Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Annual General Meeting 2011

Date: 20 December 2011
Time: 4pm to 5pm
Venue: David Allen Sagah Teng Office, 87 Park City commerce Square, Bintulu

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

CABEP 2011 Competition

Mr Choo Chuan Hsiung, Branch Manager of CIMB Shahida speaking at the CABEP Competition
CIMB Staff with Rotarians
Guests listening to the presentations
The Judging Panel (SFC, CIMB, NREB)
Judging the Posters
Reporters at the event
SM Kai Dee Team
SMK Bintulu Team
SMK Bandar Team
SMK Kidurong Team
The CABEP 2011 Competition in progress

The CABEP 2011 Competition was held on the 7th September 2011 at SMK Bandar Bintulu School Hall.

There were 2 parts to the competition, a public presentation as well as a poster competition.

4 schools(SMK Bandar, Bintulu, Kai Dee and Kidurong) took part in the event attended by about 200 form students from SMK Bandar.

The presentation prizes were won by SM Kai Dee(1st prize), SMK Bintulu(2nd prize), SMK Bandar(3rd prize) and SMK Kidurong(4th prize)

The poster competition on the theme of Conservation and Biodiversity was won by SMK Bintulu(1st prize) and SM KaiDee (2nd and 3rd prize)

Thank you to the representatives from NREB, Sarawak Forestry Corporation and CIMB who attended the event and also formed the judging panel.

Special thanks go to CIMB Foundation for sponsoring this event as a Community Link Project.

And our appreciation to SMK Bandar for hosting the event, for the effort put in by Cikgu Jukie, Joyce Tang and Wong Mee Ling in preparing the venue and the excellent MCs during the event, Ian Voon and Nurul.

Thank you all very much.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

CABEP Competition 2011

Date: 7th September 2011 (Wednesday) Time: 10 am to 12 noon

Venue: SMK Bandar Bintulu


9.30am Arrival of participants
9.45am Arrival of Guests and Judges
10.00am Welcome by Organising Chairman
10.05am Welcome by Principal of SMK Bandar
10:10am Speech by CIMB Branch Manager
10.20am Competition Begins
11.30am Prize Giving
11.45am Closing Ceremony
12noon: Ends

For your information, 4 schools will be participating in this event are SMK Bandar, Bintulu, Kidurong and SM Kai Dee. Each school team will be submitting posters on topics of conservation and biodiversity as well as giving a 15 minute presentation on stage.

The poster exhibition will be available for viewing from 8am to 3pm.

All are welcome.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Primary School Students Field Visit To Oil Palm Plantation

Natural Science Society Brings Primary School Children On Outing To Oil Palm Plantation and Mill

Bright and early on Saturday morning(23 July 2011), 36 young students of Chung Hua Primary School No. 2 Bintulu were gathered at the front compound of their school eagerly waiting for the bus to take them on their first field trip to an Oil Palm Plantation.

The students picked to go on the trip were the top 6 students from each of the primary 5 classes, accompanied by their teachers.

At 8am, the bus started out to reach the Suburmas Oil Palm Mill shortly after 9am. We were met at the gate by the security chief Mr. Sim and on arrival at the mill office by Mr. Syaiful Yapp and his team.

Mr. Yapp had taken much effort in preparing for our visit, with 2 benches set up with fresh fruit bunch, palm kernels, and various beakers containing crude palm oil, sludge etc and he proceeded to tell the students about the whole process of planting oil palms, the number of years it takes for the palms to start producing fruit, their productive years, the amount of fruit produced per plant, how much each bunch of fruit weigh and how much palm oil can be gotten out of the fruit.

Mr. Yapp touched on pest control by the presence of various snakes in the plantation to control rats which causes damage by eating the oil palm fruit. One student asked whether owls were used as well and was told that there were nest boxes set up to attract the birds at various places in the plantation. Another student asked about palm oil being used for biodiesel.

The milling process was described with the aid of the various stuff Mr. Yapp had prepared on the bench. The students and teachers were surprised that the raw oil palm fruit can be eaten, and everyone had a small slice of it to taste. Another interesting fact was the very pleasant scent of the oil from the oil palm seed within the kernel, which is not normally used to make cooking oil but exported to make higher grade products.

Virtually no part of the oil palm is wasted as the empty fruit bunches and the resultant sludge from the milling process can be turned into fertiliser for use in the plantation.

There was much information to absorb and the students were kept busy taking notes to help them remember what Mr. Yap had told them. The teachers played their role by recapping on the important facts to make sure that the children take note of the important points.

