CyberFair Project ID: 1938

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Agoho Marine Park and Sanctuary
Category: 7. Environmental Awareness
Bibliography: No bibliography page cited

School: Catanduanes State Colleges
    Virac, Catanduanes, Philippines

18 students, ages from 15 to 16 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 30, 2002. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 0 (first time 2002)

Classes and Teachers: Prof. Maria S. Tugano, Ms. Sonia R. Vargas

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Our local community is Catanduanes which is an island province in the eastern part of the Philippine archipelago. San Andres, one of its eleven towns, is situated along the coasts of Lagunoy gulf and Maqueda channel. Fishing ranks second to farming as the main source of livelihood. Unfortunately, due to continued over fishing, through legal and illegal means, the marine resources have been depleted, along the Agojo, San Andres municipal waters in particular. The coral reefs have been destroyed and the mangroves deforested. As a result, the fish catch has diminished. And the fishermen have remained as poor as ever.

With the establishment of the Marine Park and Sanctuary, these conditions have been greatly improved, and now the community is savouring the benefits of their coordinated efforts.

2. Summary of Our Project

This is a research on the management and conservation practices adopted in Agojo Marine Park and Sanctuary in San Andres, Catanduanes. We wish to determine its: scenario setting before the establishment of the Marine Park and Sanctuary - biodiversity status and coastal resources fishery reserve and minor fishery products from the sanctuary natural phenomenal pres-sure/threats exploitation issues and the socio-economic impact of the sanctuary. The main aim for this website is to advocate a campaign on the importance of the sanctuary and fuse all memebers of the community, particularly the youths to make them more vigilant stakeholders in the preservation of our coastal and marine resources. Through this we can promote tourism, alternative education, unity in conservation/sustainability and awareness of the significance of these resources.

3. Our Computer and Internet Access

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:21-50%

B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:4-6

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:not sure

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:2-3

E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):

We had free internet access in CATNET ( Catanduanes Internet Network ) so cost was not a problem.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

Two major problems were sighted in the completion of the project. Several equipments are needed in gathering the data to be used in the study and we lack most of the said facilities. We do not have our own underwater camera and the number of snorkeling units is very limited. The place of study is almost 20 km. away from the participating school, therefore transportation is another barrier in conducting the research. However, we have managed to come up with a very good report due to the resourcefulness of the students. We borrowed some of the equipments from the school and the local government. The expenses on transportation and other facilities was shouldered by the the Catanduanes Internet Network.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

Yes, Catanduanes Can!

6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

Our school offers Science, Math and Technology Curriculum which integrates environmental issues and concerns in all Science and Technology subjects. Research is offered to third and fourth year students with Computer, Journalism and Expository Writing as elective academic subjects.

The activities for this Cyber Fair project are very good avenues for strengthening our skills in communication, journalism, science and research processes, and information technology. The knowledge in photo editing, internet, web development, use of digital cameras which we acquired while developing the project are much needed skills to perform well in our subjects.

Using the internet for teaching and learning was novel for both the teachers and students. Being such, it resulted to increased motivation and participation in the process. Doing a new thing is exciting and learning from it is rewarding. Internet is really a breakthrough towards the so called borderless education.

The conduct of interviews among local and national officials, fisher folks and bay watch members, and actual visit to the project site, has enabled us to appreciate the richness of our marine resources and feel the need of conservation and protection efforts for these ecosystems.

Consequently, we benchmarked our awareness through Beach and Coastal Clean-Up Activity in our Science Technology and Environment Camp sponsored by the schools Science Club where students from neighboring high schools in the province are invited to attend.

The research activity of the project enabled us to write articles for our school paper. Features of our endemic marine life that includes among others, the coral reefs, the fish and mangroves species and seaweed culture were highlighted.

Above all these, the spirit of volunteerism enkindled in us, we worked collaboratively with our science faculty professors in this community extension service program on Environmental Education and Coastal Resource Management.

Project Elements

1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?

The following tools were valuable in making observations without which no data will be available for processing into the web:

* Mobile phones - personal handheld and handy tool of the participants for communication.

* Tape recorders - records actual interviews with different people as source of primary information.

* Digital Camera - documents activities and catch scenic spots like mangrove plantation.

* Telephones - a landline tool for communication used when scheduling appointment interview with office heads.

* Snorkeling kits - used in making observations of coral beds, fish species and other marine resources. A number of these units was lent to the researchers by Ms. Lani Belmonte, snorkeling club adviser of San Andres Vocational School.

* Interview guide - used during personal interviews with resource persons.

* Questionnaire - used in the socio-economic impact assessment of the sanctuary.

* Libraries - source of reference materials in printed form like books, manuals, magazines and newspapers.

The following software and other technical equipments at the CatNet were most helpful and valuable technologies in organizing, designing, completing, uploading and finally submitting our CyberFair Project Entry:

* Adobe Photoshop 5.5 - used to design, edit images/pictures that were gathered.

* Scanners - scans pictures which are acceptable to Adobe Photoshop 5.5.

* Googles Search Engine - used to search information and data found in the net.

* Macromedia Dreamweaver 4.0 - the software used to create this website.

* Corel Draw 10 - used for logo editing and map illustration.

* - used for uploading the website.

2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.

