To understand the value and benefits of biodiversity in local culture, more than 30 students, school personnel, and high school students from the Tagbanua indigenous people group joined a four-day biodiversity conservation and science summer camp held in Sugod Uno, an ancestral domain of more than 60 Tagbanua households in Puerto Princesa’s Subterranean River National Park in Palawan.
Organized by the Palawan Ethno-environmental Research Center of Holy Trinity University, together with USAID’s Protect Wildlife project and indigenous people organization Tinig ng Katutubo sa Cabayugan, the camp was a fun learning event where participants learned how biodiversity benefits their local communities and how conservation can help protect the culture of the Tagbanua, one of the oldest ethnic groups in Palawan.
With the theme “Nature, Culture and Conservation,” the camp featured indigenous knowledge in local medicinal and edible plants and their uses in traditional healing, rituals and livelihoods. It also allowed students to explore nature through a guided forest trek that included practical lessons on wildlife species that they encountered and, more importantly, their conservation status and threats.
With Sugod Uno as one of its host communities for over a decade, Holy Trinity University has obtained their free, prior and informed consent to conduct an ethnobotanical study in the area and formally identify species used in Tagbanua traditional healing and rituals. This is essential in ensuring bio-cultural diversity conservation in their ancestral lands. (Protect Wildlife)