All of us were treated to a sumptuous morning tea of doughnuts and sardine spring rolls before we bid goodbye and thank you to Mr. Yapp and his team for their very kind reception.

The next destination was Tawakal Sejati Plantation where the managing team met us at the loading site. The students were first given a safety briefing before going amongst the palms.

They were taught how to tell when a fruit bunch is ready for harvest and were shown how the harvesting was done. A collection truck then came along to pick up the fruit bunch that has been harvested and then dumped onto the slide chute system to await collection by lorries which bring them to the mill from whence we came.

We then visited the nursery where young oil palms are cared for before being planted out in the field, as well as seedlings of beneficial plants used for pest control.

The plantation team treated everyone to lunch where the children behaved really well under the supervision of their attentive teachers.

A souvenir was presented to the manager of Tawakal Sejati by the teacher in charge as a token of appreciation and a group photograph was taken before we set off back to Bintulu.

A special thank you to Mr. Syaiful Yapp and his team at the Suburmas Mill for his excellent presentation to the kids and the whole Tawakal Sejati team for their briefing and the effort they had put into organising to show the process of oil palm harvesting for the students.

Thank you to the teachers who took great care of your students during the trip and the students for your enthusiasm and interest.

Our appreciation also goes to Tawakal Sajati Sdn Bhd for sponsoring the trip and to Mr. Lau Song Ting for organising the event.

Thank you all for a great field trip and for sharing your knowledge.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Visit to Taman Tumbina, Bintulu for CABEP 2011

NSSB organized a visit for photography and tour to Taman Tumbina Bintulu on 23rd July 2011. 59 participants consisting of students and teachers from four schools attended the half day program assisted by NSSB members.
Joanes gave the introduction of the visit to the participants. Mr. Clement from Taman Tumbina gave a briefing to the participants on Taman Tumbina’s activities, history and several conservation related topics. Participants are later briefed on the objective of the program and the upcoming CABEP 2011 final program in September. Each school was provided with a digital camera for them to use. At around 9.00 am the participants are eager to go on the tour. They were divided into two groups with the first group led by Joanes, Noel and David James meanwhile the second group was led by Belden and Ollience.
The participants went on to the Butterfly Garden where some butterflies have just emerged from their cocoons. Some students managed to take photo of the butterflies and David James gave advice on how to use DSLR camera to some of the students. Participants also visited the Botanical collection where the Orchid and Nepenthes collection are, Hornbill collection, the Sun Bear, Tiger, Ostrich, Sambar Deer and Binturong.
Exhausted from the whole tour in Taman Tumbina, the participants gathered at the front office and had their group photo taken. The program ended at 12.00 pm after.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dato Seri Lord Cranbrook's Visit

We had the honour and pleasure of Dato Seri Lord Cranbrook's visit to Bintulu this year over the Easter weekend. While in Bintulu, Dato Seri talked to science teachers from SM KaiDee and SJK Chung Hua 1 & 2 to discuss and explore ways in which science education could be made more interesting for the students to encourage their curiousity in nature. Our secretary Mr. Lau Song Ting hosted the discussion at his seminar room. Dato Seri showed some slides of activities carried out by the Wildlife Trusts in the United Kingdom to give us some ideas of what may be possible here. As the oil palm industry is of such immense importance in this country, he suggested that perhaps students could visit oil palm plantations and mills to understand the workings of this industry, in particular to the science of it. The oil palm industry may also be interested to take a part in such educational programs for students as part of their corporate social responsiblities.

Dato Seri Lord Cranbrook gave a Natural Science Lecture at UPM to over 200 students on the 23 April 2011 on "A New Look On The BioGeography of Mammals in Borneo", looking at the distribution of various mammals in Borneo, Sundaland, South East Asia and West Asia and attempting to find patterns that could help to provide explanations.

The next morning, Dato Seri visited the UPM Mitsubishi Forest with a group of postgraduate students to look at the trees and how well the forest is doing. Armed with binoculars and cameras, the students were enthusiastic on this field trip and asked many questions. It rained heavily at the end of the trip and everyone was soaked through. After going home and having their showers, we met up again at Laksa House for the Sarawak Laksa. Our reporter friend Calvin turned up and did an impromptu interview with Dato Seri and his write up was published in the Star newspaper on the 26 April 2011.

We thank Dato Seri Lord Cranbrook for taking time to visit us again in Bintulu and for his effort in helping us to encourage curiousities about our natural world as well as stimulating our interests in the study of the natural sciences.

