Every year since 2001 we have welcomed volunteers from around the globe to the Borneo rainforest. This year we will have three groups of enthusiastic volunteers. The first group joining us in the Sabangau Forest arrived last week and are eager to get started!
Upon arrival the 10 volunteers were given a full introduction to help them settle into the next six weeks with BNF. The volunteer group visited the BNF office for an introduction to our work, visited BNF’s research counterpart, CIMTROP at the University of Palangka Raya (UPR) and were given a pocket book to help them understand the culture and lifestyle in Borneo, and what to expect during their experience.
Volunteers were then divided into two groups to explore the traditional market and shops in the city of Palangka Raya and stock up on supplies before heading to the forest. Some volunteers used this as a good opportunity to practice their Indonesian language.
The volunteers spent their first week in the Sabangau Forest learning about our various research techniques and adapting to the tough peat-swamp forest. They were fortunate to see gibbons, red langur monkeys and orangutans around camp within their first two days in the forest! Over the past week, they have also learned how to set up camera and butterfly traps, navigate the forest and measure our tree plots.
During the next six weeks, they will go on expedition to a remote forest location, learn more about the local Dayak culture and assist with BNF’s educational activities. Local university students from UPR will join activities with the volunteers from 1st July.
Our volunteers gain experience on the frontline of conservation; restoring damaged habitats, discovering species in unexplored forests, carrying out habitat surveys and trekking through the peat-swamp to follow wild orangutans. This is a hands-on, educational experience as volunteers have the opportunity to learn about habitat and biodiversity monitoring, as well as gaining a range of forest skills.
In total 30 volunteers from around the world will be joining us in Borneo over the next four months. As well as contributing to the conservation of many endangered species and habitats, the volunteers will have a window into a career in conservation biology and hopefully, many unforgettable experiences! (DN)