U.S., Philippines launch escape room for biodiversity education

In celebration of the International Day for Biological Diversity on May 22, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) launched the “Biodiversity Crisis Escape Room”—an interactive new attraction at The Mind Museum in Taguig City, designed to educate children and adults about safeguarding the natural world.

Developed in partnership with the Bonifacio Art Foundation, Inc. and funded through USAID’s Php1.35-billion ($25 million) Sustainable Interventions for Biodiversity, Oceans and Landscapes (SIBOL) initiative, the escape room offers a hands-on learning experience where visitors solve biodiversity-related puzzles and challenges to exit the room.

Younger visitors can also enjoy the accompanying television program “MIND S-COOL,” featuring puppet characters navigating a biodiversity crisis.

The “Biodiversity Crisis Escape Room” at The Mind Museum will run until May 31, with tickets priced at Php150.

Following its run in Taguig City, the attraction will tour other locations, including Subic (Harbor Point, June 15-16), Puerto Princesa City (Robinsons Mall, June 29-30), and Davao City (Abreeza Mall, July 27-28).

The escape room will return as a regular attraction at The Mind Museum in August.

“Biodiversity loss not only threatens the survival of countless species but also undermines the stability of ecosystems and the services they provide, impacting human well-being and livelihoods,” said USAID Philippines Deputy Mission Director Rebekah Eubanks. “We must all become active participants in this plan to safeguard the country’s rich biodiversity for future generations.”

During the launch, Eubanks also handed over the “Sukat ng Kalikasan” (“Measurement of Nature”) toolkit to DENR Undersecretary for Legal and Administration Ernesto Adobo Jr. Developed over three years by USAID and DENR under the SIBOL initiative, “Sukat ng Kalikasan” offers standardized, evidence-based methods for measuring and assessing the value of the country’s natural assets, enabling the Philippine government to make more informed conservation decisions.

“‘Sukat ng Kalikasan,’ translated as ‘Measurement of Nature,’ is a product of our collective action to measure the country’s ecological, socio-economic, and cultural values and baselines,” said Adobo.

“Its approach improves the accuracy of determining conservation targets and measuring ecosystem services. Customized for the Philippine context, its objective is to appreciate the values that our ecosystems provide, so that we are in a more resilient position to manage our natural resources sustainably while achieving our development goals.”

The Philippines is one of 18 megadiverse countries in the world, hosting 70 percent of the Earth’s flora and fauna. Through SIBOL, USAID supports the Philippines’ efforts to achieve a resilient environment and inclusive green growth.

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