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The 2011 Philippine Biodiversity Expedition 

May 14, 2011

If it’s Tuesday, it must be Talisay!

A tight education outreach schedule has kept Meg and me hop-scotching the country ever since we arrived in the Philippines on May 8th. Earlier this week we delivered our first outreach to a combined audience of 30 university faculty and high school teachers at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, the oldest university in Asia at 400 years old. We had expected a larger turnout, but tropical storm Bebeng wrecked havoc with roads and air flights and prevented another 40 faculty from attending the session.  Each of our sessions includes an overview of the Philippine Biodiversity Expedition, a presentation by at least one of the scientists on any preliminary findings from the field, and demonstrations of hands-on interactive lesson plans and educational activities for the classroom. They have had a pretty good time acting out the Carbon Cycle Role Play lesson plan to learn about how carbon atoms are exchanged in the environment and practice their observation skills with a scientific sketching activity.

Teachers practicing their observation skills in a sketching activity

Teachers practicing their observation skills in a sketching activity

 

 

Two days later we were at Taal Lake where we made another presentation to a group of local government officials and elementary school teachers, including the mayor of Talisay, a small municipality, or barangay, right on the lake.  Taal Lake is very interesting biologically because at one time it was connected to the ocean.  Among the endemics found in the lake that biologists, Dave Catania, Chrissy Piotrowski, Bob VanSyoc, Vanessa Knutson and Don Dumale were particularly interested in collecting is the endemic freshwater species of sea snake and sardine, whose closest relatives live in the ocean. The lake is designated as a protected area, but still faces many threats including the introduction of an invasive species of cichlid, the jaguar fish, which threatens native species in the lake. Situated on an island in the lake is Taal Volcano, looking very peaceful while we were there but it is still currently at a very active Stage 2 eruption alert.  

Taal Lake sunset

Taal Lake sunset

Friday we were at University of the Philippines in Los  Baños, whose lush, tropical campus is located at the foot of Mount Makiling, a 1090m inactive volcano located about 65 km southeast of Manila. It was an added treat to have expedition physician Matt Lewin with us to talk about the mobile snakebite kit that he has developed. Next stop was the University of Batangas where we reached nearly 70 faculty and teachers. With just four outreaches under our belts and eight more to go, we are looking forward to meeting with more of our colleagues here. Next stop, Southern Luzon State University, and then on to Calatagan.

Roberta Brett

Senior Science Content Specialist


Filed under: Brett,Philippines — rbrett @ 8:36 pm

7 Comments »

  1. What does stage 2 alert mean for a volcano? How many stages are there and what number represents an iminent explosion?

    Comment by Catherine — May 14, 2011 @ 9:22 pm

  2. Hello Catherine,
    Thanks for your comment. Alert Level 2 also means that the volcano is experiencing magmatic intrusion that may lead to an eruption. For more info go to
    http://www.mb.com.ph/node/313723/taal-volcano-remain
    Roberta

    Comment by rbrett — May 14, 2011 @ 9:56 pm

  3. What are your plans should the volcano decide the time is right? Do you have contingency plans?

    Comment by Bob — May 16, 2011 @ 7:14 am

  4. Hey, you slacker! Lazing about on a beautiful tropical island! Actually, you sound pretty busy, going from city to city. How do you get around? Chartered van? Where do you stay at night? Any camping/field work in your future?

    Keep posting, and Ill keep reading. Thanks to Bob for sending me the link

    Comment by Audrey — May 16, 2011 @ 6:40 pm

  5. Love the updates, keep them coming!!

    Comment by Irina — May 19, 2011 @ 11:48 am

  6. Hi Roberta and Meg! This is my first time visiting your blog and its nice to see the UST activity here. Good luck on the remaining days of your expedition and hope to see you in UP for the final presentation!

    Comment by Rey Donne Papa — May 25, 2011 @ 11:01 pm

  7. Hi Roberta, Justt joined Bob on Facebook and found this blog connection. Really interesting stuff. Rudy use to fly out of Cubi Point, Sangley Point and Civite back in 1968-1971. They use to fly over Taal Lake all the time and there use to be a small island inside the cone of the volcano and Taal Lake use to go around that so they dubbed it…”An island in the lake, on an island , in the lake on an island”
    I think they had way to much time on their hands…
    Keep up the great work and have a safe and fun time on your ventures.

    Comment by Beverly and Rudy Brandt — June 21, 2011 @ 3:45 pm

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