Preserving Travel and Culture for Future Generations

By Terri Breeden, GPOCP Program Director
We are excited to announce that GPOCP is one of the recipients to receive funds from the Adventure Travel Conservation Fund (ATCF) whose mission is to conserve resources for the future of travel. This organization supports sustainable adventure tourism which aligns with our mission of creating sustainable communities and preserving the rainforests in and around Gunung Palung National Park. We have a lot planned for the next two years with this grant! Here is an update of what we have done in the last two months.
Our Sustainable Livelihoods team works with local communities to develop their skills to maintain a sustainable way of life instead of illegal logging or other destructive ways to earn a living. We work with our artisans to make Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP), and we work with local farmers to implement organic farming and aquaculture practices. We have been working hard with one particular group of farmers. They like to call themselves, Meteor Garden. We have trained this group in composting methods and they work together to plant, maintain, and harvest their land. Meteor Garden is in the process of becoming a legally recognized group in their community. Our plans include training this group to become leaders and a resource to answer agriculture questions. We are working to build their capacity to give lessons and workshops to local schools and community members wanting to learn about organic farming.
Organic farming group, Meteor Garden, checking on their crops. This group has created a cooperative alliance helping each other plant, maintain, and harvest their crops, with support from GPOCP. 
Our artisans have also been hard at work. One of our plans is to start a youth artisan group to pass down handicraft traditions to the younger generations. We have recently identified our first class of youth artisans. These girls plan to work one-on-one with our adult artisans to learn the weaving techniques to make pandanus products such as handbags and tikars (mats).
GPOCP artisan, Susie (left), teaching a student traditional weaving techniques using pandanus leaves.
Another aspect of this grant is to provide high quality environmental education and conservation awareness throughout the region. We held a five day expedition to the villages of Seponti and Wonorejo. While there, we visited four local schools and gave presentations and puppet shows to over 300 students. We hosted two community discussions, with nearly 50 participants, and carried out two mobile cinema events with 300 participants. Our education team also held a field trip for 65 students to study the animals found in the hilly regions bordering the National Park. They also hosted a 3-day event, bringing our two youth groups together to discuss and promote conservation ideas, and make crafts from recyclable products.
GPOCP staff, Petrus Kanisius (top left) and BOCS recipient, Junardi, giving a lesson on leaf morphology to local high school students.
We also are quite busy at our main office in Ketapang with prepping for our weekly radio broadcasts, gathering ideas for our latest Indonesian newsletter, and writing articles for the local newspapers about the latest happenings in regards to conservation and orangutans throughout Ketapang and Kayong Utara. It has already been a busy couple of months and we are looking forward to seeing the impact of our programs for the rest of this year and this project period.
Again, thank you ATCF for your generous support to protect orangutans, rainforest habitat, and local culture throughout Ketapang and Kayong Utara regencies of West Kalimantan!