By Ma. Lotuslei P. Dimagiba



Dr. Josette T. Biyo, Director of DOST-SEI plants a narra tree during the tree planting activity of the 5th APTJSO. (Photo by Gerry Palad/ Text by Ma. Lotuslei Dimagiba) (Click picture below to enlarge)



INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS PLANT TREES IN MAKILING | Participants in the 5th ASEAN Plus Three Junior Odyssey or APTJSO climbed up the Makiling Botanical Garden in the University of the Philippines Los Baños for a tree planting activity as their own little way of helping Mother Earth cope with climate change. The 5th APTJSO, with the theme “Climate Change and the Rainforest,” is an annual international competition among the youth who are gifted in science. Contestants come from countries in the ASEAN region plus Sweden, Korea, and China. “Most of the kids have not been to the forest or the real rainforest, so this is time for them to experience what it is like to be in the forest,” Ruby Cristobal of Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute said. “At the same (the activity enables the students) to contribute to enriching this resource, which is slowly being affected by climate change.” (Photo by Gerry Palad/ Text by Ma. Lotuslei Dimagiba)



Another activity on Day 2 of the 5th APTJSO involves data collection by country teams and field exposure for mixed groups. Participants collected data for the laboratory skills assessment component of the competition with three subject areas namely biology, chemistry, and physics. According to Ruby Cristobal of DOST-SEI, the purpose of the activities is to make the ASEAN students “more conscious or aware of what the problems in the rainforest are; what solutions the rainforest can offer; and what projects can be done in their level as students with rainforest as the focus and climate change; of course the factor in the environment that challenges the ecosystem of the rainforest.” (Photo by Gerry Palad/ Text by Ma. Lotuslei Dimagiba)