In 2016 our annual volunteer programme took place for the first time in the Rungan Forest, Central Kalimantan, in collaboration with Muhammadiyah University of Palangkaraya (UMP). The four-week expedition was held again last month with the help of international volunteers from Exeter University (UK) and local students from UMP.
Volunteers not only assist with the scientific expedition in Rungan Forest, they also joined our Education Programme in the nearby village of Mungku Baru.
Last week 100 students from the Junior and High Schools in Mungku Baru joined our education activities with assistance from the volunteers. Activities were divided into two sessions: watching videos produced by the volunteers of Rungan’s biodiversity and a demonstration of forest research equipment.
During the demonstration of research equipment, many students did not know the name of the tools or how and why they were used. In total 12 pieces of equipment were shown. All students seemed enthusiastic to learn about the equipment and were laughing when they discovered long socks are one of the most important items of clothing worn by researchers in the forest.
Volunteers were given the opportunity to ask the children questions and vice versa. One of the Indonesian children named ‘Bayu’ asked the volunteers “What is the purpose of the research and its benefits for the Mungku Baru community?”
The volunteers explained that they were assisting with the expedition to help provide evidence to upgrade the status of the Rungan Forest to a protected area. They said the most obvious benefit when the forest is protected is clean drinking water, coming from within the forest, for the local community.
Our education team and volunteers also visited Mungku Baru’s Elementary School the following day. Approximately 70 elementary school students watched videos, learnt about research equipment and Borneo’s biodiversity.
The activities were not only about sharing knowledge. The BNF team and volunteers also painted the elementary school buildings in the village.
Borneo Nature Foundation is committed to environmental education, which is conducted in villages adjacent to the forest. The children in the village can become forest ambassadors and we hope to inspire a generation who will become conservationists in the future. (DN)