Learn about the wildlife and the forest through real experience with scientist

Outreach Blog

Anak Sebangau (‘Children of Sebangau’) had the opportunity to visit the research camp in the Sebangau National Park. The education team at BNF have innovative and fun ways of teaching children and providing them with a great experience in the wild. Anak Sebangau learn about the environment through different themes every month and  participate in a field trip organised at the end of each month.

Last week, twenty-six children of Anak Sebangau Community members joined this field trip, 18 children only join 1-day visit and 8 children stay overnight. Some of them have visited camp before, but there were many children who were new members that experienced it for the first time. They were really excited to visit the research camp, meet all the scientists and experience the peat-swamp forest.

The activities that the children were involved in were forest walks in a peat swamp forest to observe wildlife and learning to use a GPS.  During the forest walks, the children were asked to observe things in the forest around them. They came across some interesting things such as lianas and Jangkang Kuning (Xylopia fusca) that are eaten by wild orangutans, mushrooms, pitcher plants, butterflies, a millipede, a tree frog, big ants, an orangutan nest and a wild orangutan with her baby.  During the walk, they had to use a GPS and a compass to orient themselves in the forest, through which they were introduced to some of the methods used by BNF scienties to conduct research in the forest and experience it first hand.

Let’s read their testimonies from the field trip.

IRWANDI

Hi, I am Irwandi and I’m in 5th-grade, in elementary school. I joined the Anak Sebangau Community this year and this was the first time I visited the Sebangau Research Camp. I had never come into the forest before, I felt nervous and excited at the same time!

I walked into the peat-swamp forest with all of my friends from Anak Sebangau, learned about the forest and all wildlife within it. I  heard crickets, saw bear scratch marks on a tree, birds, anthills, squirrels, lizards, and spider webs.

Do you know what made me really happy about this field trip? I saw orangutan nests and an orangutan! Feb and her new infant are wild orangutans in Sebangau that have been followed by the research team for research. I feel so lucky to have met them!

Besides wildlife, I learned about feeding trees of gibbons and orangutans. I saw and touched a yellow liana, which was a feeding source of some of the primates in Sebangau.

It was a wonderful experience for me. I will always remember it and share this story with my friends.

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SRILA LESTARI

Hi, my name is Srila. I’ve been a member of the Anak Sebangau Community since 2018. This is my second visit to the camp, but I was still very excited! I am always happy during field trips anyway!

This field trip was really special to me because I got the opportunity to stay overnight at camp. We experienced a night survey to search for nocturnal animals and other wildlife. My friends and I were accompanied by Kak Petricia (Anak Sebangau Coordinator),  Kak Ina and Kak Dino (BNF’s Education Staff). We walked for only 200 meters when we saw frogs and black ants. After that, we turned off our flashlights to focus on wildlife sounds. I heard many insect sounds and didn’t hear any other noises from the city. It was quiet and calm. I feel relaxed to be in the forest at night.

We then returned to camp after the night-walk and had dinner. I enjoyed the food, had a great chat with all my friends, and couldn’t wait to start the next day. I thought to myself, what will I see tomorrow?

I woke up in the morning with a great feeling!

We were explained about the use of a compass and GPS before we walked into the forest. We learned how it is to be a ‘scientist’ while walking in the forest. I saw a yellow tree with the roots sticking out of the ground. The tree is called  Jangkang Kuning (Xylopia fusca), I found it 100 meters from camp. This tree is one of the feeding trees of orangutans and gibbons in the Sebangau Forest.

We walked further into the forest, about 150 meters from the camp and found Ganoderma applanatum. It is a fungi that looks like a log, the texture is hard and is dark brown in colour. I heard that it grows on trees. Learning about the forest is really interesting. I learned a lot!

I can’t forget the sounds in nature and all the insects buzzing around the forest. I’m really happy!

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Learning doesn’t always have to be in a classroom! Anak Sebangau is an initiative of the BNF Education team that involve children in extra-curricular/after-school activities. The team designs and implements environmental education and provide training in regular school subjects in local schools through innovative and fun approaches/methods for learning.

The children will present their learnings and experiences from this year at the Anak Sebangau Festival that will be held on 24th November 2019 at Kereng Bangkirai Village. We believe that we have sown the seed regarding environmental education in the minds of the children through our activities, it may not be apparent now, but we hope that it will grow and be a fruitful endeavour, resulting in a sustainable and long-term impact in their lives, outlooks and the environment. We hope the children can inspire other young members of the society to protect the forest and care about the environment like they have begun to do!

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