2017 Yan Oi Tong Maritime Silk Road Exploration Tour to Tasikoki

Forest foraging, Bug hunting, Tree planting, Seed bombing, Enrichment making, and Beach cleaning – the students from the 2017 Yan Oi Tong Maritime Silk Road Exploration programme did it all (plus more), at their recent visit to Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Centre!

The Tasikoki adventure started with an interesting information session where the students learnt about the importance of Sulawesi as one of the planet’s biodiversity hotspots and the many endemic species it supports. They were also introduced to the challenges and impact of the illegal wildlife trade and the important role that the Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Centre plays in combatting this problem.

Planting seedlings for the Tasikoki forest


A visit to Tangkoko Nature Reserve was rewarded with sightings of wild Tarsier, Bear Cuscus, Macaques and beautiful birds including Hornbill. Back at Tasikoki, the students especially enjoyed creating enrichment from the fruit and plants they had collected from the forest and the generous donations they had brought from Hong Kong. A highlight of the programme was the time spent enriching the enclosure for the two Sun Bears – Bin Bin and Bon Bon who took delight in exploring all of the new greenery and vegetation that the students had placed and hidden around their enclosure.

Bird watching at Tangkoko Nature Reserve


The Education Centre was filled with chatter and laughter when the students from the local Bitung School joined the Hong Kong students in a brain-storming session to consider ways to reduce their daily waste, such as plastic. The students excitedly shared their ideas and afterwards, cleaned the local beach together and played beach games.

The importance of marine Biodiversity and the threats facing it were further explored during a visit to Tulap Sea Turtle Beach, which is a nesting site managed by the Masarang Foundation, for all five species of turtles in the region. The students also enjoyed a visit to Bunacken National Park to observe first hand the incredible marine biodiversity of the Coral Triangle, by glass-bottom boat.

The students had an inspirational afternoon with Dr Willie Smits who gave a guided tour through a reforestation project at Tomohon, which includes both plants for flora and fauna as well as food plants for the local community, including Sugar Palm. The students also met with local sugar palm tappers to learn how Sugar Palm is helping both the environment and local communities, and later visited the eco-sustainable Sugar Palm Factory.

An informative visit to the Sugar Palm Factory

Cloud and wind created atmospheric conditions for an amazing walk up and around the crater rim of a local volcano. This was followed by more cultural exchange when the local children put on a “fierce” and highly entertaining warrior dance, which the YOT students even got involved in! The YOT visit was definitely action-packed!

Masarang HK and the management, staff and volunteers at Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Centre would like to send a big ‘Thank You’ to the YOT 2017 Maritime Silk Road programme students and staff for their amazing contribution during their stay and wonderful donations. The Sun Bears, Orangutan, Gibbons, and many birds at Tasikoki are very grateful for your support!

Posted by: Admin | August 25, 2017

Victoria Shanghai Academy CAS Trip to Tasikoki 2017

On May 7th 2017 Victoria Shanghai Academy travelled from Hong Kong to Manado to start their week long CAS experience at Tasikoki.  The school was warmly welcomed by the Masarang Foundation Team as Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue and Education Centre urgently needs the support and extra hands to help, as well as keen individuals to raise awareness of the importance of the work being done at the centre.

Please find below 2 reflections from the young VSA environmentalists. One reflection details the day to day experience and one reflection details the efforts by the wish list team to collect relevant items.

The VSA staff and students worked hard, did their best and made a meaningful contribution to the work being done at Tasikoki.
We look forward to their return!

Masarang HK Volunteer

Justin’s Reflection

Day 1:
The first 2 days (including transport) of my Masarang CAS trip is exhausting but inspiring. Although we had only travelled, only gone through the introductions, and did only one of the many planned activities, I can already tell how different and rewarding our experience will be for the upcoming five days. I believe this trip is great for CAS as it greatly contrasts with Hong Kong’s lifestyle and has a big impact. All in all, it is a tiring, but fresh 2 days.

Day 2:
Today is unfortunate that we are not able to go to the beach due to the thunderstorm, but we did enrich the Sun bear’s living space and it got me to think that in fact the sunbeam’s habitat would already be sufficient for humans to live in. I realized that our yearn for a “better” life is quite pointless –– especially, when reversing or downgrading” is torture-like. This experience really inspired me to think about all what exactly made the society the way it is today.

