On 22 November 2010, prompted by discussions at the College of Science Assembly on the importance of native trees, then CS dean Willy V. Alangui created the Native Plants Committee to spearhead the promotion of and advocacy for native and endemic plants in UP Baguio. The creation of the committee was motivated by two events. The first was a system-wide effort initiated by University Professor Emeritus and National Scientist Edgardo Gomez to grow only native trees in the different UP campuses; the second was the death of Leonard Co and two other companions at the hands of the military exactly a week earlier, on 15 November, in the forests of Kananga, Southern Leyte while working on a biodiversity project. Leonard was a student of UP Baguio and a health and environmental activist who worked for many years in the Cordillera region and Palanan, Isabela for environmental protection. He helped promote the use of medicinal plants in the Cordillera and was a long-time collaborator of the College of Science. Hailed by the Philippine scientific community as the foremost authority in ethnobotany in the Philippines and a national treasure, Leonard helped establish the Community Health, Education, Services and Training (Chestcore) in 1981 and the Philippine Native Plant Conservation Society in 2008. The creation of the committee was a tribute to Leonard Co’s legacy and his contributions to ethnobotany and environmental protection in the country.


Since the formation of the Native Plants Committee of the College of Science, efforts were made mainly in propagating fruit-bearing native trees inside UP Baguio and its property in Sabkil, and with some extension work like tree planting in some communities. Starting AY 2018-2019, the Native Plants Committee has redirected its focus to education and research. It shall take a more active and decisive role in educating UP Baguio and the larger Baguio community about the importance of endemic and native plants, and the dangers of propagating exotic and invasive species. This redirection of the committee’s projects and programs shall be consistent with and complement the objectives of the degree program MSc in Conservation and Restoration Ecology of the Department of Biology. Activities of the Native Plants Committee contribute directly to the promotion of the Green Campus Initiative of UP Baguio.