Indonesia: World Heritage Eco Learning Program
From October 25 to 28, the "World Heritage Eco Learning Program" was offered in Ujung Kulon National Park which is a World Heritage site in Indonesia.
This program was inaugurated in June 2011, based on the partnership forged between Panasonic and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, for the purpose of promoting World Heritage conservation and sustainable development through offering environmental education to children of the next generation. It is expected that over a 2-year period through 2012, approximately 4,000 children will have the opportunity to learn about environmental conservation through visiting one of the approximately 10 World Heritage sites selected for the program. Prior to this event in Indonesia, 1,363 children already participated in the program in Japan, U.K., Brazil, and India.
Each event consists of
1) Environmental education through a World Heritage site (Learn)
2) Visit to a World Heritage site (Touch/Know)
3) World Heritage site cleaning activity (Eco Action)
4) Eco Picture Diary creation (Review) & 3D image experience.
At the event held at Ujung Kulon National Park, 369 children from 5 elementary schools participated and the superintendent of schools of Sumur was present as a special guest.
First, Ms. Ritzy Revianti of PT. Panasonic Gobel Indonesia (PGI) and Ms. Amila Nugraheni of Ujung Kulon National Park gave a lecture with a quiz on "World Heritage" and how global warming and environmental destruction negatively impact "World Heritage" sites. In response, the children thought of eco actions they can take to protect such sites.
After the lecture, the children followed a tour guide through the park and had direct contact with its vast nature, beginning with its mangrove forest. However, even with its World Heritage site status, the park was littered with trash and the remnants of bonfires could be seen. To address this problem the staff members began a cleaning activity which the children quickly joined in, and through cleaning the forest with their hands, they developed a greater sensitivity to the World Heritage site near them and physically learned the importance of individual eco actions to protect the forest.
While walking in the park, children were given the opportunity to experience photography and cinematography using Panasonic digital still cameras and 3D movie camcorders. It was their first such experience and a thrill for them.
After the park visit, a workshop was held to review the day's activities. Children reflected on the things they had experienced and created an eco picture diary. When the high-resolution 3D images were played on a large TV screen, everyone gasped in surprise because they were so amazed at the wonderful images.
At the end of the event, a Panasonic representative closed the event with this message of encouragement: "You (children) are the ones who will protect the forest of Ujung Kulon, which is a true world treasure, in the years to come. Please remember what you have learned today and keep putting them in practice."
Various reactions were obtained from children who participated in the event. The following are some examples:
- The scenery of the mangrove forest seen from the suspension bridge was very beautiful.
- I was happy to learn many things from the guides. I am looking forward to telling my family what I heard today.
- Picking up trash together was the highlight of the day. I want to tell my parents that it is important to pick up trash we see, and will continue to do it.
- I saw a 3D image for the first time and it was fantastic. I was astonished to see my image come out of the TV screen!
In addition, the management office of the Ujung Kulon National Park commented: "Today’s workshop provided us with very useful information. To protect Ujung Kulon National Park, which is a true world treasure, we would like to proactively and continuously provide environmental education for children of the next generation by utilizing the know-how we learned this time." The eco picture diaries created by the children participating in the World Heritage Eco Learning Program events will be submitted to the "Global Eco Picture Diary Contest 2011 – World Heritage Category" to be held in Paris next year. Future World Heritage Eco Learning Program events are scheduled to be held in 5 more countries, including UAE.
*Ujung Kulon National Park (Registered as a World Heritage Site in 1992)
Ujung Kulon National Park is the first national park in Indonesia with an area of 123,051 hectares. It is located on the southwestern tip of Java Island and consists of Ujung Kulon peninsula and some offshore islands. It is a lowland tropical rainforest and has a varied environment with tropical plants and wild creatures in abundance. The one-horn Javan Rhinoceros, which was once widespread in the area, is now threatened with extinction due to overhunting and is on the IUCN Red List as a critically endangered species. Other species of note living in the area include Banteng (wild cattle), Indian Peafowl, and crab-eating macaque.