University of the Philippines Los Baños
Monday, 02 October 2017 12:06

UPLB holds summit for natural history museum curators, researchers


UPLB brought biodiversity education and conservation advocacy to a higher level as it held the first ever summit for natural museums and collectors in the Philippines. The learning event, called Culture+Learning, Art+Design, Environment+Science Summit (CLADES), brought over 150 participants from different natural history institutions in the country on Sept 27-28 to the summit venue in SEARCA, UPLB campus.

Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr. emphasized during his welcome remarks the importance of recording natural history in museums to make them more accessible to Filipinos. He also recognized CLADES as a platform for curators and institutions to discuss and share information and work together to improve the country’s natural museums.

Dr. Rex B. Demafelis, vice chancellor for research and extension, in his special message, also hoped that collaborations and networks among participants would result from the Summit.

Meanwhile, Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit, Jr., director of SEARCA, said that the Summit is a good opportunity to gain a better understanding of museums as multi-faceted facilities and tools for education and development.

The keynote speech was delivered by Marivene M. Santos, head of the Zoology Division at the National Museum of the Philippines, who represented its director, Jeremy Robert Barns. Santos presented the plans to create the National Museum of Natural History and discussed how it will seek to promote the conservation needs of the environment.

Among the Summit’s plenary speakers were Amado R. Alvarez, head of the National Committee on Museums at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, on the topic “Towards a national program for natural history collections development in the Philippines;” Dr. Theresa Mundita Lim, director of the  DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau, on “Laws and regulations affecting collection for natural history repositories;” Dr. George Argent from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, United Kingdom, spoke on “Changing roles and modern technique in herbarium management.”

Dr. Filiberto A. Pollisco, Jr, program specialist for conservation policy and research at the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, discussed “ASEAN efforts in building biodiversity information and collections;” Dr. Arvin C. Deismos, Scientist III at the National Museum, spoke on “Enhancing the role of natural history collections in science and the environment;” and Dr. Lawrence Liao, associate professor at Hiroshima University, opened a conversation on “Bridging gaps between Philippine natural history players and among stakeholders.”

Dr. Juan Carlos Gonzalez, director of the UPLB Museum of Natural History (MNH), which was the Summit’s main organizer, gave a talk on  “Making natural history collections relevant to the public.”

The Summit’s technical parallel sessions featured 17 papers while the poster presentation gathered 20 entries, all from different academic institutions and natural history collections. Three parallel workshops were also held and facilitated by MNH curators, namely: Prof. Pastor L. Malabrigo, Jr.; Dr. Ma. Vivian DC. Camacho; and Dr. Sheryl A. Yap. (Jessa Jael S. Arana)