Researchers from the ERDB Main Office and Research Centers (ARDEC, CRERDEC, LESD, THWRDEC, UBRDEC, and WWRRDEC) participated in the pilot Mentorship Program for Sylvatrop Journal from December 1-3, 2021, Los Baños, Laguna with support from the ERDB management represented by ERDB Director Dr. Henry A. Adornado, Assistant Director Mayumi Quintos-Natividad, and AFMD-HRD and Records Section Chief Marilou C. Arcillas (front row, center). (Photo by Anne Gellie L. Nuñez)

Los Baños, Laguna – The Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau launched its Pilot Mentorship Program for publishing in the Sylvatrop Journal on December 1, 2021 at the DMS Events Place, Los Baños, Laguna. Sylvatrop is the official technical journal of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). It is the DENR’s main vehicle for disseminating research findings on ecosystems and natural resources.

The Mentorship Program was initiated by ERDB Director Dr. Henry A. Adornado to strengthen the Bureau’s institutional capacity in producing publishable journal articles based on ERDB’s studies. The program was also launched as a call-to-action based on the needs of the researchers for conducive and facilitative working environments for scientific writing.

ERDB Director Dr. Henry A. Adornado delivered the opening remarks during the pilot Mentorship Program on December 1, 2021, Los Baños, Laguna. (Photo by Anne Gellie L. Nuñez)

In his opening remarks, Dr. Adornado emphasized the importance of transforming research results into published studies which can serve as vehicles to disseminate ERDB’s research findings. “We have to level up the manner by which we disseminate our research results. We have to transform our studies into publishable articles that are peer reviewed and easily accessible, both locally and globally,” said Dir. Adornado.

Ten ERDB studies were selected for the pilot program. The topics of the studies included germination, bioremediation, urbanization, solid and hazardous wastes, climate change, governance, and market chain analysis. The articles were written by ten (10) official participants who signed a formal agreement with the management on December 1, to ensure their commitment to publish their studies.

The ERDB researchers were selected based on the technical content, publishability, and structure of their outputs from the 2021 Sylvatrop Writeshop held on October 5-8, 2021 via Zoom. Specifically, they were from ERDB divisions and Research, Development and Extension Centers (RDECs): Agroforestry Research, Development and Extension Center (ARDEC), Coastal Resources and Ecotourism Research, Development and Extension Center (CRERDEC), Toxic and Hazardous Wastes Research, Development and Extension Center (THWRDEC), Urban and Biodiversity Research, Development and Extension Center (UBRDEC), and Watershed & Water Resources Research, Development and Extension Center (WWRRDEC). These included Janine C. Baguhin, Maechelle June G. Blanca, Marleane Rovi R. Ferrer, Engr. Edmichael DG. Figueroa, Erika C. Flora, Veronica M. Mercado, Minda S. Odsey, Royette C. Posadas, Alida G. Ramos, and Clivene O. Toctocan.

ERDB Director Dr. Henry A. Adornado, Assistant Director Mayumi Quintos-Natividad, AFMD-HRD and Records Section Chief Marilou C. Arcillas, and participants signed contracts to officially document their commitment to publish in the Sylvatrop Journal. (Photo by Anne Gellie L. Nuñez)

The participants were mentored by Dr. Maricar Aguilos, a former researcher and now a North Carolina-based environmental scientist. Dr. Aguilos provided simultaneous one-on-one mentoring sessions with the participants via Zoom. During the closing program, Dr. Aguilos expressed her willingness to continue mentoring the researchers even after the workshop, until their articles are published in Sylvatrop.

Through this mentorship program, the ERDB also hopes to strengthen the researcher’s scientific writing skills and improve their capacities to publish in other peer-reviewed journals. During the opening program, Ms. Adreana S. Remo, Managing Editor of Sylvatrop, highlighted that the program can also help increase ERDB’s scientific productivity and enhance its visibility not only in the Philippines, but also in the global scientific community. This program also aimed to further expand the culture of scientific writing and publishing among ERDB employees.

This will not end here. We [the employees] have to build a culture of scientific publishing in our office,” said Ms. Remo. Hence, as part of the mentorship program, the selected participants are expected to present their outputs and share their experiences and learnings in their respective RDECs and Divisions. “We also expect our selected participants to become promoters of the importance of scientific writing and publishing among our peers and colleagues”.

In her closing remarks, ERDB Assistant Director and Editor-in-Chief Mayumi Quintos-Natividad expressed her confidence in the first batch of mentorship participants, “I’m positive that this batch will be scientists in the future.” She also echoed the researchers’ important role in ensuring that ERDB’s research results do not sit idle in closets, but instead are communicated to the public. As it is part of ERDB’s ten-year master plan to continue publishing studies, she ensured the management’s commitment to institutionalize the mentorship program for the researchers.

With the full support of the DENR-ERDB Management headed by Director Adornado, the mentorship program will run until December 2022. This initiative is being handled by the Technology Transfer Division of ERDB thru its Sylvatrop project in coordination with the Human Resource Development Section. Adreana S. Remo and Carmela Kris Armilla