Fifty nine students and teachers from Regions IV-A, IV-B and V conquered Puerto Galera from the sea and up to the mountain in quest of fun yet extensive scientific learning. 

This, as the Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) in cooperation with the University of the Philippines’ Marine Science Institute (MSI) and National Institute of Geological Sciences (NIGS), conducted the 2013 Geo-Marine Science Camp last April 28 to May 4 in Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro. 

With the theme “Rock the Ridge, Reach the Reef”, the 2013 camp was packed with exciting lectures, hands-on exercises, and exposure trips in the fields of marine science and geology, two of the most critical areas being promoted by DOST due to its narrow human resources in the country. 

The science camp seeks to encourage high school students to pursue degrees and careers in the fields of marine science and geology through engaging them in lectures, hands-on laboratory activities and on-site field activities with scientists. It aims to instill deep understanding and appreciation of S&T and promote the culture of research as a way to address environmental and societal issues. 

DOST-SEI Director Dr. Filma Brawner, who welcomed the participants in the venue, said this year’s camp followed on the successes of past years’ marine science camps and hence integrated geology to expand its impact. 

“The inclusion of geology this year makes this science camp more special and highlights the importance of creating more geologists and marine scientists in the country. These fields contribute a lot in research and development activities in relation to environmental protection and disaster mitigation,” Brawner said. 

The first three days of the camp focused on marine science where students were taught the basics of Oceanography; Sea Safety and Survival; Navigation; Waves, Currents and Tides; Water Quality Sampling; Chemical Analysis; Plankton Sampling and Microscopy, and Basic Snorkeling. 

The participants got a feel of how it is to be a marine scientist with exposure trips to marine ecosystems such as sea grasses, mangroves, and coral reef areas. They also cleaned up Haligue Beach and conducted community interaction in Brgy. San Antonio, also in Puerto Galera. 

Dr. Aletta Yñiguez, Associate Professor from UP MSI and Marine Science Camp Director, said that it gives them a sense of contentment in just seeing the students and teachers get ‘wowed’ by the activities during the camp.

“It shows that you learned a lot and you realize the value of what this camp is all about,” Dr. Yñiguez said. “We hope that you will pursue science courses in college, whether marine science or geology or others. We really need talented people like you in the field.” 

The Geology Camp ensued right after the Marine Science Camp where students learned the basics of geology, petrology, mineralogy and map reading. The participants were also taught key geology skills like determining pace factor, describing outcrops which they used when they trekked Mt. Malasimbo. 

Dr. Carlos Primo David of UP NIGS and Camp Director of the Geology Camp, said the participants looked like geologists during the trek as they well applied the skills they learned and hence urged them to make use of said learning to pursue geology and other related courses. 

“This camp is a really good endeavor and I believe you really learned a lot in a matter of days,” remarked Dr. David. “We hope to see you as students of geology in UP Diliman in the future.” 

As the camp closed, DOST Undersecretary for Regional Operations, Dr. Carol Yorobe congratulated the students and teachers for successfully finishing the camp and reminded them of the critical role scientists perform in the country. 

“Your experience here can push you to be great scientists just like your teachers from MSI and NIGS. And we are here to help you excel in S&T,” Yorobe remarked while referring to the scholarships DOST-SEI offer. 

“The whole Department will be very much happy if this activity has indeed persuaded you to take on science degrees and later on careers. We are optimistic that you will make that move,” Yorobe added. (30)