Planting seeds of hope in Sumatra

15 January 2020 | Community
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The students transplanting seedlings

From 11 to 16 December, 13 students from the NUS Ridge View Residential College (RVRC) embarked on a reforestation project in Tahura Forest Reserve in Sumatra, Indonesia. The trip was part of a Year 2 forum, “Conservation and Development, Finding the Balance”, offered by the College.

The six-day expedition gave students a chance to have a first-hand experience in learning about rainforest ecology and to visualise the relationships between different aspects of nature conservation. They were also able to hone their observation skills through interacting with the environment and the local community.

After a four-hour drive from Medan city, the team reached the Tahura forest reserve campsite, where they stayed for the duration of the trip, sleeping in tents with basic amenities. Under the guidance of the local forest rangers, the team learnt how to collect seedlings in the rainforest and transplant them into nurseries and designated reforestation plots. They also carried out a clean-up of the forest trails.

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Some of the students at a bee farm they visited

Despite experiencing wet weather, the students’ spirits were not dampened, and in total they planted 218 trees and 329 seedlings. They also visited a local bee farm and the AQUA mineral water factory to gain a greater understanding of the locals’ livelihoods.

“Rainforest recovery is a long-term project that extends beyond just planting saplings. It requires sustained cooperation with the locals, as well as knowledge of the local environment. Being more aware of the amount of effort it takes for rainforest recovery has also caused me to be more mindful of our actions back home in Singapore. If we lose too much of our own rainforests here, it would take a lot of time and effort to play catch-up and fix the damage,” mused Year 3 NUS Engineering and NUS Computing student Fauzan Adipratma Bin Yusman.

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The students with the forest rangers at the reserve

The school will maintain contact with the forest rangers to continue to follow up on the reforestation efforts.

This trip is part of a series of environmental stewardship initiatives offered in RVRC.

By NUS RVRC