Increasing environmental awareness in the youth has been one of the major priorities of PRRCFI. The Danjugan Island Environmental Education Program (DEEP), funded by the Foundation of the Philippine Environment (FPE), endeavors to teach Biodiversity Conservation, Sustainable Development, Climate Change Issues and Values to teachers and elementary/highschool students of Cauayan, Sipalay and Hinobaan municipalities in Southern Negros. These are where the last remaining good coral reefs in Negros Occidental remain. Funded by the Foundation of the Philippine Environment (FPE), DEEP seeks to address the constraints to marine and wildlife conservation that haunt most if not the entire Philippines.
Applying PRRCFI’s pioneering Youth Marine and Wildlife Camps in an excellent natural classroom that is Danjugan Island, DEEP attempts to embed Conservation Education into the youth who may one day, as their fathers and forefathers, depend on natural resources for livelihood. DEEP attempts to inspire to teach students to be stewards of the environment.
The DEEP was implemented starting June 2011. In the two years that it was executed, it aimed to address the shortcomings of environment education by delivering modules on biodiversity, marine and terrestrial wildlife awareness, climate change adaptation and mitigation, sustainability, and principles of responsible ecological stewardship to select public school teachers, students, barangay councils, and BLGUs.
To date the program has reached out to at least 14 schools in the project sites, over 800 elementary and high school students, and over 50 barangay officials from 3 BLGUs.
At least 25 science teachers from across these schools were trained on the use of conservation education materials like the DEEP Teachers Manual and how to conduct field and science activities outside of the classroom setting. Through these workshops the teachers also learned how to execute marine and wildlife awareness camps and were able to later on facilitate the delivery of various modules during student camps.
In the course of the two years, 24 educational camps were also conducted for students from select schools across the project sites. These camps were conducted by the trained teachers and aided by DEEP staff. Best Camper awardees from these camps would later on return to help facilitate other camps.
Members of the LGUs that were participants of the program also developed work plans to implement marine protected areas and more effective solid waste management plans in their communities.
The success of DEEP is evident in the greatly positive response and continued support of the Department of Education in Region VI, which has also recognized DEEP as an official co-curricular program for schools in the SNCDP area.