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The student council of the University of the Philippines Baguio in partnership with the Partners for Indigenous Knowledge Philippines (PIKP) conducted an ecological walk and educational discussion on local biodiversity conservation and promotion in Busol Watershed and Forest Reserve in Baguio City, Philippines in March 2024. 

The first part of the activity was an ecological walk along the forest trail of the Busol Watershed. The students also visited the city’s water harvesting facility inside the watershed, and have observed the water being in its critically low level. Since November 2023, the city has indeed experienced drought, resulting to the drying up of the city’s resources of clean water. After the ecological walk, PIKP gave a short educational discussion on local biodiversity conservation and promotion. The discussion emphasized the large role of the youth and indigenous peoples in the conservation of Baguio City’s remaining local biodiversity amidst rapid urbanization. The concept of development aggression was also raised during the discussion. Some of the students asserted that the development projects in the city such as the building of large commercial establishments in formerly green spaces and ancestral lands of the Ibaloys (the indigenous peoples in Baguio City) do not cater the welfare of the the city’s people. Generally, the Cordillera region is facing a lot of threats such as building of large dams, hydropower and geothermal projects, and large-scale mining operations. These development aggression projects not only threaten local biodiversity but more so the lives and livelihood of indigenous peoples in the region.   

After the discussion, the students expressed their initial thoughts and reflections on how they should participate in actions and advocacy defending and protecting our lands and natural resources for more generations to come.