By Erwin G. Beleo/mb.com.ph – A 12-year-old and Grade 6 student, James Daryll Rey, has been chosen by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to be its “ambassador” to tell the whole world the most pressing message — to preserve the forest and save Mother Earth.
Paquito Moreno Jr., regional director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 1, said James Daryll is a son of an upland farmer and a pupil of the Nagyubuyuban Elementary School in this city. The Young Earth Ambassadortitle was conferred by the FAO through the “Yakap Kalikasan,” a non-governmental organization.
Moreno added that becoming the newest “ambassador” of FAO reflects the people’s initiative and concerted effort to save and preserve the remaining forest.
Rey will be sent to address multisectoral groups within the country and overseas to narrate how he successfully led the community, even at a young age, to take action for the preservation and conservation of forests.
“(Rey) spoke before delegates of the Asia Pacific Forestry Week Conference in Clark, Pampanga,” said Moreno.
The young “ambassador”shared his “daring” initiatives and efforts in persuading his parents to stop their charcoal business, enlisting the support of his teachers, swaying local politicians to join his advocacy, and leading the whole community to save the fading forest in their barangay.
La Union has 29,002 hectares of forest land. From 2011 to 2015, 5,634 hectares were reforested with a total of 4,297,967 trees planted, according to the records of the National Greening Program (NGP) of DENR Region 1.
Led by the kid ambassador, the Kabataang Green Warriors, composed of youth whose parents used to be engaged in kaingin, reforested the denuded areas of barangay Nagyubuyuban and presently manages a tract of mini-forest planted with ipil-ipil, narra, and acacia.
“We didn’t inherit Mother Earth from our forefathers, we borrowed it from our children,” said Moreno even as he acknowledged the Kids-to-Forest-Program (K2F) of the YakapKalikasan describing it as “awakening and empowering the children for forest management and sustainable environment.”
Moreno said Rey was a product of the K2F program instilling awareness among children the importance of forests and encouraging them to take action in preserving the forests for the coming generation.
Meanwhile, Yakap Kalikasan, the regional offices here of the Department of Education (DepEd) and DENR — in coordination with Don Mariano Marcos State University — have selected eight schools located in upland barangays of this city as beneficiaries of the K2F program.
The schools — Sacyud Elem. School, La Union National High School-Sacyud Annex, Pao Elem. School, Pao National High School, Bangbangolan Elem. School, Bangbangolan National High School, Parparya Elem. School and Nagyubuyuban Elem. School — will be receiving information, education and communication materials and books.
The students will also be exposed to interactive learning, video showing, lecture, and discussion to further build awareness, instill appreciation on the importance of forest, and to contribute to a sustainable management of the environment.
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