Sunday, May 11, 2008

Student Facilitators Training at Ma'Daerah Turtle Sanctuary

The last two days (8 and 9 May) were spent at the Pusat Santuari Penyu Ma'Daerah, Kerteh. Acted as the coordinator for the students training session regarding the sea turtle conservation at the sanctuary, I got about 4 secondary school students from SMK Paka and 8 primary school pupils from SK Kuala Jengal to be trained as Student Facilitators. This programme had been scheduled for them because they had been selected as Turtle Ambassadors for two National Level School Nature Club (Kelab Pencinta Alam) Annual Camp. The first will be held at Tanjung Piai Resort and Taman Negara Tanjung Piai, Johore (located at the most southern tip of mainland Asia) in July while the second will be held at Taman Negara Kuala Koh, Kelantan in October/November. The Tanjung Piai programme is for secondary school Kelab Pencinta Alam members while the Kuala Koh programme is for primary school Kelab Pencinta Alam members.

Back to the training programme, it had been organised by the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), and being co-organised by the Department of Fisheries and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Paka. Together with the student facilitators were another 30 SMK Paka students that acted as the 'participants for the facilitators'. On behalf MNS, I'll like to thanks the sanctuary staffs, my volunteers and teachers that contributed their time and energy for this programme. To Pn Zahani of SMK Paka, En. Mohd Nor Azizi and En. Amer Salihin of SK Kuala Jengal, Pn Suzani of SBT Tuition Centre (Paka) and En. Azri of Ecocare, thanks for your support. To Education Department of MNS especially Ms. Evelyn, thanks for all efforts that being done to make the training a reality one.

Several activities had been done during the programme such as ice-breaking, group identification activities, simple physical exercise activities, talks on sea turtle conservation and marine ecosystems, sea turtle monitoring activities, nature crafts and BBQ. The participants also being introduced to simple sand and air temperature monitoring activities. Beside that, the facilitators also being brought to the beach for night patrolling session (12 a.m to 3 a.m) and we walked along the 1.7 km beach. Unlucky, there were no turtles came to lay their eggs that night.  However, the facilitators being given the chanches to measure the distance of a green turtle nest (that laid its eggs on the 7 of May) from the high tide water level and from the low tide water level.

The training programme than being continued with beach clean-up and nature crafts activities. The participants had shown their creativities through the 'shells collage' and 'rubbish fashion show' activities. The programme than being closed at 11.30 am with full of memories to be remembered by the participants (I hope so) and one of the memories is the 'chicken dance'.

I also managed to collect several signatures for the UMT's Turtle Research and Rehabilitation Group (formerly known as SEATRU of KUSTEM) campaign on 'I pledge not to eat sea turtles and terrapins eggs for the rest of my life'. Thanks to Prof Chan Eng Heng, the sea turtle expert of UMT for giving me the chances  to collect the signatures on behalf of her and her group.

I am hoping that through this programme, the participants will dissiminate the knowledge they gained regarding the sea turtles to other people. Hope the sea turtles will have better future.  

To all mothers around the world, Happy Mother's Day.

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