Wednesday, June 26

Full schedule planned for inaugural nature festival


KUCHING: Festival goers will be spoilt for choice at the coming Santubong Nature Festival.

With activities for all and the young at heart including easy-going heritage and nature walks, adrenaline-pumping bike racing, kayaking, night photography and night walk, an eco-fashion contest, youth concerts and charity auction, there’s something for everybody.

These activities will take place concurrently at eco-resort Permai Rainforest Resort and Damai Central in Santubong from Nov 9-10.

The Malaysian Nature Society Kuching Branch (MNSKB) is co-organising the Santubong Nature Festival with Permai Rainforest Resort.

The inaugural event is supported by Friends of Sarawak Museum (FoSM), Sarawak Heritage Society (SHS), Sarawak Museum, Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC), Trienekens (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd, LimKokWing Institute of Creative Technology, UCSI University, SSPCA and Damai Central, to name a few.

Admission to this festival is free but certain activities require pre-registration due to limited seats, while firefly watching that requires boat rentals will cost RM50 per child/adult.

On Saturday (Nov 9), nature talks will take place at Permai Rainforest Resort’s conference room starting at 2pm.

The speakers comprise a senior geologist from the Geological Department Sarawak Henry Litong who will speak on Geology of Santubong; wildlife photographer and biologist Chi’en Chien Lee on The Carnivorous Plants of Santubong (2.30pm); social scientist Tengku Hilda Tengku Ahmad on Santubong Stonehenge (3pm); writer and teacher Tom McLaughlin on Chinese Settlers In Santubong (3.30pm); ecologist Rambli Ahmad on Defining Wallace’s Line (4pm); and researcher and entomologist Ikhwan Idris on Butterflies and Moths of Santubong (4.30pm).

An indoor 30-minute talk by herpetologist Hans Breuer, introducing forest creatures of the night will be held at 7.30pm to be followed by a night walk which will take 90 minutes.

The first nature walk starts at 2pm guided by Datin Dr Katherine Pearce, a botanist and forest ecologist. For those interested in the geology of Santubong, Hans Hazebroek who is a geologist, author and professional photographer will give a hands geology walk at 2.30pm after Henry Litong’s talk.

At 3.30pm, there will be a 90-minute Santubong Heritage Walk which is a visit to some archaeological and historical sites in Santubong, led by Karen Shepherd, Sarawak Heritage Society.

Shuttle departs Permai and early registration is required.

There will be workshops on photography with a professional photographer, John Arifin, from Singapore at 2pm at Permai.

The second workshop is on night photography which will be conducted outdoors and this starts at 7pm. Registration required.

For children ages three to 18 years old, there will be a games station conducted by UCSI University students at Permai starting from 2pm onwards.

The three-hour Night Kayaking Experience along the coast of Santubong with trained professionals start at 5.30pm. All equipment is supplied but early registration is required.

Depending on the weather, a two-hour guided boat tour to observe the firefly colonies along Sungai Buntal will start at 6.30pm. Registration is required, on a first-come-first-served basis. Participants are to pay RM50 per adult/child.

At Damai Central, festival goers are invited to visit local bazaar booths set up by various organisations and local community around Santubong with a variety of merchandise and goods. The bazaar will be opened for the whole day and on Sunday, from 9am to 2pm .

At the same venue on Saturday, a musical treat by the Azam Young Souls Musical Group will take place at 2pm onwards. This group showcases busking by youth, and will move all over the venue, with breaks.

At 6.30pm is the Trienekens Eco-Fashion Contest featuring participants from colleges and secondary schools.

The ‘open mic’ featuring Malaysian vocalist and songwriter Amir Yussof will take place at Escobar Bar and Grill at 9pm.

Open mic is an evening of music celebrating Santubong, brought by Sarawak Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA).

On Sunday, the nature talks continue at 9am with the first speaker talking on Oriental Pied Hornbills at Piasau Camp, Miri by MNS Miri Branch chairman and SFC honorary wildlife ranger Musa Musbah; a bird specialist and environmental consultant, based in Penang Dave Bakewell will speak on Surveying Migratory Waterbirds In Sarawak (9.30am); head of Protected areas Biodiversity Conservation Sarawak Forestry Corporation and MNS Council member Oswald Braken Tisen on Endangered Animals and Enforcement in Sarawak (10am); and TRAFFIC Southeast Asia senior programme officer and MNS Council Kanitha Krishnasamy and senior communications officer Elizabeth John will speak on Illegal Wildlife Trade In Malaysia (10.30am).

The Santubong Heritage Walk led by Karen Shepherd from SHS starts at 11am. Shuttle departs Permai carpark and early registration is required.

At 9am, there will be a walk in the forest guided by Datin Dr Katherine Pearce ecologist. The one hour walk will take participants through the forest trails in Permai Rainforest Resort.

At 8am is the ‘Race through Time’ which is a bicycle treasure hunt around Santubong assisted by Kooch Cycling Club.

Exciting prizes are to be won and those interested are to register early at RM60 per participant.

UCSI University’s Games Station offering great prizes will be opened from 9am to noon. Registration is required.

For more registration, email to [email protected] or visit or for more updates on the festival.