Mangrove Planting with 3rd Graders

My girl and her fellow third graders had the opportunity to travel to a mangrove forest in a remote area in Lian, Batangas. This educational trip was part of their unit study about “Exploring What We Can Do For the Regions” for Social Studies. The field trip was done in collaboration with the Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation (www.ptfcf.org) and Lian Kingfisher Association. I was one of the parent-volunteers and I'm excited to share our experience with you!

"As explorers, the students will learn about the importance of mangrove forests to the coastal communities. More importantly, this field trip highlights the importance of civic engagement as our children will have the opportunity to do something good for the environment and the community. They will be participating in cleaning the coast and planting seedlings to rehabilitate the mangrove forests in Lian." - Grade 3 Social Science faculty

The whole batch, together with their teachers, school aides, parents, and Red Cross personnel left the school campus at 5am last February 8 and made our way to the Mangrove Park in Barangay Lumaniag, Sitio Kay Reyna in Lian, Batangas

The weather was perfect that day and travel time was faster than anticipated. After a few stops on the road, we arrived at our destination around half past 8 and the teachers immediately facilitated the activities.

Ang ganda ng beach! The coastline was clean and well-protected by the community. Naturally, I took lots of photos of the beautiful and serene seascape. 

We were basureros for a day as we all walked down the shore and started to collect trash along the way. While the beach looked pristine, we were still surprised to see odd pieces of trash washed ashore or buried in mud. May mga old t-shirt, plastic and foil wrappers in different sizes, cans and bottles, etc. 

The kids were all very cooperative and had no qualms getting their hands dirty. The staff was prepared with garbage bags, and also distributed disposable gloves just to be safe.

We managed to make our way towards the mangroves, but as you can see, all of us struggled walking through the wetlands. Some spots can go from ankle to knee deep. Generally, the water is clear.

Sugod na lang ng sugod, even us parents had to rough it out while helping the kids. Parang naglalakad sa quick sand, with feet getting stuck in the mud, hahaha... =)

This is the second year for the school to bring 3rd graders to this mangrove conservation site. It will take decades for mangroves to grow like trees. The large patch of mature mangroves you see here are about 20 years old na daw.

Ano ba talaga ang mangroves?
A mangrove is a shrub or small tree that grows in coastal saline or brackish water. The term is also used for tropical coastal vegetation consisting of such species. - Wikipedia

Mangrove seedlings were distributed and the children planted them in the designated areas with so much enthusiasm. Before this trip, the kids were already taught the importance of mangroves and it's role in environment conservation. Everything they learned in the classroom was reinforced by this planting activity.

Why are Mangroves important?
  • Protect coastlines / shorelines from storms, waves, strong winds and floods
  • Help prevent erosion
  • Help maintain water quality and clarity by trapping and filtering pollutants
  • Mangrove forests are home to several species of plants and animals

Read more about the importance and benefits of mangroves here: www.denr.gov.ph/news-and-features/latest-news/52-mangrove-forests.html

Magtanim ay 'di biro talaga! Here's M planting her seedling on the mudflats.

Look at some of the marine life we spotted. Can you identify these?

After the seedlings were planted, we took another path going back to the cabanas. This time, we walked through cane fields.

Mission accomplished. 
Everything went as planned and finished earlier than expected. The kids washed and changed before they answered their trip sheet and Q&A portion with the fishermen.

Click here to watch a short clip of our group as we crossed the brackish water with mangroves. =)

There's no better way to learn than actual hands-on experience. I am very happy that the children was able to apply what they learned in environment conservation, and contribute to the mangrove forest and the community in their own little way. I am thankful to the school for planning an enriching activity that makes learning more fun and meaningful. This was one unforgettable adventure. Nag-enjoy din ako kahit nakakapagod! What an awesome experience for everyone!

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