“FSB 2011: Learning about Environmental Issues in Indonesia”
Two students joined the FS this time. Despite the few student number, the FS was held since the later part of it was joined by another environmental study tour for university under- and post-graduate students organized by Hokkaido and other universities, with SATREPS subsidy. We arrived in Palangkaraya of Central Kalimantan via Jakarta three days prior to the other tour. We had an eco-boat tour where we watched orangutans on a sanctuary, river sand gold mining, and visited a community on the river bank. We also visited the Sabangau National Park, reaching there by a speed boat and going to the deep of this peatland forest on foot. We learnt the ecology and biodiversity of this forest and planted a small tree on the river bank. We visited a traditional Dhakay ceremonial monuments on the way back.
The environmental study tour had 34 participants in total, including ourselves, composed of 17 student participants, 4 student staff, 11 researcher staff, and 2 invited participants. The participants came from different institutions and were of various majors/backgrounds. Since we only have humanities and social sciences at Meiji Gakuin University, it was an inspiring experience to work together with many natural scientists and students from different disciplines. After the two tour joined, we visited the Natural Laboratory in the peatland forests where CO2 measurement and ecological researches are conducted by world researchers, went on the eco-boat tour for the second orangutan watching, visited a water supply company. The following day, we had an all-day long lecture almost lasting until mid-night, which made my brain almost dysfunctional. The hardest part of the tour was probably a tree planting activity in a flooded peatland where the reddish peatland water came up to the hip level. We heard that local people would not do tree planting in such a deep water, but we practically had no choice to postpone the activity.