“Ang layunin talaga ng Junior Earth Warrior training ay talagang simulan natin ang adbokasiya ng pagmamahal para sa kalikasan habang sila ay bata pa.” (The primary aim of the Junior Earth Warrior training is to instill in these kids to advocate for the environment while they’re still young).

This is what Jen Deomano-Santos, Program Director of Bantay Kalikasan (BK), highlighted after conducting the Junior Earth Warrior training at the La Mesa Ecopark together with the students of Concepcion Integrated School. Almost 60 elementary students proved that at their young age, they can already contribute on saving the environment.

Bantay Kalikasan has been conducting Earth Warrior trainings to different communities all over the Philippines. It aims to educate people about the importance of preserving and protecting the environment. In their 20 years of training, it is their first time to engage elementary students in this exciting and worthwhile activity.

The first part of their training focused on a mini discussion about the different elements present in the environment and how they can take care of them in their own way. The kids actively participated as they shared their ideas about the topic. In order to make them appreciate nature more, BK also conducted a tree-planting activity where they planted Malapapaya seedlings.

The Junior Earth Warrior training also included basic swimming, first-aid, and vermicomposting lessons. They were encouraged to share their learnings to their friends and family. “Ipaparinig ko po sa mga kaibigan ko kung ano po yung tinuro po sa amin at tuturuan ko rin po sila,” said Rio Lumbo, an 11-year old Grade 6 student. (I will share with my friends all the things I have learned in this training.)

Aside from raising the students’ environmental awareness, the training aims to create camaraderie within the group since the participants came from different grade levels. To achieve this, they had an eco-amazing race that taught them teamwork, cooperation, and sportsmanship. They were also trained to be resourceful, to follow instructions, and to respect their teammates.

Prior to this Earth Warrior training, Concepcion Integrated School has been a partner of ABS-CBN Foundation in the linear park and community development project of Bantay Kaliksan at Tumana-Malanday, Marikina in partnership with Sunlife Foundation, Inc., Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission and the local government of Marikina.

Jen Deomano-Santos expressed her appreciation to all the participants who spent their Saturday preserving the environment. “Kami talaga ay tuwang-tuwa sa lahat ng kabataang nakasama namin at nakasali dito sa Junior Earth Warrior training sa araw na ito. Sana talaga ay kanilang naisapuso ang mga pag-aaral, leksyon at konsepto.” (We are happy for all the kids who joined this Junior Earth Warrior Training. I hope they will put into action all that they have learned.)

At the end of the day, they achieved their goal to become the first ever Junior Earth Warriors, proving that the act of saving the environment knows no age and can be enjoyed by kids like them. “Sa lahat, sana pangalagaan niyo yung kalikasan. Sa bagong henerasyon, pangalagaan niyo po yung kalikasan para po may magamit pa po sa future,” John Gabriel Cuadra, a Grade 6 student, called out to his fellow youth. (I hope everyone will take care of the environment. I hope the new generation will take care of it too so future generations can still benefit from it.)