Educating Towards a Better Shade of Green

One of the greatest challenges of the 21st century for the human race is how to continue living on the planet in such great numbers without drastically destroying the environment beyond the capacity for humans to inhabit it.

As the prominence and seriousness of environmental issues have continued to rise, there has been a growing realization that almost all human activities have an impact on the environment, whether directly or indirectly. It is because of this that environmental education programs are increasingly playing a more powerful role in raising awareness and promoting environmentally friendly action across society.

Education for a Sustainable Future

Environmental education is now recognized as having a central role in the search for solutions on the environment. Many political and business leaders are on record as emphasizing their own powerlessness to address environmental issues without ordinary citizens and consumers changing their attitudes and actions. Over the years, education has proven to be crucial to the achievement of sustainable development. It can provide the youth, with an understanding of how the environment relates to everyday issues and what action they can take “personally” to reduce their own impact on the environment. Schools can have a considerable impact on children’s ability to think about environmental issues. Of particular value are projects where young people are given autonomy and a sense of ownership.

It is often said that children are more receptive to messages about the environment and that they “hold the future in their hands”. Consequently, there is a belief that it is up to schools, rather than the community as a whole, to provide environmental education. There is a growing need to actively involve children in the protection of the environment. Children can acquire new values and attitudes towards the environment through exposure to education programs at school. In addition, children can cascade their learning and influence other family members to adopt more environmentally-friendly practices.

Innovative Approach to Environmental Education

Environmental education needs to go beyond merely describing environmental problems and should address the implications for “personal” and “collective” action. Rather than being too prescriptive, a more creative and experiential approach is needed to give young people both the tools and the self-confidence to think about the issues and possible solutions.

We strongly believe it is vital that children acquire a good knowledge and understanding of their surroundings from an early age. Only then will they gain respect for the environment and a desire to take care of it. The main goal is to have students take an active part and to serve as role models for taking care of the environment and understanding the importance of the health and well-being of the environment. Giving students the opportunity to plant and grow their own trees for example is a great way to encourage stewardship of the land. When students get involved in planting a tree and seeing the growth and development of seedlings over a specific time period they begin to understand that trees are living things and not just pieces of wood sticking out of the ground.

The Philippine Mango Seedling Farm Corp. Environmental Awareness Program

Philippine Mango Seedling Farm Corp. (PMSFC) has established a school-based environmental awareness program called "EDUCATING TOWARDS A BETTER SHADE OF GREEN". This program was conceptualized to promote environmental awareness through the eyes of the country’s future – the YOUTH. What we are promoting is a school-wide tree planting program where all students, irregardless of age or grade level, can participate in planting and managing their own fruit bearing tree.

This program was designed to be more experiential and participative in its approach to environmental education in order to foster student participation and ownership. Planting and caring for a seedling tree can help young people learn about the natural world and the value of trees in it. Through this program we are hoping to provide students with this experience.

Objective of the Program

To conduct environmental education directed towards the youth to increase their awareness, knowledge and appreciation of the importance of a healthy, biologically diverse and beautiful natural environment that would develop feelings of wonder, pride and responsibility, which would lead to active environmental care taking.

Why Participate

There is clearly an opportunity for schools to play a more substantive role in promoting environmentally aware attitudes and actions. Schools have the scope to do more to help young people develop environmental literacy. It has been proven through countless research that students are far more environmentally aware in schools that have a strongly positive and environmentally friendly ethos.

When students plant tree seedlings, they can see for themselves the structure of trees, learn what they need and how they grow. Teachers can use the planting process to discuss the benefits trees provide, while including many subjects that their classes are studying. As seedlings mature, the young trees can be a continuing, personalized way of relating book learning to visible, living examples of what is being taught.

Personal involvement in establishing a grove of trees will help students become aware of their role in protecting the environment. Ultimately, the experience will also help them make intelligent decisions about conservation and use of natural resources.

In addition, embarking on a tree planting program contributes countless benefits to the community and environment, namely: trees provide food and shelter for wildlife and prevent loss of soil (erosion); they help protect our streams and lakes by stabilizing soil and using nutrients that would otherwise wash into waterways; trees help moderate temperature and muffle noise; they help improve air quality by absorbing some airborne compounds that could be harmful to us; they provide a steady supply of oxygen to the environment; and add to the beauty of the surrounding.

Who is Eligible

All schools may participate (e.g., public, private; nursery, elementary, secondary, vocational, college or university). Any school-sponsored organization is also eligible. Planting can be related to a wide variety of scholastic programs. It is not confined to any given subject, purpose or age level.

PMSFC encourages planting on school property so that students can be responsible for the care and protection of the seedlings. Other possible locations are parks, roadsides, public buildings, residential backyards and forest reservations.

Our Offer

PMSFC is offering CARABAO MANGO SEEDLINGS at a discounted price of US$1.00 per seedling for each student participant in this program. In addition, in recognition of the participating school’s effort to help promote environmental awareness, we are willing to award half of the proceeds to the implementing school which they in turn could utilize to improve existing school infrastructure or redirect to other development projects they may wish to undertake.

The seedlings are non-grafted mango seedlings and approximately 2 to 3 feet tall. Mango seedlings will be delivered directly to the participating schools depending on the date agreed upon with school officials.

PMSFC believes that with this program, not only are schools contributing to the environmental literacy of the Filipino Youth, they are also indirectly providing a source of income for communities who would become eventual recipients of the produce of these mango seedlings. Needless to say, the “collective impact” of all these mango seedlings (coming from different education institutions) would help spur the growth of the Philippine mango industry for decades to come.