Kimberly CasipeScience Program Manager, Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation, Inc.
- 30 Under 30
Kim is a budding biologist passionate about curating learning experiences that inspire others to take action for biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.
How are you using education to build more sustainable and equitable communities?
With the vision of wildlife and people in harmony for a sustainable future, experiential learning through the Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation’s Marine and Wildlife Camps has been the longest-running program that I have had the opportunity to organize over the last 4 years in the Danjugan Island marine and wildlife sanctuary in the Sulu Sea. The island is home to rich biodiversity and for almost 30 years it has been known as “Nature’s Perfect Classroom” where youth of ages 12 to 17 would immerse in nature, learn, explore, and encounter wildlife. The camps serve as an avenue to convene youth from highly urbanized cities and small coastal communities. Together, they go through the same inclusive program focusing on interconnectedness and interdependence. By the end of the camp, amazing ideas and commitments are shaped. After many years, you see alumni collaborating and integrating lessons from the camp, taking into account ecological understanding and sustainability in their spheres of influence. Many of the local campers from the small coastal communities have emerged as local champions and youth leaders that take part in policy decision-making processes and carry out sustainability programs in their local communities.
Tell us about your journey to where you are today.
My journey as an informal outdoor educator has been very meaningful and challenging. Coming from a more science-y background as a biologist, I have seen the gap in communicating science especially into something relevant and in the local context. This has inspired me to take on the path that bridges this communication gap by supporting and curating programs that allow people to appreciate and understand science, ecology, wildlife, and the natural world enough to urge and encourage them to care and do something for it. Through my years of experience leading outdoor camps and facilitating groups of volunteers, as well as with my work and partnership with local stakeholders from the government and communities, I have learned to truly listen and nurture empathy. The diversity in groups and individuals can be overwhelming, but it is when these things come together that great partnerships, ideas, and solutions are produced.
If you could be any animal or plant, what would you be and why?
A phytoplankton! Phytoplankton are minute but they are important as they make up the base of the aquatic food chain. Small but quite powerful.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
It would be the ability to restore things back to their original state, the power to recover.
What are you happiest doing?
I am happiest when I take small kids for a walk outdoors, especially in tide pools.