The Inauguration of the 11th Cohort of REBONK Youth Group Volunteers

By Petrus Kanisius, Communications Officer

One of our strategies for supporting conservation of orangutans and their habitat is to instill knowledge and enthusiasm among the community, especially the younger generation. GPOCP/Yayasan Palung’s Environmental Education program regularly works to visit schools for lectures and puppet shows, host field trips, and carry out programming for youth group volunteers.

Our two youth groups first started in 2010. One group, based in the Ketapang Regency, is named RK-TAJAM (an abbreviation which translates to Conservation Volunteers – Nature Guarding Cadets), and the other, based in Kayong Utara Regency is named REBONK (short for Bentangor Center Volunteers for Conservation). A major goal of these groups is to educate youth outside of the formal education system. Members receive training in skills such as organizational leadership, ecotourism and media.

Members of these youth groups regularly help with conservation activities, such as radio broadcasts and larger-scale special events like World Orangutan Day, Orangutan Caring Week, Earth Day, and Waste Awareness Day. Over the years they have held dance performances, concerts, interactive plays, talk shows, trivia nights, movie discussions, mobile libraries, and more. Some of our now-routine activities actually started out as ideas from youth volunteers, including making informational signposts about waste and other waste awareness activities, and social service activities such as fundraising for charity.

New REBONK members (front row) pose on the Mak Bagok beach with current members and GPOCP/Yayasan Palung staff (second row).

In 2022, 14 new members joined the 11th cohort of REBONK volunteers. These new volunteers come from many different schools throughout the Kayong Utara Regency. This month, from February 11th-13th, an inauguration was held at the Mak Bagok beach, in Pampang Harapan Village, in the Sukadana District. During the inauguration event, new volunteers participated in a variety of activities including learning about the environment, observing wildlife, and listening to the sounds of nature. Volunteers were also invited to discuss environmental issues such as waste, large-scale land clearing and flooding. The goal of this activity was then for volunteers to map out these environmental problems and discuss potential solutions.

New youth group members take part in an education activity during one night of the two-day inauguration event.

On the final day of activities, the official inauguration ceremony was held. New members joined GPOCP/YP staff and senior REBONK volunteers. A new REBONK president was also elected. Volunteer Widia will now replace the former president, Selvi Febbiani, in this role.

GPOCP/Yayasan Palung congratulates these new members of REBONK. We hope they continue to learn and spread conservation knowledge throughout the Kayong Utara and Ketapang regencies, and beyond!

REBONK volunteers hike through the forest to get to the Mak Bagok beach.