Celebrating Orangutan Caring Week 2021

By Petrus Kanisius, Communications Officer

Orangutan Caring Week (OCW) is held every year in November to raise awareness about the critically endangered orangutan. Each year, GPOCP/Yayasan Palung celebrates this week-long event. This year it was held from November 7th to 13th. Specifically, this year’s theme was “Respecting nature to save orangutans, biodiversity & our collective future.”

RK-REBONK volunteers and WBOCS students take a group photo after planting trees in celebration of Orangutan Caring Week.

Each year at Yayasan Palung we host a series of activities to celebrate Orangutan Caring Week, and involve youth volunteers from the RK-TAJAM and REBONK groups, the West Bornean Orangutan Caring Scholarship (WBOCS) students, as well as children and teens from a variety of local schools. This year, our team visited SMP Negeri 9 Ketapang junior high school to carry out a series of activities. Students learned about the benefits of orangutans and forests. They also learned to identify different types of plants that grow around their school. Unfortunately, though we planned to take a field trip to the urban forest of Ketapang, we had to cancel due to heavy rainfall that day.

The conservation youth group volunteers from RK-TAJAM and REBONK played an active role in celebrating OCW. On November 13th, TAJAM members performed a puppet show, created screen prints and distributed free reusable tote bags in Ketapang. From the 13th-14th in Kayong Utara Regency, REBONK members and WBOCS students commemorated OCW with SMK Negeri 1 Simpang Hillir high school students involved in the school’s Student Nature Lovers club. This included screening a series of environmental films at our Bentangor Environmental Education Center. The group also planted jengkoltree seedlings in Bukit Mendale, Sejahtera Village in Sukadana.

Youth group volunteers pose with their orangutan puppets and a young community participant during OCW.

Additionally, on November 9th, the Bentangor Kids Club met at Bentangor to celebrate OCW. The group of 43 children learned the Si Pongo song, watched a film about orangutans, and competed in a quiz about orangutans and the rainforest. The children were all very enthusiastic about participating in the activities and got quite competitive during the quiz session, wanting to win the prizes!

The Bentangor Kids Club celebrates OCW at the Bentangor Environmental Education Center.

WBOCS students that live in the city of Pontianak where they attend university also participated in Orangutan Caring Week. Students participated in the planting of 300 tree seedlings in the peat forest of Peniti Dalam 1 village, Segedong District, Mempawah Regency. Muhammad Syainullah (WBOCS 2020) and Gusti Irawan (WBOCS 2019) also spoke on Pontianak’s Radio Kharisma show, focusing on the theme “Conservation of Natural Resources and Orangutans from a Legal and Environmental Perspective.” Other students held a lecture at a school in Siantan Hulu, Pontianak.

WBOCS students and REBONK volunteers install a signpost for Orangutan Caring Week 2021. It reads “Plant one tree, grow one life.

Also, an online webinar/lecture was held on November 12th. Speakers on the webinar included Siti Roqayah from the Gunung Palung National Park office, Ahmad Rizal from the GPOPC/YP research team, and Rahn Siti Aqila from RK-TAJAM. The moderator of the event was Muhammad Syainullah, a current WBOCS student. This webinar was an opportunity to commemorate OCW and invite the next generation of conservationists to learn more and participate in respecting nature for the future of biodiversity.

All in all, the series of activities for Orangutan Caring Week 2021 were a success. It’s thanks to the volunteers, community and local schools that we can continue to run this important programming.