by Janina Castro
As a young advocate for animals, it has always bothered me that I hear terrible news about deforestation, illegal wildlife trade, land grabbing activities in protected areas, and all kinds of environmental destruction that threaten the precious lives of Philippines wildlife. Growing up, I would look for organizations in the Philippines that I hoped to work for when I was older and I later found out that there are so many ways to support conservation advocacy! Here’s a quick list of ways to support Philippine conservation organizations (including a few organizations that you can back). DONATE Financial donations are always welcome among conservation organizations. These help cover operational, travel, and project management costs, funding the mission critical work of the organization. You can even gift donations as birthday and Christmas gifts for friends and family. This is sure to be a huge help, especially for younger organizations like Oceanus Conservation, which has a fundraiser to provide storybooks about the ocean to children. Donations in kind are also possible for organizations with specific needs like laptops and GPS trackers, critical equipment needed in conservation monitoring activities. What better way to celebrate life than to pay forward to groups who ensure our environment is healthy enough to support us! VOLUNTEER For those looking to donate time and manpower, there are often openings for volunteers. Save PH Seas, for example, is often on the lookout for a Social Media Mola Mola to help manage their social media presence and create online content about the ocean! If social media isn’t quite your jam, Isla Conservation Biodiversity is also open for volunteers interested in designing merchandise and creating information, education, and communication (IEC) materials to be used in their education campaigns in their partner communities. CONSIDER CAREER OPTIONS Are you looking to enjoy a career in the conservation field? You may even be lucky enough to find an organization with a job opening! The good news is that you don’t necessarily need to have scientific training to get into this field. Marketing, communication, and community organizing are among the many other activities conducted to help expand an organization’s reach and work with partner communities of a conservation site. Even if you’re already working, you can always partner with a conservation organization to sponsor various initiatives. The Philippine Eagle Foundation often looks for sponsors willing to shoulder expenses in caring for Philippine Eagles as part of their captive breeding program, and Haribon Foundation offers to plant native trees in their partner sites under your name for a donation. Partnerships are an exciting way to get creative for Corporate Social Responsibility projects. LEARN AND FOLLOW ON SOCIAL MEDIA Even from the safety of our homes, we can explore their social media platforms and websites to get to know the various species, ecosystems, and partner communities that they work with and for. Many of these organizations are active on social media and regularly share interesting information about their project sites and news about upcoming online events. The Large Marine Vertebrate Research Project (or LAMAVE) and Talarak Foundation are great examples of active social media platforms rich with new learnings and exciting topics to jumpstart your conservation journey. SHARE THEM WITH YOUR SOCIAL CIRCLES If you find a conservation organization that resonates with you, don’t be afraid to let your friends and family know about what they do! These organizations are often quite busy with protecting their sites, coordinating with locals, and conducting biodiversity assessments. They’re sure to appreciate any form of signal boost that you can offer to let more people know about their advocacy. This is by no means an exhaustive list of conservation projects you can help support. You can check out Greenreach Conservation Directory (greenreach.ph) for a growing list of conservation organizations to learn about and explore the numerous other projects and programs currently happening all around the country. Always remember to share and continue to talk about conservation! Opening conversations and sharing what we know about conservation issues help raise support and awareness for the endeavors of these organizations to save the environment. What are you waiting for? Now’s your chance to send in your support for our frontliners in conservation. Perhaps 2022 is high time to celebrate Public Aid for the Planet!