Written by Petricia A. Hutasoit (BNF’s Education Staff)
Last month, the Education Programme, Anak Sabangau, learned about the importance of biodiversity, while learning about the tree species and animals that live in the Sabangau forest. At the end of the lessons, the Education Team brought Anak Sabangau to visit CIMTROP’s LAHG Camp to have firsthand experience applying what they have learned to their forest experience where BNF carries out long-term research.
The kids were very excited. They went to camp in small boats called klotoks to participate in some activities in the forest with members of BNF staff who carry out the long-term research there. They first walked around the forest, and during the walk, they stopped 5-7 times, learning about navigation in the forest using a map, peat composition, trees species identification and the threats of the forest. They also learned about the sounds of the forest and why it is very important to listen carefully to the sounds while walking around. The kids learned about the colors of the forest by collecting everything that they found, matching it with the color circle, and finally making a collage with the colorful materials they collected from the forest. after that, they make some collage on the board paper. They also learned how to use compasses and GPS units necessary for the research in LAHG and why BNF does the research in the Sabangau forest.
Moreover, after the forest walk, the kids learned about biodiversity through dragonfly surveys. They learned how to catch and handle some dragonfly and damselfly species, and then identified the individuals based on a book made by BNF staff who carry out the dragonfly surveys each month. The experts from BNF shared with the kids why they do the surveys and the importance of dragonflies for the environment.
Not only did the kids learn about the forest and biodiversity, the kids also learned about peat-swamp restoration. They went to the nursery and learned how BNF staff collect the seeds from the forest until they are ready to plant in the burnt forest area.
The children divided into three groups from the ages of 8 – 15 years old. One of the groups of kids, from the ages of 10 – 15 years old, got a chance to sleep in camp for one night. They could feel the differences of the forest between night and day, and they could hear and observe the nocturnal wildlife.
Through this experience, the children living in the nearby forest were able to experience the forest they have been living near for their whole lives and better understand why foreign researchers travel there. Now, they better understand what the researchers and BNF staff do in the forest, how the forest is, what is in the forest and why it is essential for them to protect their forest and environment. Hopefully now that the kids have been introduced to the world of research, this will inspire them to help conservation or participate in research in the future.