One of the primary reasons that Maureen and I traveled to Borneo was to conduct an education workshop to initiate a collaborative carnivore education strategy for Sabah. We wanted to bring together the major players in environmental education in Sabah and discuss ways to augment their current educational programming to also include messaging and activities on carnivores. This would also be the venue for delivering our carnivore education kits to our partner organizations.The workshop was held on June 28 at the Rainforest Discovery Center outside of Sandakan. This is a beautiful facility on the edge of the Kapili-Sepilok Forest Reserve that is managed by the Sabah Department of Forestry. The RDC provides extensive environmental education programming and has an amazing network of trails and rainforest boardwalks allowing visitors a peak into the canopy. We really enjoyed touring this facility and were even lucky enough to spot a flock of endemic Borneo bristleheads and see giant flying squirrels on a later visit!
Twenty people attended the workshop including RDC staff members; educators from the non-profit group, Hutan; a member of the Sabah Wildlife Department who conducts education at the zoo in Kota Kinabalu; staff from the Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Center; and several field researchers. The group worked together great, tackling tasks such as identifying key carnivore conservation education issues, prioritizing audiences, and beginning the development of key education strategies. The meeting ended with a plan in place for each of the organizations to institute carnivore messaging in ways appropriate and achievable for within their current structure.
In addition, Maureen and I went over the contents of the carnivore education kits and demonstrated several of the activities. Participants were very pleased with the kits and are eager to use them in their programs. We appreciate the Point Defiance AAZK Chapter and the donors of the CLP for making it possible to provide these teaching resources.
I’m hopeful that this meeting was just a first step in a long-term collaboration to benefit carnivore education in Borneo. Our role is to facilitate a partnership in which we can all continue to share resources and utilize the expertise and programming of the members of our diverse groups. I’m encouraged by our progress so far and hope it will benefit some of the endangered wildlife of Sabah. Much thanks goes to the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and the CLP for supporting this workshop.