When visiting OuTrop and the Sabangau Rainforest with my fellow students from Cleveland District State High School, in early 2015, I was able to realise how beautiful natural rainforest can be. Whilst a large portion of forests in Indonesia has been destroyed having the chance to be in touch with natural environment changed my mindset. I was very thankful for the once in life time opportunity and the very hands on activities I was presented with. Learning what Scientists and researchers do to help protect the forests made me feel eco centric, from analysing CO2 levels in the atmosphere to learning how camera traps are set up to measure biodiversity and capture animal behaviour.
When I learned, only a few months after returning to Australia, about the catastrophic fires that set this incredible habitat ablaze I felt compelled to do more to help the residents of the Sabangau. My classmates and I decided we needed to help, so we organised a week long fundraising blitz at school as well as an online awareness campaign https://planetfunder.org/projects/StudentsforOrangutanTropicalPeatland
We sold palm oil free treats at lunchtimes including: banana smoothies, beavertails, potato slinkies and one of our favourite foods we had while at OuTrop, the famous bush potato donuts! These were a massive hit with the school. In 1 week we were able to raise over $1500 and combined with our online crowdfunding we raised a total of $2,600.
The money raised from this has helped us to purchase 4 high definition camera traps, with the rest of the money to be used to support the damming projects in the rainforest. We felt this was most appropriate use of the money as when we were in the forest we learned about the importance of the hydrology, especially in the fire seasons.