Mr Chang Kuet Shian talking about water conservation
Mr. Benjamin Toh talking about how to live WISE
Answering Mr Chang's questions
The morning was fine and bright, and a pair of black hornbills flew by along the way.
After checking into the hostel and a relaxing morning tea, the lecture program started with an introduction to the concept of conservation and biodiversity followed by a talk from the Conservation Manager on the Conservation Program at the Sarawak Planted Forest. Officers from the SFC Jocelyn and Marilyn then gave an outline of the role of SFC in Forestry and the wildlife protection laws in Sarawak.
Alex and Ollince then gave us an idea of what actual conservation field work involves with their presentation on animal conservation and the study of dragonflies and damselflies. Malcom taught about the forest types found in Sarawak and the importance of forests in our ecosystem.
Joannes, our resident photographer then briefly went through the basics of photography and how to use binoculars before the students were let out of doors to do bird watching and try to capture pictures of wildlife.Observing a Raptor Fly-By
After dinner at about 7pm, all were ready to start on the exciting night trek to look for jungle creatures. The walk proved exciting as usual as many insects, spiders and frogs were spotted, and even a Pelanduk and a sleeping Garnet Pitta.
Taking pictures of creatures found during the night trek
The next morning started off early at 7pm for bird watching and most students managed to get out of bed on time despite their rather full program the previous day. Wielding binoculars and cameras, the students were introduced to the intricacies of bird watching, of observing details of the birds they see and to try to identify them with the help of field guides. There were Little and Intermediate Egrets seen together, providing a good illustration of the interspecies differences. There were also Herons, Sandpiper, Swallows, Raptors, Parakeets and Starlings.
Odonata species were abundant later on in the morning, lending themselves very well to some great photography especially of their in tandem and wheel positions to the delight of the students and teachers.
The Kidurong team remarked on the interesting time that they had and what they had learned. The Bintulu boys enjoyed themselves and learnt something of bird watching although they had some difficulties differentiating Sandpipers from Sparrows while the Kidurong bunch thought that stick insects might have been lobsters! All seem to be fascinated by the activities and behaviours of the Odonata species, which was truly quite a spectacle to observe, and very pretty pictures were taken by the students.
Then it was time to pack up and go home. The bus was waiting and brought everyone safely back to Bintulu by 4.30pm.
It felt good to start the CABEP 2011 program so well, after the pilot last year when we were doing things for the first time, and then working out over the last few months how to make it even better.
With the availability of the new binoculars and cameras so kindly made possible by the grant from the CIMB Foundation, we were indeed able to make wildlife observation much more interesting and engaging for the students, and they would certainly learn much more from the fieldtrip.
We would like to thank Patrick and his team at the Samarakan Training Centre for hosting us.
We are again indebted to the speakers who gave the benefit of their expertise as well as their weekends to the students, Jocelyn, Marilyn and Malcom from the SFC, Alex and Ollince from the Conservation Department of the Sarawak Planted Forest.
My utmost thanks to Joannes Unggang, Conservation Manager of SPF, for organising the scientific program and much of the logistics, as well as for the inspiration that we constantly draw from his wonderful photography.