Day 3:
Today is more about learning instead of participating in the work: today we visited the palm sugar factory and observed how palm tree are tapped in a sustainable way, how the the juice is converted to fuel (alcohol) and sugar. This allowed me to learn how Masarang foundation is able to create profit from natural resources in a very sustainable way, so sustainable that it is restoring the natural habitat that is a blooming rainforest like back in the 1980s. We then visited the Mahawu volcano which is formed as the pacific tectonic plate and the philippine tectonic plate collided. This visit allowed me to physically observe the interactions of tectonic which is covered greatly in my ESS lessons, allowing me to grasp a better idea of the interactions. We also participated in some local cultural activities and planted more sugar palms at the Rurukan village for cultural exchange. All in all, I would say today is a fun and rewarding day.

Day 4:
Today we had is another working day for us –– we woke up early to work on foraging browse, jungle salad, and bugs. We then worked enrichments for different animals afterward. For my group, we did enrichments on birds, mainly on cockatoos. We made food for them and fed them. Afterwards, we worked on enrichments for the orangutans: we cut bamboo, we created nets from tires, we made toys for them…… This allowed us to learn more about the animals’ habitats and their interactions. Afterwards we also did a beach cleanup, spread some seeds, and walked on the beach towards the Tulap Turtle breeding site (which is located on that 1km long beach). This further allows us to observe how the ecosystem in tropical rainforests work and I had learned a lot from both CAS experience and ESS materials.

Day 5:
Today is essentially a snorkelling trip where we observe the aquatic ecosystem of Manado. We snorkelled at 2 sites and we managed to observe many difference species: including (obviously) coral reefs, a variety of fish, and surprisingly an abundance of sea turtles, which is a good thing, as there is a lot of this endangered species. However, I also observed huge patches of bleached (dead) coral reefs, which just shows that how pollution and carbon dioxide emissions are effecting the aquatic systems (CO2 has an equilibrium reaction with water which forms carbonic acid). We also discussed afterwards such observations and we had strengthened our understanding on ecosystems and how our actions affect the environment.

Day 6:
Today is our last day at Tasikoki before returning to Hong Kong. Today we only had time to visit a local school near the Tasikoki village. At the school, we did some activities related to our global values, ethics, and knowledge on environmental systems. There is also a show for us that highlights their cultural values and practices and all in all it is a very nice cultural exchange experience. From today’s experience I learned a lot more about the values of the people of a LEDC and learned that they resonate greatly with their culture values –– a lot of the things I saw in them I do not see in people from MEDCs, and of course I do not see things from MEDCs in them too. My considerations when thinking about ethical topics had changed greatly from this experience.

Wish list Team Reflections
Wish list Team members: Lincoln Tong, Linus Lim, Wai Lam Leung, Jonathan Chung, Ernie Lee, Luca Law

The following entries demonstrate and trace the work done by the Wishlist Team starting from fundraising activities to purchase wishlist items and ultimately bringing them to Tasikoki. On the whole, we are quite successful in gathering quite a lot of resources for the Masarang Foundation. In particularly, we are pleased to actually feed the animals with the food we brought from Hong Kong and also witness our hard work in gathering the resources worth it. After visiting the Tasikoki animal care centre, we realised that the Chinese seeds are very favourable for the animals over there. Therefore, in the future, we will host resource collection sections, especially the post Chinese New Year period to collect any unwanted or leftover festive seeds that can be enjoyed by animals in Tasikoki

As the Wishlist Team of the Masarang Trip, we need to do fundraising activities to purchase the Wish list items, such as bird seeds, dried fruits and dried nuts. As a group, we have decided to hold a booth during Family Fun Day by selling chocolate snacks and some candies. These were the goods that we will sell because we think these goods can be preserved easily and stored easily without much constraint on the time to sell and storage space. Therefore, we have bought around 2000 dollars of snacks in total and we aim to earn about 500 dollars profit from it. We worked collaboratively and discussed thoroughly about the price of different food for sale. As a result, we have come to an agreement of a list of prices and the amount of good we will sell. In addition to Mr. Brewer’s request, we will prepare a dance game to attract people on our stall. Overall, we think we have shown our commitment and inputted our energy in preparing for the charity sell. We hope that we can make some profit and use those profits to buy Wish list items.

