The “IEC Student Development Advocates (ISDA) Program on Marine Conservation” of Xavier University’s McKeough Marine Center took second place at the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development System Best Paper Awards.

The awarding ceremony was held during the 23rd anniversary celebration of the Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development in Los Baños, Laguna. The researchers, Hilly Ann Roa-Quiaoit, Divina Hojas-Lade, Joan Jamisolamin and Camillia Jane Bollozos, received a plaque and a cash prize of P20,000.

ISDA is a program implemented in partnership with the Department of Education Region 10. It is designed to help younger generations increase their understanding of the importance of the marine ecosystem and provide them with a venue where they can proactively participate in activities that promote environmental conservation.

XU NSTP students are trained to deliver basic marine ecology concepts to public school children in coastal barangays through fun-filled activities like games, film showings and workshops. At the end of the program, the children participate in coastal clean ups and attend a graduation ceremony where they present a comical skit in their native dialect showcasing what they’ve learned from the program about basic marine ecology.

Since its implementation in 2007, test scores measuring the increase in students’ awareness and understanding of the concepts taught in the program have grown from 6 percent to 24 percent. Efforts to make ISDA more effective, dynamic, interesting and sustainable are being undertaken based on the feedback of the participants and DepEd faculty.

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