The Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary (OIWS) in Cebu, Philippines, came alive with vibrant festivities in celebration of World Wetlands Day. Led by the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Jose Cleo Cary F. Colis and with PA-OIWS staff, led by the PA-Coordinator Lorenz Gideon Esmero, played a crucial role in orchestrating the day's events seamlessly.
The theme for the day, "Wetlands & Human-wellbeing," echoed throughout the activities, emphasizing the crucial link between these ecosystems and the overall well-being of humanity. Brgy. Captain of San Vicente, Hon. Edilberta E. Lambojon, emphasized that wetlands are like the "kidney of our planet," providing various ecological services essential for human well-being, such as water filtration and purification, flood control, and the removal of waste and toxins, ultimately maintaining the overall balance of the ecosystem. PENR Officer Jose Cleo Cary F. Colis, in his message, discussed the importance of wetlands, including their uses, the thriving of various animal species, and the negative impact of human actions on wetlands, such as the use of fertilizers, chemicals, and single-use plastics. He encouraged the students and other participants to actively protect wetlands because, as the barangay mentioned, they are indeed the "kidney of our planet.
Activities witnessed during the celebration included an enlightening lecture by OIWS PA-Coordinator Lorenz Gideon Esmero, emphasizing the vital role of wetlands. The event also featured a Poster Making Contest involving seven schools and a Wetlands Challenge with a Cleanup Competition and Bird Identification activity by eleven groups. Participants actively contributed to the preservation of the ecosystem, fostering awareness about wetlands' significance.
The World Wetlands Day celebrations at Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary served not only as a moment of joy and festivity but also as a platform for education and action. The collective efforts of DENR PENRO Cebu, Regional Office (CDD & RSCIG), OIWS, CENRO Cebu City and the participating schools and groups demonstrated a commitment to the conservation of wetlands for the well-being of both nature and the local community.