WWF Supporters discover the Heart of Borneo
The lucky participants flew from the big Jakarta city, ready to experience the natural beauty and wonderful people of Borneo from 8-11 February 2012. The journey began very early in the morning and after travel by plane, car and boat they arrived at their final destination, Danau Sentarum National Park in West Kalimantan.
This tiring trip for city-folk did not dampen their excitement upon arriving at the park. They stayed with Iban the local people in their traditional long house called Rumah Betang and learned the culture. During the day, they learned about nature by exploring local lakes, observing unique biodiversity, meeting honey farmers and trekking to Bukit Tekenang, the hill in the lake where an information center is located. Supporters visited WWF offices in Pontianak and also Sintang, where they gained more knowledge and insight about WWF work in the field, especially about the Heart of Borneo program.
Silfia Febrina, Public and Supporter Relation Coordinator from WWF-Indonesia said that, “this trip reminds me why I am here, why I work for WWF and why I love it. It is so inspiring to see the dedication of my colleagues in the field and their spirit to work for the protection of the national park. I am happy to see that all participants enjoyed the beauty of the Heart of Borneo, even though they have to travel such a long way and over hard terrain, by boat and cars. Happier because I know that has strengthened supporters’ support toward the WWF program. One participant committed to increase their regular donation to WWF, while another participant who was not supporter, claimed the readiness to become one”.
Hermayani Putera, WWF’s leader of the West Kalimantan office said, “we’re excited to share stories with WWF supporters on what we do in the field, implementing the Heart of Borneo program. It is our pleasure to facilitate interaction between two different communities, who have been really supporting of our conservation work, but never met each other, that is local community members and Jakarta based supporters. Both groups have exchanged stories and life experiences. Amazing! It is like the saying goes ‘once met, but inspiring the whole life through’”.
The Heart of Borneo trip was part of WWF’s Supporter Gathering program. The theme of the program was ‘The Year of Forest’. Through Supporter Gathering, WWF aims to bring its field conservation works more closely to its (mostly urban) supporters as well as the general public. The gathering has encouraged people to support tree plantation for ecological corridors in West Kalimantan through member donation. One lucky supporter, Ratri Adhita Dewi, has won a free trip to Heart of Borneo. While the others paid for trip cost of around USD 700 -1,000 per person.
In her own words, Dhita said, “My journey to the Heart of Borneo has become an incredibly amazing trip for me. It has left a room deep in my heart to reflect the meaning of forest to support all creatures’ life in the world. I could see that local people here, from different subtribes, such as Malay, Iban, Kantuk, Embaloh, who are living in the park, can really ‘share room’ together, respect each other and not become violent to others’ line. The local wisdom, commitment, and simple way of living have formed their mindset and just showed that there is balance between human and nature. We’re sad to say goodbye to Iban people, even though we’re new to them, and they to us. “Lantang atiku betemu bala pangan” ... My heart is glad to meet you. Good bye. “