It’s the middle of the dry season in Sumatra. Everything is dry and dusty. Fire is a constant threat at the moment. But all Gatot Mandarsih is thinking about is planting trees. He is one of Harapan Rainforest’s tree nursery officers. He helps to produce up to two million tree seedlings a year. That’s enough to cover about 5,500 football pitches! All are native species grown from seeds collected in the forest. His seedlings need to be planted as soon as the rains start. Planting early gives them the best chance before the next dry season. The rains normally come in October. Let’s hope they’re early this year!
Stephanie Sim from RSPB Northern Ireland is in Harapan Rainforest for a month. She's supporting the team there with the expertise she normally uses back home in Belfast - public affairs and media. Steph is recording her impressions and we’ll pass those on to you. As with most visitors to the camp, one of her first impressions was the wildlife. Even in camp. Normally it is the call of the gibbons that captures visitors’ imaginations. Steph also snapped this fantastic praying mantis on a leaf right in camp. The dappled colouring is really unusual, and that firm stare makes it clear that there was mutual fascination!
Fifty-five pupils attend the mobile schools we run at Harapan. The schools are registered with the local education authorities. The pupils get a certificate when they leave, proving which grade they finished. It will help them get into further education, or a job. Not all of the pupils can attend all of them time. Many are from indigenous communities that move around within the forest to collect forest products. Without Harapan’s mobile schools they would receive no education at all. That would exclude them from further education or employment opportunities. Giving them this basic schooling increases their livelihood options in the future.