There are places in the city where the grass really is greener. One such richly biodiverse area — practically teeming with it — are the wayside forests and fields at the Loyola Heights campus. It’s an “Urban Green Space” to follow the parlance: a natural, open-spaced environment where various wildlife thrive.
The Ateneo Wild, beloved for its online sharing community of in-campus finds, is a citizen science program that promotes the importance of urban biodiversity. Since becoming official in 2018, the program has actively campaigned for its goals, organizing nature walks and exhibits, and has been diligent in documenting the scientific names, characteristics, and behaviors of the migratory and resident flora and fauna in the Ateneo ecosystem.
And just in time for World Wildlife Day, this coming March 3, the Ateneo Wild is releasing four full volumes of its Coloring Book series. Titled after its contents (Resident Birds, Native Trees, Wildflowers and Butterflies and Moths, respectively), each volume contains 12 species, complete with watchers’ tips for identifying these urban dwellers and neat trivia.
Get down to coloring the fantastic line art illustrations by visual artist Iya Regalario, accompanied by photographs taken by Adrian and Trinket Constantino for visual reference. Every book also includes a checklist of commonly seen species in urban areas, making it the perfect companion for budding naturalist explorers and wandering artists alike.
Moreover, the experience is akin to spending time with nature. The act of coloring reduces stress, anxiety, and provides a much-needed uplift for the mood. With the release of these books, the time and mindfulness devoted to coloring the spaces foster a newfound appreciation for our neighboring critters, while the information alongside helps familiarize the beloved species that keep our environments lush and hospitable.
For the promo-hunters and cashback savvy, the coloring books (priced at 395 php) are available in the Lazada and Shopee pages of the Ateneo University Press; orders can also be processed via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Past projects by the Ateneo Wild include the collection of bird song recordings for soundscape ecology (curated in their Soundcloud) and a set of downloadable flashcards titled City Wild Urban Biodiversity from A to Z. The Ateneo Wild seeks to build an extensive biodiversity in-campus inventory to help inform the decisions of policymakers and administration.
The Coloring Book Series is a joint project between the Ateneo Wild and the Ateneo Institute of Sustainability.