Now on its fourth year, the annual environmental awareness beach camp happens on January 19-20, 2019 at the Pawikan Conservation Center (PCC) in Bataan.
Organized by Climber, a Manila-based NGO armed with the mission to educate people in the responsible use of the outdoors, this eco-centric event is aimed at creating awareness on the condition and plight of the sea turtles, or the pawikan, as an endangered species.
According to Ronald “Fader” Fabon, Climber officer and event co-lead, "The concept behind this event is anchored on our aim to provide not only relevant information but also real-world activities to better understand the sea turtles.”
Since its inception in 2016, the Save the Sea Turtles event has proven itself as an instrument in educating its hundreds of participants, who get to have fun at the beach while being immersed in environmental endeavors. “Through the event, we have been able to engage people in understanding the sea turtles,” mused Fader, who is an avid outdoor enthusiast.
“The success we achieved during the last three years allowed us to sustain the project and kept us motivated to pursue it,” enthused Ramon “Jay Z” Jorge, also a Climber officer who co-leads the event with Fader. He also added that their endeavor has been able to help PCC in its thrust to protect the sea turtles through education.
PCC is a community-based organization whose purpose is to rescue, protect and propagate the sea turtles. It is located about 160km west of Manila in the Philippines.
“Sea turtles play an important role in our marine ecosystem, but their number is dwindling due to human-initiated causes, such as illegal trade of meat, eggs and shell, not to mention entanglement and ingestion of trash,” stressed Fader. Five major types of sea turtles (olive ridley, loggerhead, hawksbill, green and leather back) are found in Philippine seas. The center’s objective is to increase their number by protecting freshly laid eggs from harm and bringing them into the hatchery facility.
“Highlights of the two-day, overnight event would be an experience for participants to be part of the sea turtle night watchers and the release of baby sea turtles into the open seas,” according to Jay Z. He noted that these two events are the most highly anticipated parts of the event.
However, he was quick to stress that, “We cannot guarantee that all participants would be able to release baby sea turtles on January 19-20, 2019 because it is contingent on the number of eggs that would hatch or the number of baby sea turtles ready for release on said dates.
Other activities that participants would get to enjoy include beach camp setup, setting of expectations, a Leave No Trace Awareness Workshop, sunset viewing, and a lecture on sea turtle conservation and protection. Capping the event would be the closing and awarding ceremony.
As part of the team’s adherence to and practice of the Leave No Trace principles, all participants are advised to bring packed lunch on Day 1 and bring easy-to-prepare meals. Further, to avoid adding burden to the PCC’s personnel, all participants must pack in, pack out all trash. The basic mantra in responsible outdoor activities would be at work during the two-day event: Bring your trash after the activity.
The event costs Php1,800, which includes round-trip van/bus transportation, instructors’ fee, event certificate, camping fee, use of facilities, sea turtle night patrol, release of one (1) sea turtle (subject to availability).
“Providing the participants with an overview on sea turtles would create awareness, but our fervent hope is to translate that awareness into actions,” concluded Fader.
Visit the event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/125862331641669/
Save the Sea Turtles Year 4