Bali Begawan Foundation Provides Educational Opportunities to School Children from Papua

Gianyar, - The Begawan Foundation recently welcomed 150 fifth grade students form the Jayawijaya Education Foundation (YPJ) in Papua who, over the course of 8 visits to the Begawan Educational Center, get exposed to a number of aspects of Balinese culture and society.

While in Bali, the Papuan students undertook a Batik making course, learned Balinese dance and trekked through many corners of the Island.

At the Begawan Foundation they received an intensive environmental module as part  of their Bali educational experience.

Embracing the "Learning by Doing" approach to education, the first of a continuous series of Papuan arrived on April 11, 2016 in a program that ended on April 27, 2016. Each visit lasted 2.5 hours and involved the students working in small groups participating in interactive sessions with Begawan staff members.

Each visit began with a short introduction by the Foundation's veterinarian Deva who welcomed the students to the center and provided an outline on the Foundation's history, mission and current breed and release program for the Bali Starling. The students also watched a short video made by Begawan Foundation called "The Bali Starling: The Icon" in an outdoor theatre. The video depicted the Foundation's breed and release center and raised awareness of the threat of extinction facing the Bali Starling.

Following the introductory sessions, the students were divided into 4 groups and rotated through activity stations organized by staff members. Students were taken on a tour of the center and introduced to a number of critically endangered species, such as the lorikeets Eclectus, Wreathed Hornbill and an African Grey.

The students were also able to view the breeding cages and taught how to identify the male and female Bali Starlings by looking at the length of their crests. The male Bali Starlings have longer feathers on their head, which they fluff up when bobbing to impress a female.

The students also got up close and personal with the Foundation's male Wreathed Hornbill. The students learnt that the male hornbill is a very loyal bird dedicated to feeding his female mate while she sits on incubating eggs.

The Foundation's veterinarian, Deva, showed students how to differentiate between a human hair follicle and a bird feather when observed under a microscope. This prompted a discussion on the function played by feathers.

The Senior Bird Keeper, Ngurah, encouraged students to participate in the preparation of food for the Bali Starling. Students assisted by chopping fruits and then delivered food to the waiting birds.

Finally, the Foundation's Breed and Release Manager, Mehd, took the students around the center and visited the Green School where released Bali Starling have been seen building nests.

After holding discussions with the students, Mehd observed: "I was very pleased to know that they are fully aware that birds and especially parrots shouldn't be kept as pet any more. I asked if anybody had a pet bird at home back in Papua. Their answer was really pleasing to my ears. They said they used to have birds and they mentioned a few parrot species such as Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Palm cockatoos, Black-capped Lories and one of them had even kept a Cassowary! But now none of them did have a bird at home because they are not supposed to have wild birds." The sessions ended with the students gathering to record their experiences in personal journals. [BT /]