The pilot episode of the above program, funded by CIMB Foundation was carried out with a visit to the Sarawak Planted Forest Training Center at Samarakan on the 20-21 Feb 2010.
11 students with 2 teachers from the SMK Bintulu Interact Club went on the trip, with 2 representatives from the CIMB Bank in Bintulu, as well as officers from the Sarawak Forestry Corporation, Sarawak Planted Forest Conservation Department, The Natural Science Society Bintulu and the Rotray Club of Bintulu, 25 heads in all.
It rained heavily on the morning we started off, after 9 rainless days in Bintulu. On the way to Samarakan, 2 hornbills were spotted. After settling in quickly at the hostels, the lecture program began.
We started off with an introduction to the concepts of conservation and biodiversity, and the role each of us must play to achieve sustainability. The talks then went on to cover conservation of animals, plants, water and the role of the Sarawak Forestry Corporation in Conservation in Sarawak.
Luckily, the rain stopped in the afternoon as all were looking forward to night trekking in the jungle after a full day of classroom work. It was the first time for the students to go into a jungle at night, or even into a jungle for some, so there were many anxieties for these young souls……….leeches, wild animals, insects…………..insect repellents, long thick socks, long sleeves, hats, torches………It took quite some preparation before we were ready to head into the jungle at last.
Joanes and Ollince from the Sarawak Planted Forest took the lead, the students and teachers were in the middle, while Alex and the Forestry Officers took up the rear. The track proved to be easy walking and everyone settled in to look for frogs, stick insects, snails etc We were lucky enough to see a Pita perched on a branch asleep, with frogs (polypedates sp) posing for long minutes on tree braches for photographs to be taken, stick insects, snails, spiders, geckos etc. The trek took about 2 hours and by then everyone was ready for bed at the end of a long day as the next day calls for an early start for birdwatching.
At 7am, binoculars were distributed and the students walked around a large lake at the training center to observe birds and to try to identify them from field guides. Egrets, Kingfishers, herons, swallows, cuckoos were spotted. After breakfast, the task at hand was to learn about Odonata ie dragonflies and damselflies. The students soon took to the task when they managed to catch specimens with their hands and realised how many different species they were as they learnt to tell dragonflies from damselflies, the males from the females, and even managed to catch a couple of damselflies in wheel!
The rest of the morning before lunch was time for the students to think about what they have learnt and make preparations for their presentations on their thoughts on Conservation & Biodiversity. The 11 students were divided into 3 groups and each had different things to say regarding their experience and adventure of the weekend.
We hope that through this program, we have brought some of the wonders of nature to the attention of the young students in Bintulu, and to have piqued your curiosity enough for you to want to learn more.
My appreciation goes to Joanes Unggang and his conservation team for the time and effort they put into the program, to the Sarawak Forestry Corporation for their support, to the Education Department and Principal of SMK Bintulu for their help & permission, to Miss Anne Ting, the teacher-in-charge of SMK Bintulu Interact Club for her enthusiasm and effort in arranging for this trip, to Mr. Riwhi and the Sarawak Planted Forest Training Center Staff for hosting our stay and for sharing your forest with us, Mr. Mani for taking care of our accommodation and food, to the teachers and students for participating in this pilot project and to CIMB Foundation for sponsoring the program.
Thank you all for sharing you time and expertise with us.
We hope you have all enjoyed the program as much as we have.
Well done Organising Chairman Mr. Billy Young. When will be the next trip?
If you would like to join the Natural Science Society, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are under 18, you can get your parents to join us as family members so that you can participate in the society’s activities.