Happy Easter!

Monday, April 25, 2011

CABEP 2011 April Samarakan Field Trip

The second CABEP field trip to Samarakan took place on the 16-17 April with 11 students and 2 teachers from SM Kai Dee and 9 students & 4 teachers from SMK Bandar, as well as four representatives from CIMB led by Encik Suaidi. As it was polling day of the 10th Sarawak State Election, we delayed the start of our journey to 9.30am to allow voting before the trip.
The participants from SM KaiDee were Form two students while those from SMK Bandar were Form four’s. After an introductory lecture, Joannes Unggang told the students and teachers about the conservation program of the Sarawak Planted Forest. Alex Jukie gave a lively talk about Wildlife Conservation, Ollince Tateh taught the students about Odonata while Belden introduced Birds and taught on birdwatching and taking notes of observations. The workshop session on how to use cameras was conducted by Joannes at the end of the lectures.
After a short rest in the evening and a quick dinner, everyone was ready for the night jungle trek. The students were divided into 4 groups, each group having a camera to record their sightings during the trek.
The moon was almost full that evening and was shining bright. Frogs, spiders, stick insects, lizards, ants, snails, civet cats etc were spotted during the trek.
The KaiDee group was up and ready to start birdwatching early the next morning well before the appointed time of 7am when the other groups arrived at the meeting point. Binoculars were issued to each of the participants after a brief instruction was given on their proper use and care. Herons, kingfishers, cuckoos, egrets, parakeets, swallows, starlings, sandpipers, waterhens were spotted and some students were able to note detailed enough observations to help in identifying the bird species from field guides, with the help of Belden and Ngegang.
Everyone was hungry after the morning session of birdwatching and tucked into breakfast. During breakfast while waiting for the food, Alex told the students about the Wildlife Protection Act and why it is important that wildlife should not be kept as pets or be traded.
Rejuvenated after breakfast, the students went on to study Odonata in the field and learnt to identify dragonflies from damselflies, males and females etc with Ollince to guide them.
After morning tea, it was time for the students to get to work on their own presentation of what they have learnt about conservation and biodiversity and their plans on outreaching to others in the community. Mr. Tham Chee Keong gave a short lecture on Forestry As A Career just before lunch.
During their presentations, the students showed the photographs that they had taken, and some groups presented the observations that they have made, which delighted Alex who remarked that they have taken an important step into the discipline of careful observation and note taking which is the essence of scientific field work.
The bus was ready by the time the students finished their presentation and everyone was brought safely back to Bintulu by 5pm on Sunday.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Natural Science Lecture by Lord Cranbrook

Natural Science Lecture

Title: A New Look At The Biogeography Of Bornean Mammals

Speaker: Datuk Seri Lord Cranbrook

Date: 23 April 2011

Time: 3-5pm

Venue: Dewan A, University Putra Malaysia (Bintulu Campus)

Signs will be posted all along the way from the entrance gate to UPM. Inform the security that you are attending the Natural Science Lecture.

All who are interested are welcome. Admission Free.

Pattern and puzzles:
A new look at the zoogeography of Borneo/Kalimantan mammals

Earl of Cranbrook MA PhD

The island of Borneo/Kalimantan straddles the equator from about 7 o N to 4 o S between 109 o – 119 o E, and is the most easterly large landmass of the South-east Asian continental shelf, known as the Sunda Shelf. The wild land and freshwater mammals of the island comprise about 285 species. Since the beginning of zoogeography as a discipline, it has been observed that at the level of family, genus and frequently species, there is close affinity between the mammal faunas of the Thai-Malaysia peninsula south of about 10° N, Borneo and the other Greater Sunda Islands (Sumatra, Java and Bali), leading to the recognition of this area as a zoogeographical subregion. It has also long been understood that the existence of a distinct Sundaic mammal fauna reflects periodic exposure of the bed of the South China Sea during Plio-Pleistocene glacial episodes, which provided opportunities for migration and merger of populations.
In faunistic analyses it has been customary to treat Borneo as a single biogeographical unit. However, a review of well-documented species and subspecies, as defined by current opinion, shows a variety of distributional patterns within the island. Moreover, since the 1950s, archaeological discoveries have increased understanding of past distributions. Since the 1990s, molecular studies have shed new light on classical taxonomy and hence forced a revision of former zoogeographical assumptions. As we move into in the 21st century era of easy, rapid DNA analysis and molecular phylogenies, some surprising results are emerging.
This new evidence of regional and local speciation provides insight into selective processes and the time-scale of evolution. This information could assist the planning of measures to counteract the adverse impacts of global warming and human pressure on the threatened wild mammal resource of Kalimantan and the subregion.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Biogeography of Birds of Borneo by Professor Fred Sheldon

Professor Frederick Sheldon of Louisiana State University

The audience at UPM (Bintulu campus)

Calvin of Bintulu.org was there to report on the lecture, along with Ms Anne Melissa King, Warden of Similajau National Park, see article below by Calvin

Cracking the bird code: why Sabah and Sarawak bird differ?

