The Future of Conservation

By Terri Breeden, GPOCP Program Director
Each year in December we host a 3-day training course for our Bornean Orangutan Caring Scholarship (BOCS) recipients and this year was no exception. This program gives a 4-year scholarship to deserving, yet under-privileged, youth hailing from the regencies of Ketapang and Kayong Utara in West Kalimantan, with support from the Orang Utan Republik Foundation. The scholarship allows these students to attend Tangjungpura University in the city of Pontianak with some requirements such as maintaining a high GPA, conducting their undergraduate research on orangutans or their rainforest habitat, and interning every year for 1-month. GPOCP also holds a 3-day capacity building workshop to even further develop their skills and prepare them for a future career in conservation!
We hosted our event at Canopy Center, a café, restaurant, and hostel. It was a great location for us to all be together and share delicious meals and learning experiences! We started the weekend off by welcoming our new BOCS recipients. We have been so busy that I wasn’t able to give a proper introduction earlier this year, but we have 6 new students: Fitri Melyana, Ari Marlina, Mega Oktavia Gunawan, Gracia Ifri Sandy, Surianto, and Reni Riasari.
New BOCS students from left to right, Ari Marlina, Gracia Ifri, Surianto, Environmental Education Manager Mariamah Achamd, Program Director Terri Breeden, Fitri Melyana, Reni Riasari, and Mega Oktavia.
This year we focused our workshop on the future. I wanted the students to think about goals and how to obtain those goals. We did activities such as mind mapping for future goals, interview practice, making a professional CV, and public speaking practice. We also had two special guests give informative talks to our students. First was Sri Ranti, from Planet Indonesia, who discussed Climate Finance and second, we had Sulhani, from Titian, who discussed Advocacy Campaigns for Wild Animals.
Sulhani, from Titian, giving a presentation about the importance of advocacy campaigns and how the students can implement these activities into their everyday lives.
I truly love working with these students. Each of them has their own story that we don’t always get to share. Victor Samudera started out as a class comedian, and is now top of his class and class president! Dedi Januari was very shy but absorbed information like a sponge and now doesn’t hesitate to speak up. BOCS alumnus Hendri Gunawan initially wasn’t accepted into his program, but eventually graduated Cum Laude! And Muchlis Saptura, a recent grad, is now manager at an orangutan rehabilitation center! These are just a few of the stories from our 31 students. With the opportunity to go to university and the guidance provided by GPOCP, these young adults are shining brighter than expected. These were all kids who could not afford to go to college, but have accepted the challenge and then excelled at it!
The BOCS students presenting their conservation campaign messages to the group using their public speaking skills.
While these students say I am an inspiration to them, they are truly an inspiration to me. They give me hope for the future of conservation, not only in Indonesia, but around the world. These young adults are going places and I am happy to say that they are not only my friends, but more like family! I whole-heartedly believe in the power of education and the impact this program will have on the conservation of wild orangutan populations through supporting these emerging leaders.
The group of BOCS students together for their annual 3-day capacity building training.
Let’s keep the momentum up! Can you help support our efforts to build the next generation of conservationists?