KUCHING: The Natural Resources and Environmental Board (NREB) can pride itself on the successful implementation of its Kelab Pencinta Alam Sekitar (Kelab Pals) to inculcate environmental awareness and conservation in the younger generations.
More than a decade since the Kelab Pals programme was launched in June 1999, a total of 327 schools in the state have become members of the club.
Thousands of students have learned of the need to be environment-friendly while becoming more aware of the importance of nature-biodiversity conservation.
The Kelab Pals programme does not only target students but also teachers, future teachers, higher learning institutes and local communities.
“NREB is taking an initiative to create a younger generation that takes care of the environment by collaborating with schools, higher learning institutes, the government, non-governmental organisations and corporate agencies with environmental programmes.
“We are trying to grow a culture where society participates in environmental conservation and biodiversity protection,” said a NREB spokesperson when met at the Kelab Pals workshop for high schoolers held at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) Faculty of Resource Science and Technology (FSTS) lab here yesterday.
Also present were NREB senior public relations officer Ismail Yussuf, FSTS deputy Dean for Undergraduate and Student Development Assoc Prof Mohd Hasnain Mohd Hussain, participating school teachers and NREB facilitators.
The 28-year-old spokesperson, who was one of the programme’s facilitators, added that there were reasons to be optimistic that Kelab Pals would succeed in the long run to influence and inculcate the importance of taking care of the environment in the people here.
Kelab Pals’ objective was to teach and give participants real examples of local biodiversity.
The future generations have to learn and know their biodiversity before realising what’s going on with the environment.
The programme’s aim, through its environmental education initiative, was to create a behaviour change and inculcating ‘green attitude’ instead of instructing people to react.
She opined that awareness of the need to take care of the environment had started to yield positive effect in society here.
The corporate sector has started to come in with funding, society’s participation and council initiatives have increased.
“It is progressing well. Local councils have introduced many initiatives to help environment conservation. The no-plastic bags Saturdays initiated by Miri council is a good example,” she said.
In regards to the environmental educational awareness workshop at Unimas over the weekend, 50 students from 11 secondary schools in the city, Bau, Serian, Kota Samarahan and Padawan took part in the PALS environmental workshop.
The two-and-a-half-day programme saw students participate in bat trapping, insect survey, bird watching, microbial and arboretum studies and many more.
The theme of the workshop was ‘our biodiversity, our future’.
“About 70 per cent of the syllabus in these workshops give student hands-on experience. The workshop sharpens the skills of participants in solving environmental issues while spurring change for them to be more positive to nature. We hope to produce green ambassadors among the students to actively participate in protecting and conserving the environment,” she said.
The workshop was organised in collaboration with Unimas FSTS and the State Education Department.