From Puppets to Environmental Education

By Ranti Naruri, GPOCP Environmental Education Officer
My name is Ranti Naruri, and I come from a family of five children here in Ketapang, West Kalimantan. For the past 10 years, I have worked at GPOCP and dedicated myself to the conservation of orangutans and their rainforest habitat in Ketapang and Kayong Utara. My career in conservation started when I was still in high school. Part of my curriculum was to intern for an institution, and learn how to improve the capacity for tourism in our area. I ended up interning at GPOCP for four months back in 2005. During this time, I learned about each of GPOCP’s programs, especially the Environmental Education Program. Throughout my internship I helped out doing school visits and taking children on field trips to introduce them to the biodiversity found in Gunung Palung National Park. I learned so much about conservation, education, and I really enjoyed working with the kids. After my internship, I joined the GPOCP youth group, TAJAM, so I could stay active in conservation activities.
Ranti giving a lecture about orangutans and their rainforest habitat to local youth. 
In 2008, during Orangutan Caring Week, I was given the opportunity to participate in a puppet show to share knowledge about the plight of orangutans here in Borneo. This event opened the door as we were soon invited to schools throughout the region to host our puppet show. The team at GPOCP recognized my hard work and interest in continuing these educational events and I was hired as an Environmental Education Assistant Field Officer!
Ranti (center) working with youth group member, Wawan (left), and GPOCP staff, Hajeral (right), giving a puppet show to elementary school students.
I have many great memories of my adventures from my time at GPOCP. One of my favorite, yet tiring activities, is our expeditions. During these expeditions we travel to difficult to reach locations to educate the more rural villages about orangutans, their habitat, and what they can do to help save this species. We host puppet shows for the little kids, school lectures for high school students, and community discussions for the adults. We also host a movie night where we show environmentally themed films. Oftentimes the whole village will show up! The roads to these villages are often non-existent which makes travel tiring and difficult. Sometimes we have to use 4WD vehicles and even they have a tough time in the mud. We get to meet so many different people who are often truly interested in learning about our message as they rarely get visitors.
The team working to get a non-4WD vehicle out of the mud during an expedition to one of the more remote reaches of Gunung Palung National Park.
I have always wanted to obtain a higher education. It was difficult for me to divide my time between family, work, and school, but I took classes’ part time and eventually earned my bachelor’s degree in education. I am now ready to go even higher and get my master’s degree in environmental science. I have mixed emotions as I take this next step in my career, but I will forever be grateful for the opportunities that GPOCP has given me. I will use everything that I have learned to continue advocating for conservation and the protection of orangutans and their habitat.