The Haribon Spawns

I was roving around Facebook looking for volunteering opportunities when I came across Biodiversity on Wheels (BOW) under The Haribon Foundation (THF). Boy, was I happy! THF was looking for kind souls — who would want to spend their Valentine’s sharing their love of biodiversity — so my friends and I registered.

Fast forward to 10 February 2016, I learned that we are haribon spawns (eaglet) and of course, THF is the haribon (eagle) itself. For a while, we also became the haribon to the young students and they became our spawns. Am I making any sense?

To further understand, you must know that a haribon continue to guide its spawns until they have acquired the ability to defend their territories and to spread their wings and soar. Likewise, THF taught us facts on biodiversity and guided us on how to become haribons ourselves. This is to enable us to share it with the kids through a participatory activity, hoping they could also be as territorial as an eagle to its home and be as free in spreading love and protection here on earth.

It was a privilege to be entrusted with such task. Too many things happened that day, so I will just mention the experience I had with the third graders.
We were divided into groups of two, and my volunteer partner and I were assigned to the third graders. As expected of kids, they were rowdy and stressful to handle. In the coloring paper handed to each of them, they enthusiastically look for animals and plants we asked them to and painted it as they please while listening to our trivia about it. Some were crying at random, some were rambling the room, and some were playing around; but participative nonetheless.

As a matter of fact, it was all worth it. They were assertive, innocent, sweet, and very excited to learn. They gleefully thanked and hugged us, and uttered their I love you’s. As I kept telling my friend, “It was stressful, but their hugs paid it off!” Some even asked us not to leave, and some asked us to come again — we have attached ourselves so much that it took a long time before we actually stepped out the door. It was overwhelming! Who would have thought that the kids would love us so much for telling them how tall an eagle is and how mamengs turn into men 15 years after their birth?

(I did interact with the fourth graders as well. They were just as awesome but much calmer, and as we went home those who saw me outside the room or school also hugged me.)

I am very, very much thankful to THF for existing. Not only did they introduce me to these wonderful kids, but they also taught me how biodiversity conservation can be revitalized and promoted in a fun manner which will more likely open the eyes of the next generation. Seriously, before we started Ms. Raiza Elumba told us to just let the kids enjoy and so we did!

The Haribon Foundation is the kind of organization every single person who has a heart must join in. The PH biodiversity is not as diverse anymore for it is insecure and fast-dying. I encourage the others to join THF for an easier information dissemination so as to maximize our capacity to be directly involved in their advocacy.