Albay science teacher earns NatGeo recognition

By Connie Calipay

LEGAZPI CITY – A teacher of Albay Central School (ACS) is one of the recipients of the 2021 National Geographic (NatGeo) Awards.

Ranielle Navarro, ACS Teacher III, started “A Call to Solution: Goals for Environmental Oversight”, also called ACS GEO, that aims to train and involve learners as scientists and journalists.

Ranielle M. Navarro (Photo courtesy of DepEd – Bicol) 

Navarro, 29, was also a Certified NatGeo Educator last year. Her digital storytelling and geocaching were funded by NatGeo, along with her participation in a series of webinars with international and local speakers on environmental science and digital technology.

Navarro’s project enabled her to donate 10 computer tablets to ACS as part of the project.

“The gadgets are installed with the software app called Marine Debris Tracker App. The software application is a user-friendly platform that engages the learners in geocaching and environmental education and action despite the current remote learning setting,” Mayflor Marie Jumamil, Department of Education-Bicol spokesperson, told the Philippine News Agency in an interview on Friday.

Geocaching is defined as “an outdoor recreational activity where participants use a Global Positioning System receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called geocaches or caches, at specific locations marked by coordinates all over the world.”

“As educators, it is important that we create learning opportunities for our learners despite the limitations we have. I saw the remote learning setting as an opportunity to make our learners explore their community as a laboratory for learning using geocaching and digital storytelling. Through the ACS GEO project, we were able to continue to develop our learners in becoming global citizens and environmental leaders despite the hurdles of this pandemic,” Navarro said in a Facebook post.

Navarro has been a Grade Six Science and Language teacher for eight years now. She started as a volunteer Kinder teacher and was granted permanent position as Elementary teacher in 2012.

Educational background

She is currently finishing her Doctorate Degree, Major in Education Leadership and Management, at the Bicol University, the same school where she obtained her Elementary Education and Teaching degree and later on, Masters in Education Leadership and Administration.

In 2019, Navarro was one of 18 recipients from nine countries of the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program for International Teachers. She spent a semester in Syracuse University in New York.

“Living in Syracuse for almost five months made me realize that even though we are different with so many things, there would be something that will connect us, such as food, story, music, and so on. Conflict is inevitable, yet, from every negative thing that had happened I chose to remember what matters, what made my heart swell with happiness, and what made grow as a person,” she said of her experience then, published in a story in the Syracuse University website.

Recently, she also passed the assessment for Technical Education and Skills Development Authority National Certification III on Events Management.

“Each year, the National Geographic Society presents its most prestigious awards to innovative and inspiring trailblazers who are making astounding contributions to science, conservation, education, technology, and storytelling. Our honorees have defined some of the critical challenges of our time, driven new knowledge, advanced cutting-edge solutions, and inspired transformative change. Persevering through challenges and adversity, they illuminate and protect the wonder of our world – inspiring the Explorer in all of us along the way,” the event website stated. (PNA)