Environmental Conservation in the Beautiful Philippines!
The best 3 weeks of my life! Not only have I had the opportunity to travel this beautiful country but I have also contributed to developing a more sustainable future through environmental conservation. I have always had a passion for the preservation of the Environment and have done work in the past to raise environmental awareness and promote eco-friendly practises. From a young age I have wanted to complete volunteer work abroad which focused on environmental preservation so when I got an opportunity to travel to the Philippines and assist with an environmental project, I jumped at the chance.
Travel and Sustainability
On my first week I chose to participate in a cultural immersion week. This was a great opportunity for me to do some travelling within the Philippines, accompanied by my project coordinator who made an excellent tour guide! Throughout the week I learnt about the local culture and got to know fellow participants, who were fun-loving, like-minded individuals.
Thursday was our first day in our project and the coordinator kicked things off with a comprehensive introduction to the project as well as providing training to the participants enabling us to complete the work to the best of our ability. We worked on the mangroves 4 to 5 times a week and during my 3 weeks we planted 5000 seeds of mangroves. Moving between mangroves into the forest was sometimes challenging in the intense heat and we got muddy and wet, but it was so much fun.
Our team was amazing and our coordinator Mary Jane was very friendly and helpful. When we weren’t in the mangroves we cleaned the beach from plastic and other trash, prepared lessons about environmental preservation and presented them in local schools. This was a great opportunity to not only contribute to the preservation of the environment but also share our knowledge with locals in the hope they will continue the good work we have started after we depart. I gained transferable classroom skills and felt a great sense of achievement from sparking much needed discussions surrounding the environment in the classroom.
I also joined construction project for a day. I was really impressed with the work the participants had completed in only a short space of time. This was an opportunity for me to meet more volunteers as well as learn basic building skills and offer my services for a day! We were plastering a wall of the building they built, a building that will become a school soon. A lot of participants helped to make it and I could see from the villager’s faces how much they appreciate the work.
My three weeks were well spent. I learned so much more about mangroves. I fully immersed myself in the vibrant culture of the Philippines and met some great people along the way! I will miss my new international friends from Australia, Netherlands, Germany, Canada, France and England and of course my amazing Filipino friends. Leaving this place and all these beautiful people will be sad but I endeavour to return and complete further environmental work out here!