12/3/2017:
Today is the Family Fun Day. We have split our team into two to be responsible for the booth at two sections so that we can be more efficient in man power. Our booth is set up in the morning 10 am and got ready very soon as we have well planned for the event. At the beginning, the dance game is not quite attractive because people were a bit shy. However, as more and more crowd comes by, they started to enjoy the dance game and people got interested in our products. We think we have initially set the prices for candies and chocolates too high. Therefore, not much revenue is made in the morning. However, we started to earn a bit more as we sell the chocolates mobile and also at a low price. We sold the chocolates at five dollars for three pieces. This idea is quite successful and a made more revenue since then. At the end of the day, we still have half of our stocks not yet sold. Therefore, we might need to organise another sale later during the week to maximise the revenue.
13/4/2017:
Today is the Chinese Culture Day in school, which our Masarang Wishlist team treasured the chance to do more charity selling so that we have more money to prepare more Wishlist items. Just like the one we did in Dollar a Day, we will be selling some candies and chocolate. Fortunately, another team working on the t-shirt design has volunteered to help us to earn more money by selling Siu Mai. These Siu Mai do not have any cost because they are the leftover storage from Yangtze’s booth on Dollar a Day. Therefore, it will be very profitable for us when we sell these items. Through this experience, it showcases how engaged we are in being aware of the needs for nature conservation in Tasikoki and at Masarang Foundation projects.
During the selling process, our team worked collaboratively in small groups that are in-charge of the booth rotationally during the day. Thus, our sales are quite smooth and is positive to our charity funding. In particular, the Siu Mai are quite great in demand. Many students enjoyed the food. As a result, we are able to sell over two big packs of Siu Mai at the basis of not having any cost. Our cooperation in the team includes good communication, good organisation and good collaboration. With such a great success, we are able to collect a net profit of over 600 dollars. After this event, we will decide what Wishlist items we will buy to bring to Tasikoki.

Having visited Tasikoki for a week back in 2014 on a teacher reconnaissance trip, followed by organising student visits from my school in Hong Kong, I felt it was about time to volunteer myself and learn more about Tasikoki. Being initially inspired by the work of Willie Smits and the Masarang team as well as being a Science teacher with an interest in environmental systems and sustainability, my objectives were to volunteer my skills as an educator and obtain life learning experiences for myself that I can share with my students.

In short, I came away fulfilling all my objectives and experiencing much more, with the addition of making great friends.

Laughing and enjoying the views around Tomohon with some of the friends I made at Tasikoki

The charm of Tasikoki blew me away from the beginning. The setting is magical, my favourite time being 5am; looking over the forest towards the sea, watching the fishing boats come in while listening to the sounds of dawn. The people I met are amazing, each engaging in a different way but all sharing one passion. The drive and dedication the team showed is inspiring and encouraging.

5am sunrise and dawn chorus were magical

At the beginning of my visit I supported the education team hosting school groups of about 20 students. We lead the groups through varying activities on and off site at local projects. The students relished in the opportunity to hand make enrichment for the rescued wildlife. Some lucky students watched the wildlife interacting with the enrichment but all students were happy in the knowledge of the impact they were making.

The offsite trips gave us a glimpse of the wonderfully biodiverse corner of the world we were in, on land and underwater. Meeting local people and talking to them about their lives allowed the students to link the three pillars of sustainability: ecology, economy and society. Through conversations I found that most of the students are aware of current environmental issues and I was encouraged to find that most of them want to take responsibility for their part in the care for our Earth’s future. This requires being a conscientious consumer and reduction of waste which is a challenge in Hong Kong, but it can be done.

One of the school visits with a sugar palm tapper

Part of the solution is making more people aware which was my next (on-going) task. I reached out to companies with corporate responsibility, other local or international schools wishing to visit, learn and volunteer. This is where I will make a brief appeal for any contacts you wish to share who might want to donate or volunteer. Please contact Masarang HK or edu@tasikoki.org. If you want to ask me any more questions about my experience I am happy to expand, just direct the email to me through Masarang HK or Tasikoki.