By: BO EDITORIAL Saturday, March 19, 2011, 12:55 MST

The magpie-robin found in Sarawak spotted a white belly, while in Sabah it is black. The bird species in Sabah said to be closely related to their cousins on the montane of Java island instead of Sarawak.

How could birds of same species found on same island could be distinctively different?

That is a uniquely Borneo phenomenon according to Louisiana State University don, in a public lecture attended by lecturers, university students, pupils, teachers and government officers held at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Bintulu on Thursday.

Professor Frederick H. Sheldon said the phenomenon can be explained by looking back to some 21,000 years ago. The ice age era. During that period, we were told much of the South China Sea was actually a Savannah – not sea, teeming with life – including birds.

The part of Borneo, now known as Sabah, then was much drier, with desert-like weather not the tropics. In contrast, Sarawak spanning towards Kalimantan, Indonesia was colder, lowland areas and green. This flora and fauna divide basically explained why birds found in present day Sabah and Sarawak are different.

“Bird of same species for example the Sharma and Pitta have distinctive Sabah or Sarawak features,” he said, adding “Sarawak Sharma spotted a white-rumped, while in Sabah they are white-crowned; Sarawak – Garnet Pitta, while Sabah Black and crimson Pitta.

“Many would say the birds in Sabah should be similar to those found in Sarawak as they are living on the same island,” Prof Sheldon said. Sarawak birds he said are closely related to peninsular birds, while Sabah birds resembled those found in the montane of Java island.

He also pointed out that some bird species found throughout Borneo, but not in Sabah – for example the Crestless Fireback (Lophura eryhrophthalma). Similarly, some lowland birds like the Chestnut-necklaced Partridge (Arborophila charltonii) only occur in Sabah not the rest of Borneo.

Prof Sheldon, 60, is no stranger to Borneo. He first set foot on the island about 35-year ago as a young, excited Yale university postgraduate student studying birds biogeography in Sabah. He also get a teaching stint at then Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Sabah campus. Ever since, have been regularly return to this part of the world.

“I would return to Malaysia like every five year. Each visit I saw different phases of development,” he said, adding only small part of Kinabatangan river were cultivated for commercial large scale plantation, then.

“Three decades ago when you told people you wanna go up the Kinabatangan river, they say you are crazy,” he recalled, saying Malaysians then were generally ignorant of the important environmental conservation, unlike they are today.

“Today people already saw the benefits of biodiversity conservation and actually proud to show you the forest in their surrounding,” Prof Sheldon said.

As a biologist, Sheldon confessed he is very protective of the environment and is more at ease working in the jungle, surrounded by animals, birds and insects than in air-conditioned office. Throughout his nearly two hours lecture, Prof Sheldon stressed the message of conservation of Borneo vast biodiversity.

“Do you know that Borneo is the center of biogeography studies in the world?” he said, and that Malay archipelago is the birthplace of biogeography studies.

Prof Sheldon acknowledged Sarawak’s biodiversity was still largely protected and thriving despite the immense pressure to meet the country’s development needs, which could lead to biodiversity losses in other part of the world.

He said Malaysian authorities in many aspects have succeeded in balancing those needs without compromising the environment.

“The creation of buffer zones in a plantation area is crucial at sustaining biodiversity,” he said, pointing to observations they had done at acacia mangium plantation, in Tatau, near Bintulu.

“The acacia plantation actually useful to the birds in the areas as it provides abundance of food supply.

Currently, an Adjunct Professor in Biological Sciences at Louisiana State University, Sheldon had published more than 34 journals/books in his field of interest: the evolution and systematics of birds, and the natural history of the birds of the Malay archipelago.

This article was also published at The Star (printed version) Saturday, March 19, 2011

Read more: http://www.bintulu.org/news/2011/03/19/cracking-the-bird-code-why-sabah-and-sarawak-bird-differ.php#ixzz1JN1RLONs