By Jennifer C. Tilos
NEGROS ORIENTAL, Dumaguete City, Nov 6 (PIA)–The Save Philippine Seas (SPS) in partnership with the U.S. Embassy Manila, is looking for Negrense youth leaders aged 18 to 23 and passionate about marine conservation to participate in a regional Sea and Earth Advocates (SEA) Camp on April 27 to May 3 next year.
“SEA Camp: Empowering youth as leaders in conservation,” according to SPS Communications Officer Anna Helen Yap aims to give young people a platform to play bigger roles in conservation of marine life.
The organizer identified three regional camps in the country which include the municipality of Siaton, Negros Oriental for Visayas region, Batangas in Luzon on April 15-21, and Tawi-Tawi in Mindanao on May 9-May 15. The national culminating camp will be in Calamianes, Palawan on June 11-15.
Some 30 youth-representatives from each region will be chosen from the pool of interested applicants, making 90 participants in the Philippines.
All chosen camp sites, including Siaton, are Marine Key Biodiversity Areas and Ecosystems Improved for Sustainable Fisheries (ECOFISH) Project areas.
This is a USAID-funded project that aims to reform the fisheries sector through an application of ecosystem-based fisheries management.
Yap said the Philippines is recognized as the “center of marine biodiversity” in the world, being home to about 300 species of coral and nearly 60% of the world’s known shore fish. Many of these are threatened or endangered due to overfishing, destructive fishing methods, pollution, and unsustainable tourism practices.
She said to conserve, protect, and restore the country’s marine resources, the Filipino youth must be recognized not just as leaders of tomorrow, but also as leaders of today.
The SEA Camp will bring together 30 participants in each region. They will spend five days immersed in fun and educational activities like workshops, fieldwork, panel discussions, snorkeling, and mural painting.
Participants will also have the chance to take PADI’s Discover Scuba Diving course for free. All travel, accommodation and activity costs for the camp will be covered.
At the end of each regional camp, the SEA camp youth will present a project proposal geared towards coastal and marine conservation to a panel of judges.
The top 10 proposals will receive funding to help implement their projects with assistance and guidance from local partners and SPS.
All the regional representatives with projects will once again gather for the national culminating SEA Camp in June to give updates about their accomplishments. They will also have the chance to receive additional funding to take their projects further.
Interested youths may download the applications and requirement at www.savephilippineseas.org/seacamp. All applications must be emailed on or before December 23, 2014. (mbcn/JCT/PIA7-Negros Oriental/Article was first published at PIA website on Nov. 6, 2014)