The future of forest ecosystems in Central Kalimantan is very much dependent on the younger generation’s awareness of forest sustainability. Therefore, holistic environmental education during early childhood is a critically important step for protecting the future of our forests.
Education Manager, Dwi Riyan, conveyed this message in a talkshow with the theme “Building Conservation Awareness from Early Age through Environmental Education”, organized by the Borneo Nature Foundation (BNF) Indonesia, through a zoom webinar on 28th November 2020. The event held a series of activities at the Anak Sebangau Festival (FAS) 2020, which was created by BNF as a token of appreciation for the participation and enthusiasm of the Anak Sebangau children group in participating in environmental education.
In addition to Riyan, there were also speakers at the talkshow including Founder Sejiwa Dienna Haryana, Head of the Vocational School of the Central Kalimantan Provincial Office Eka Aprilianti, and the moderator was Founder of the Palangka Raya School of Friends, Qonita Tajuddin.
“Through environmental education, many things can be changed and built, including awareness of the importance of environmental sustainability. Perspectives and behaviour towards the environment that used to tend to not care about the environment can change,” said Riyan.
Therefore, he continued, in 2016, BNF formed Anak Sebangau, the community of children in the Kereng Bangkirai Palangka Raya City who cares about the environment. Riyan hopes that, through environmental education, Anak Sebangau will gain the knowledge and means to initiate conservation actions on their own, and become facilitators of change in the future. Currently, there are 30 children from Kereng Bangkirai who are members of Anak Sebangau.
Anak Sebangau Coordinator Petricia Hutasoit added that children who are members of the Anak Sebangau are also encouraged to become conservation leaders in the future. One of the main problems that arise is an attitude of indifference to the environment and a lack of knowledge and awareness of the importance of environmental sustainability.
“So, this is where environmental education should play an important role. The Anak Sebangau Festival itself is to promote the Anak Sebangau program, showcasing what they have learnt over the year, shared with families and communities to inspire other young people to take the same role.” she continued.
According to the Head of the Vocational School of the Central Kalimantan Provincial Office, Eka Aprilianti, environmental education can help students develop real knowledge about the natural environment, especially related to how the ecosystem works.
“With environmental education, we can also find out the impact of human behaviour on the environment, and create a more positive perception of the value of the universe, develop environmentally-friendly habits, and involve students in environmental management programs to develop student psychology and students spiritual relationships with nature,” she said.
The Anak Sebangau Program further developed into a new program called the Sebangau Rangers. This program was started in 2019 for teenagers, providing hands-on learning activities in nature, especially the Sebangau forest.
“2019 start to focus on learning about conservation, peat swamp, peatlands, peat forests, animal inhabitants such as gibbons, orangutans and more,” explained BNF Sebangau Ranger Coordinator Aloysius Dinora.
Dinora said, in 2020 the education team has provided practical skills such as gardening in a simplified way, as well as trying to provide understanding and training about being an eco-tour guide because Kereng Bangkirai has recently become a tourist hotspot.
Written by Yohanes Prahara, BNF’s Content Creator And Media Liaison