We obtained information from personal interviews, direct observation and by reading resource materials from various offices in town. In the process we explained, we need facts for our CyberFair project. A number of professors, environmentalists, local head of offices were very willing to assist us, a gesture of approval of our efforts to advocate conservation of our marine resources. Community dwellers were informed of the project through questionnaires. Last March 5,2002 when our school was being accredited, the chairman of the accreditation team, Dr. Nilo Culinares, vice-president of the University of Eastern Philippines, interviewed two third year student researchers of the project. During the interview, Dr. Culinares asked them why they preferred Agojo Marine Park and Sanctuary and what progress was made on the project. Though somewhat nervous, they answered his questions well. Impressed he may be, he simply smiled at the two leaving them the words: " Were your answers somehow choreographed? ". Though surprised, the students unwaveringly but respectfully answered: " Oh, sir! It's definitely not! ". Satisfied with the answer, he beamed and extended his hand to them and said: " If you speak the truth, and I know you really are, then let me congratulate you in advance for you can be the next valedictorian your companion the next salutatorian. I'm betting on it." Elated and flattered, the two gratefully shook hands with him. Dr. Marilyn Cardoso, another accreditor from Samar State Polytechnic College, also said: " Indeed, your school is already advanced in implementing environmental programs than ours. In fact, ours is just beginning." In less than a month's time, we learned our college passed the Level 2 accreditation. Engr. Luis Surtida, from the Provincial Planning and Development Office, impressed of the project commented that it is a very good undertaking for students like us.

3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

Our group was able to acquire data from environmentalists, public officials and community dwellers in the area.This enriched our knowledge as well as the people we have interconnected with and created awareness among the people to protect the environment for future generation. Appreciation of alternative education given to the dwellers in terms of trainings, seminars and workshops has increased. Our project also strengthened the advocacy campaign for marine resources conservation among the general public. It served as avenue for redirecting leisure activities of the youth from self-destructive to life-sustaining ones. A snorkels club was organized, which has radiated to a number of youths in the community who voluntarily joined the conservation endeavor. There was also an increase in the number of volunteers who joined and supported the SEEd program (Sustainable Ecosystem thru Education Program) of the school, a community extension service designed to promote environmental management among the barangays by implementing pro-environmental projects. With the help of other organizations such as the PSYSC Club, and the Coastal Resource Management, CSC Lab HS Chapter, many among the youths are now more vigilant in safeguarding our marine resources. We have also uncovered the appropriate sustainability efforts of Multi-Sectoral stakeholders that make Agojo Marine Sanctuary as one of the best in the Philippines. The sense of responsiveness and the value for environmental conservation of the stakeholders are commendable. These information shared, will shed light to failing initiatives for marine sanctuary establishments in many parts of the country if not the whole world. These we are proud to let our counterparts in the cyberfair competition also know, aside from the rich endemic marine resources we have in this island part of the Philippines, a paradise place for snorklers and scuba divers , an outdoor laboratory for natural and environmental science classes.

4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

The Agojo Community-Oriented Mangrove Development Organization (ACOMDO), an NGO and the barangay officials helped us expands our knowledge of the current status of resources and the socio-economic impact of the Sanctuary. They aided us make the project a success. Mr. Rolly Canada, a licensed SCUBA diver, and Mrs. Arlene Frivaldos, all of the Department of Agriculture, San Andres allowed us the use of speedboat to view and tour the whole sanctuary area. Together with Ms. Lani Belmonte, a snorkeling club adviser of San Andres Vocational School, and Professor Sonia R. Vargas, they trained us on snorkeling which finally lead us organize our snorkeling club with the primary task of leading the coastal and reef clean-up program of the school.

Mr. Nestor Margallo, from CatAg (Catanduanes Agricultural Support Programme) provided us information on seaweed farming. The Baywatchers at the Sanctuary also take turns in rowing us with their sailboats to conduct personal interviews with the local fishermen at sea. Mr. Urgel Santelices, Municipal Planning and Development Officer of Virac LGU, also shared us the assessment report on the status of coral along its coastal waters. This enabled us to compare the kind and status of corals along Virac marine waters with those at the sanctuary.

Our capability to design the website was challenged by the expertise and technical support of the ASDS Webmasters under Mr. Exequiel A. Mariano Jr., CatNet Administrator, These developments showered us with praises of commendations and more encouragement from our community. Special thanks goes to all our supporters, our parents, Prof. Sonia R. Vargas, our adviser/consultant, Prof. Maria S. Tugano, our principal, to Dr. Adolfo S. Bagadiong, the College President and Hon. Leandro B. Verceles Jr., our Governor and mostly the Almighty Father for becoming a part of the 2001 CyberFair Competition.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

We have realized the diversity of marine resources and its importance to the community. Teamwork is needed to complete the project as well as time management. We learned to lead and extend our assistance in conserving and preserving the marine ecosystem. Ignorance is not an excuse to destroy our resources. Agojo, if preserved and maintained, could be a perfect paradise for a diverse marine life, and the right time to act is NOW.

It was a wonderful thing to know that doing the project made a lot of sense for our school. It became a plus factor in the school's bid for AACCUP(Accrediting Agencies for Chartered Colleges and Universities in the Philippines) level II accreditation. In view of this, we were given the rare oppotunity and distinct honor to meet and share facts and ideas with known figures and authorities in the field of education in our country.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 1938)

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