“If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life.” ~ Rachel Louise Carson
Amazement struck me when I visited the Northwestern University’s ecotourism park and botanic gardens. During my nursing school days, Northwestern University was still Northwestern College. We had our biology and zoology classes at the antiquated Engineering Building. Our learning experience was limited to textbooks and class discussions. To make the subjects more interesting, our teachers would conduct “name that specie” contests in class. It was quite weird memorizing scientific names or even common names of flora and fauna, and not knowing how they actually look like. My old school has grown by leaps and bounds.
Spread over 7.8 hectares on a hilly area in the southwestern end of San Nicolas in Ilocos Norte, the NWU Ecotourism Park and Botanical Gardens is a breath of fresh air to each and everyone. Over 1000 plants species from 134 families and 123 subfamilies are catalogued. NWU aims to promote the preservation and conservation of the World’s flora, most especially our indigenous Philippine plants that are on the verge of extinction. A member of the Botanic Gardens Conservation International, the NWU botanic garden is among the 12 largest gardens of its kind in the country, and perhaps, the biggest in Region I, in regard to a broader spectrum of collections.
While hiking up and down the park, I found exotic wildlife, and emotions welled up as I focused the camera on my subjects. The place is such a paradise to nature trippers and photographers. Awesome endemic creatures that are hard to find elsewhere are everywhere in this wonderful nature park conveniently situated a few kilometers south of Laoag City.
Learning through a natural atmosphere as beauteous as the Northwestern University Ecotourism Park and Botanic Gardens enriches one’s spirituality as well. Botanical study and recreational activities such as camping, mountain biking and group training can be arranged.
The NWU continuously adds more species to their vast collection of living plant species as germplasm stocks for horticultural trade to other botanical institutions around the world and establishes micro environments to display the World’s flora according to their system of classification. They implement ex-situ and in-situ conservation practices, and Zero waste management to emulate sustainable natural cycles.
Northwestern University’s vision and mission to help mitigate the effects of climate change and address the man-made threats to our environment exhibit the legacy of world-renowned Rachel Louise Carson, the great biologist, writer and ecologist of her life-long love for nature and the living world.
Find time to visit this relaxing park and nurture that sense of wonder.
Northwestern University Ecotourism Park and Botanic Gardens, Payas-Samac, San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, Philippines Contact: Michael Jay Calaramo (Ecosystem Management and Development Officer) General Manager 0915-7932003/ 0908-5330037 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
How to get there: From Laoag, turn right on the ‘to Gertes Resort’ signage on the National Highway, a few blocks past the San Nicolas Municipal Hall. Continue driving after Takuat Training Center and Gertes Resort until you hit the Northwestern University Ecotourism Park and Botanical Gardens on your left hand side.