Conservation Education enables people of all ages to learn about the natural world. It also provides the opportunity for people to appreciate their own country's natural resources and how to conserve them for the future. The Aspinall Indonesia team have operated a comprehensive programme of educational experiences and activities targeted to varying age groups and populations for over a decade.
University Students work with our Monitoring Teams at Mt Tilu © The Aspinall Foundation Indonesia
This includes university students who visit our Mt Tilu Javan gibbon rehabilitation and release project, currently co-funded by IUCN Save our Species. Most months of the year students from universities in Indonesia will join our monitoring teams at the release sites. Pictured above are veterinary students from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Padjadjaran University conducting gibbon observation as part of an internship programme. The team also provide educational talks to younger children resident in the villages surrounding the protected area, although the restrictions imposed due to coronavirus have limited opportunities since the pandemic began. Fortunately, these restrictions are gradually being lifted.
High School students on a guided tour with one of our keepers at JPRC © The Aspinall Foundation Indonesia
During the height of the pandemic our team in Indonesia developed an on-line series of webinars to stay in touch with school children. Although successful it isn’t the same as a real visit and in the last couple of months over 200 children have been invited to visit our Javan Primate Rehabilitation Centre where they have been able to learn about the vital conservation work being carried out to protect Javan primates.
Primary school students watching a video about Javan primates © The Aspinall Foundation Indonesia
It is important that school visits include clear information on the need for conservation, both of natural habitats and of the diverse wildlife, much of which faces the threat of extinction. As the main threats are due to human activities it is also important to explain how changes can be made that mitigate human/wildlife conflict.
Primary school children enjoying some colouring in fun © The Aspinall Foundation, Indonesia
However we all know learning is easier when some fun is involved and our school packs include colouring pencils, drawings, masks and stickers which are enjoyed by the children and colouring competitions are frequently held.
Our team give a presentation of our Javan Primate Project to a local Boy Scout group, Rancabali village. © The Aspinall Foundation, Indonesia
Despite their busy workload the Aspinall Indonesia team undertake to raise awareness and provide education wherever possible, especially when it involves the younger generation who will become the decision makers of the future. For example, in August this year the team gave a presentation to a local Boy Scout group.
It is through conservation education that people can learn how natural resources and ecosystems affect each other and, crucially, how these finite resources can be used in a sustainable way.
This project is co funded by IUCN Save Our Species. The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of The Aspinall Foundation and do not necessarily reflect the views of IUCN.