CAS Week 2021

Renaissance College

Day 3 - hard labour!

By Logan & Adrian

This morning, we woke up at 5:30am so that we could have a river safari before breakfast. We were split into two groups, one on the lake and the other on the river. It was a very relaxing cruise around due to the much appreciated cool temperature. We even spotted a crocodile and a juvenile crocodile. As we slowly approach for a better view, they would slip off the shore and into the water to become stealthy. It looked just like in the documentaries when crocodiles were in hunting mode. It was very cool to see them start to hide, but we knew we meant we should leave them alone in their habitat. On the lake we spotted a mother and baby orangutan, different to the ones we saw on Monday morning in the sanctuary as these ones were completely wild and have never directly interacted with humans. We then returned to camp to eat breakfast.

After breakfast, we went to an area of the jungle where it was heavily logged in the past. Efforts in the past 20 years have been made to bring back the jungle to what it once was. We contributed to a total of 90 trees planted and the type of trees we planted were fruit trees, to provide food for the local wildlife, including proboscis monkeys, orangutans and macaques. We were all sweaty and tired but it felt rewarding to take part in efforts to bring back the rainforest. After that, we performed maintenance on already planted trees that are in secondary succession at the moment. They were planted by previous volunteers and campers, and we must keep them healthy by untangling all the vines chocking these young trees and clearing the excess shrubs / vines near the roots and soul so that they can thrive.

After a replenishing lunch, we were off again to a forest trail behind where we stayed to pick up non decayed fig fruits that have fallen off the trees. Our goal was to retrieve good and healthy figs and replant the seeds so more figs can be produced. This is important as figs are a keystone species, which means that they are very important in the environment. Figs make a big impact in the rainforest ecosystem as they support many animals as food which is why we retrieved the good figs before they decay. The process also included placing the figs in water as a health indicator. If they float, it means that they are no good as they may have already rotted, and if they sink, they are good to be replanted. Next, we split the healthy figs in half, extract the seeds, dry the seeds under the sun, and place 4 in each soil-filled plastic bag. 

After dinner, we went on a night hike through the jungle to see if we could spot any nocturnal creatures. We mainly saw stick insects, leaf insects, spiders and small tree frogs. This was more physically demanding then the night cruise but equally as rewarding.

One of the global issues we explored today was consumerism, especially concerning palm oil. We learned that palm oil was majorly looked down upon, but we learned that there were actually many benefits to it, including giving jobs to people with little education and it is used in a variety of products, many of which we might not even realize including biscuits, chips and chocolates. In our debate we concluded that we shouldn’t minimize our use of palm oil because they’re in everything, but we should find more sustainable ways of harvesting them and maintaining the rate of which we grow them.

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