It was in the mid-vacation of the semester when the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Southern Mindanao, Philippines decided to conduct their annual medical-dental outreach program in Pisan, Kabacan, Cotabato, Philippines. The area is one remote area in the municipality with known cave bat habitat with more than 38 caves housing a high number of bat species.
As one of the students in the department, and as I had conducted a study before in the area, I thought for an idea of how I could contribute in a little way with a big impact and one thing comes into my mind –to educate young minds in the area about the biodiversity and importance of bats. The very objective of the educational campaign is to make these locals, especially these young minds, aware of the ecological role of bats in maintaining balance in the environment.
A total of more than thirty young minds (aged 6-12 years old) participated in the educational campaign, and also their parents participated in the program; despite the small budget for the campaign we found ways to make it through. With my classmates and teachers, I conducted a mini-lecture on bats. To add-up their learning on bats, I created a local dialect based educational video entitled ”Ang mga Munting Paniki na Lumilipad” that means “The Little Flying Bats”, the video is composed of information on the importance and ecological role of bats, threats and misconception about these little mammals, and how we can help to save bat populations. The participants also enjoyed the color-a-flying-bat activity.
The program ended with the kids receiving school supplies for the opening of the class. The campaign was indeed a successful start, for it was not only the kids who enjoyed and listened to the lecture, but also their parents and many locals. Despite the many people interested in preserving the bat populations of the site, local hunting is still exisst and this made me dedicate myself to double-up my efforts in research and education in the area. I am looking forward for people who will support with these endeavors to protect these small flying bats.
Krizler’s Outreach Gallery: