Many of the young people we work with, even those living near forests, have never before had the opportunity to experience them first hand. Thus, these field trips are crucial to our environmental education, nature club and youth engagement activities.
Bringing young people to the forest, they meet our local field team, many of whom are from similar backgrounds to the children and represent inspiring role models for people who may feel a career in research and conservation is beyond their reach. They are motivated by how passionately the team cares about the forest and wants to safeguard its future for their families and community.
Our rainforest field trips incorporate practical demonstrations and hands-on activities. Children learn what it means to be a conservation biologist, why research is important and how it supports conservation. We teach them how to use GPS, compass and map to navigate through the forest. They participate in dragonfly surveys, learn how to find orangutan nests and identify key tree species. We demonstrate the role technology plays in research; they get to place camera traps in the forest and feel the excitement of checking the cameras at the end of their visit to see the wildlife they have captured.
Our conservation team introduces them to our seedling nursery. We teach them about our reforestation project and give them the opportunity to get their hands dirty and plant seedlings. We teach them why peat is so important and what we have to do to keep it wet and prevent fires.
Our field trips provide a more informal learning space. We encourage children to ask questions, share ideas, and talk about what they think are the greatest threats to the forest and how we can tackle these threats. We talk about the environment and what they can do to protect it in and around their villages.
We encourage children to get creative; appreciate the colours, sounds and smells; make collages from leaves, seeds and fruit found on the forest floor; take time to be amazed by the insects, birds and butterflies. But our most impressive teaching tool is the forest itself. Nothing compares to seeing wildlife in the wild. We teach the children to be quiet and respect nature, and with the help of our specialist staff, and if they are lucky, the children will see wild orangutans, gibbons and red langurs in their rainforest home – an experience that can influence decisions they make for their future.
Rainforest field trip