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Environment Advocates to Hold Bird Festival

By Tina Santos
Last updated 11:51 pm (Mla time) 08/28/2006

Published on Page A18 of the August 29, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

In a bid to raise awareness about the various winged species in the country, enthusiasts and environment advocates will be staging the 2nd Bird Festival next month.

1st Philippine Bird Festival
Opening ceremonies of the 1st Philippine Bird Festival last year

This time, the focus of the festival, which has the theme "Endemik: Dito lang sa Pinas," will be on conserving the country's endemic bird species, promoting bird watching as a hobby and the responsible appreciation of nature, Wild Bird Club of the Philippines president Michael Lu said.

“Through the festival, we want to educate the children, the next generation of Filipinos, about the environment, especially about Philippine birds,” he told Inquirer.

“There will be photo and art exhibits, films and lectures about birdwatching, and many other activities for the kids and students, like face-painting, shadow puppetry and storytelling,” Lu said.

1st Philippine Bird Festival  WBCP booth
WBCP booth during the 1st Philippine Bird Festival in November 2005

He added that the two-day event, which will be held on Sept. 22 and 23, likewise hopes to promote public interest in conservation and encourage the creation of more urban parks and green spaces.

“Birds are as important as any other species,” he said. “They symbolize peace, hope and life. More importantly, they are a reflection of how man treats his environment.”

“But sadly here, we don’t care about birds. Ask any Filipino at random to name at least 10 birds and they can definitely not mention anything beyond the maya and the pipit,” Lu said.

The Philippines is home to more than 570 species of birds, 180 of which can only be found in the country, including the Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker and the White-Eared Brown Dove which are present in a number of parks and wooded areas in the heart of Metro Manila.

“These are the things we don’t know we’re missing,” Lu said. “Nature has an entirely different way of entertaining us.”