destinations, the proper waste disposal is another thing that is worth noting for. It has been the culture in the province since the implementation of the Oplan Linis Program in 1992. The strict implementation resulted to minimized trash in the streets, thus, a clean and green city.
The successful implementation of the program not only improved the waste disposal of the city, but it also changed the behaviour and attitude of the residents as well. Even the younger generations are disciplined and aware as to where to dispose candy wrappers properly. Trash bins are positioned in every corner of the city to ensure easy access for residents and easier collection by the waste management too.
At young age, it is imperative to educate the children on the importance of the environment in general. This reminds me of our accountability in taking care of our natural resources as mentioned in the seven (7) environmental principles listed below:
1. Nature Knows Best.
2. All forms of life are important
3. Everything is connected to everything else
4. Everything changes
5. Everything must go somewhere
6. Ours is a finite earth
7. Nature is beautiful and we are stewards of God’s creation.
Let me also end this article by quoting one of Mahatma Gandhi’s which says,
THE EARTH IS TO PROVIDE EVERY MAN’S NEED AND NOT EVERY MAN’S GREED.
As an educator, it is one of my goals every semester to inculcate a deeper appreciation of the environment to my students. In addition to the lecture inside the classroom, I usually take my students out in the field. One of the destinations is any tourist attraction in the province. I want them to see the attractions for them to be more proud of Palawan. This will help them to have a sense of responsibility to help in maintaining the beauty of the last ecological frontier.
One of the trips was in Sitio Sabang, Barangay Cabayugan, Puerto Princesa City.
This photo is in Sabang, the portal to the Underground River National Park.
The photo shows the part of the long white sand in Sabang area.
And the college students who had so much fun during the field exposure. If you would like to know more about the Underground River National Park, you may click here.