BBNHS lands in World’s Best School in Environmental Action ‘Ilog Ko, Aroen Ko’ or ‘Adopt A River’ project in Dagupan City

Posted in News
July 15, 2022

Bonuan Buquig National High School (BBNHS) in Dagupan City, Pangasinan was recognized as one of the Top 10 in the Environmental Action category of the World’s Best Schools for its more than a decade -long project “Ilog Ko, Aroen Ko”, a mangrove planting project to save Longos. River.

BBNHS participated in Environmental Action which highlighted its environmental project for more than a decade — the Ilog Ko, Aroen Ko (IKAK): Mangrove Planting Project.

This endeavor was launched in 2010 by BBNHS former Science teacher, now principal of West Central ES, Willy U. Guieb with the support of the former principal Juan Reyes. This aimed to replace the lost mangroves along the riverbanks, rehabilitate and stabilize Longos River, provide valuable habitats and shelter value to the river.

BBNHS World Best School,in Environmental Project

The school community’s environmental efforts for more than a decade were finally recognized! Thank you T4 Education Best School Prizes! We share this achievement to all who extended their efforts and support to our environmental movement. Let us continue this endeavor and inspire more people to be Juan Bakawan- Join us, and be Juan!

In 2009, Typhoon Pepeng devastated Pangasinan destroying fisheries, farms, and buildings throughout the province. Dredging and clean-up became the local government’s solution to reduce subsequent floods. As a result, it was found that the river was full of various debris, so declogging was also carried out to improve the flow of water in the Longos River.

However, the school noticed that the disappearance of mangroves along the coast had affected the environment. When the mangroves disappeared, the river heated up causing the natural resources here to die. As a result, the citizens lost their livelihood resulting in many absences of students living near the river because they had to help their parents ’livelihood.

To address the problem caused by the destruction of the river, the school launched the said mangrove planting project to revitalize the Longos River, provide livelihood and beautiful scenery for all.

Ilog Ko, Aroen Ko” started in 2010 and BBNHS has currently planted 50,000 mangrove seedlings in the river. As such, they are one of the schools recognized by T4 Education under the Environmental Action category that honors schools that teach love for nature and help fight climate change.

BBNHS Tree Planting

According to the Principal of the school Dr. Renato Santillan, if the school wins the World’s Best Schools honor, they will use the prize to further extend the program by building a mangrove nursery to also implement the program in other rivers in Dagupan.

In 2012, with the leadership of the former principal, now SDO Dagupan’s Chief in the Curriculum Implementation Division Maria Linda R. Ventenilla, the movement was extended to activities like the coastal clean-up, waste management, tree planting, ang green camp. Moreover, partnership was intensified among stakeholders. Ventinilla’s passion for this endeavor gave birth to PISH Project (Planteatable/Plantreatable in Schools and Homes) which made all the learners, teachers, and DepEd officials and staff plant some edible and medicinal plant varieties at home and in school during the pandemic.

BBNHS Tree Planting3

For more than a decade, the IKAK project was sustained by the succeeding principals of BBNHS. At present, with the leadership and initiative of Renato R. Santillan, the mangrove planting activity was done twice a year and extended to planting shady trees like ‘Salisay’, Mahogany, Narra, and some fruit bearing tress.

We are deeply humbled to be one of the top 10 shortlisted world’s best schools for environmental action. The school community’s efforts for more than a decade were finally recognized. This inspired us to continue loving and protecting our Mother Earth,” said Santillan.

BBNHS is highly motivated to continuously live by its mantra, “Sa Buquig, May Pagibig” which is also devoted to Mother Earth. It continuously advocates and expands its environmental movement through planting varieties of trees and launching environmental research focusing on Mangroves, Waste Management, and River and Ocean Care.

T4 Education’s World Best School for Environmental Action recognizes the importance of youth, students, and schools in climate action that engage with solutions for global warming and climate crisis.

Meanwhile, the World’s Best School Prizes will choose top three winners from the ten finalists in each category in October 2022.

World’s Best School Prize for Environmental Action

From treasuring water to re-foresting. From carbon zero to repurposing. From green in the core to leadership for change. Recognising the schools which are acting forth climate change in these and other ways by having the students powering through the intricacies of change.

Top 10 shortlisted schools for Environmental Action

  1. Alqubaiba High Elementary Girls School – North West Jerusalem, Palestine
  2. Bonuan Buquig National High School – Dagupan City, Philippines
  3. Ecole Secondaire Lacombe Composite High School – Lacombe, Canada
  4. Escuela Técnica N°8 Paula Albarracín de Sarmiento – Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, Argentina
  5. GEMS Legacy School – Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  6. Green School Bali – Bali, Indonesia
  7. Institución Educativa El Castillo – Barrancabermeja, Colombia
  8. International School of Zug and Luzern – Zug, Switzerland
  9. Laboratory of Special Vocational Education of Agios Dimitrios – Athens, Greece
  10. Nachitukula Primary School – Phalombe, Malawi

Why a school stepped in to save the mangroves

Bonuan Buquig National High School, a public secondary school in Dagupan City, Philippines, decided to take action to replant lost mangroves to reverse the environmental devastation impacting its students who mostly live near fish ponds and coastal areas.

In 2009, Typhoon Pepeng left two-thirds of Dagupan City submerged in flood water. Fishponds, rice fields, and other industries in the community were heavily damaged. The city government of Dagupan, aware of its geographical challenges on land that is only one metre above sea level, started dredging rivers to reduce the impact of the flood, but it came with unintended consequences.

The mangroves died off as a result, exposing the rivers to the direct heat of the sun and killing off aquatic life essential to the ecosystem. Fish, crabs and other shellfish disappeared from the rivers. Students and their families relied on catching fish to eat. With their main source of sustenance gone, many students went absent from class as they had to work to support their families.

Bonuan Buquig National High School took action to support its students and save the local environment. Galvanising over a hundred volunteers, it plants thousands of mangrove propagules each year and has provided new habitats and shelter for fish. As a result, the mangroves along the Longos river banks are nearly rehabilitated and stabilised.

The school also initiated an International Coastal Clean-up in 2014, working with volunteers to clean the shorelines of Bonuan Beach. Collected garbage was then classified and accounted for to determine the number of biodegradable and non-biodegradable materials. Recyclable materials were upcycled as garden pots and decorations. It also planted trees to rehabilitate a local dump site.

If Bonuan Buquig National High School were to win the World’s Best School Prize for Environmental Action, it would use the funds to build a nursery that could house around 50,000 mangrove seedlings a year and push much-needed research  to improve the techniques and technology on Mangrove propagation and preservation.

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