Back to the Wildlife and Rescue Centre; the rest of my time was spent helping out preparing food and enrichment for the wildlife. I had a rare opportunity to be present while three newly rescued macaques were given the once over, microchipped and physically assessed before being kept in quarantine. Talking to the person in charge of animal care she explained the lengthy process it takes from rescue to release. There is so much more than I thought. I am truly in awe at the commitment she has along with all the members of the team. Unfortunately, we have the stark realisation that the displacement and mistreatment of wildlife will continue if the root of the cause is not dealt with. I will leave you to ponder and discuss this, as I did at length with the many insightful people at Tasikoki and do with anyone who wants to…… (we’ll assume I can include my students as wanting to).

Even though some of the physical work is hard in the hot weather, the goals are sometimes far off and the conversations serious, we all had one thing to keep us going, humour. Without the laughter and support for each other I don’t think as much could be achieved. That’s why I would definitely recommend some time at Tasikoki to share your skills, volunteer your time, hands, ears and patience to help where it’s needed most and learn first-hand the work of these environmentalists.

Lisa Pang, Volunteer and Masarang HK Committee Member

Posted by: Wisnu | June 30, 2017

JCSRS Walkathon

Health, Wealth and Happiness

The Sarah Roe Jockey Club School has been supporting our projects for many years. Their annual Walkathon is a wonderful inspiring event and from the funds raised the school community donated a wonderful $6, 950 to Masarang HK. This will be used to help support the projects at Tasikoki as well as the Sintang Orangutan Centre.

 

Please read more about the wonderful Walkathon from a school staff member below and see the inspiring photos of the school community taking part in the event.

 

JCSRS Walkathon

Another of our annual events is the fundraising Walkathon that we held on Wednesday. This is a healthy and fun way for us to give back to the community. Half of the proceeds will go to our regular recipient, Masarang HK, who work tirelessly to enable sustainable living in Indonesian villages, care for endangered wildlife and take active part in reforestation.  The other half will go to a charity to be chosen by the student council. We were well supported by the students of KJS. Thanks again for donating generously and to Jackie and Kelly for their passion and leadership.

 

Posted by: Wisnu | June 11, 2017

Connecting People to Nature

VSA Primary school students and their families connecting with Hong Kong’s biodiversity

The theme of World Environment Day 2017 was connecting people to nature, which is an important part of Masarang HK’s work. So far this year:

Three Hong Kong schools have visited our Tasikoki project with more HK school groups visiting in the coming months.

A team of VSA teachers volunteered at the Sintang Orangutan Centre and helped with a number of projects, as well as bringing relevant environmental material back for the school community. They also visited the orangutans and saw baby Victoria, of course!

Masarang HK has also visited many Hong Kong primary and secondary schools and provided presentations and workshops to thousands of students, staff and parents this year already, to raise environmental awareness. The recent visit and presentations by Dr. Willie Smits were very popular and more about this will be written later.

We look forward to more opportunities to work with our friends, partners and supporters to continue to increase environmental awareness and connect with our planet’s amazing nature!

Masarang HK and VSA Primary celebrated ‘Earth Day’ together with a Biodiversity Walk & Talk, at Aberdeen Country Park on Sunday 23 April 2017.

A group of 45 VSA students and parents joined the Walk & Talk to explore and learn about Hong Kong’s special biodiversity. The students were excited to play the Nature Scavenger Hunt and find the different plants, insects and animals that can be found in the Country Park. We also discussed why biodiversity is important for humans and what we can do to protect it. Masarang HK would like to thank the VSA teachers and families for an enjoyable day and for the wonderful enthusiasm shown by the VSA students for Hong Kong’s natural environment.

 

Searching for plants, insects and animals during the Nature Scavenger Hunt

Sharne McMillan (Masarang HK Committee Member) explaining why Hong Kong’s biodiversity is so special, to VSA Primary school students, families and teachers.

Posted by: Admin | June 8, 2017

World Oceans Day

Today is “World Oceans Day!”. The conservation action focus for 2017 is “Encouraging solutions to plastic pollution and preventing marine litter for a healthier ocean and a better future”.

Coastal waters support a rich marine biodiversity, which can be harmed or even killed by marine litter, especially plastic. Therefore reducing our daily consumption of plastic products can help to protect our marine habitats and species.
To help achieve this a number of organisations are joining “No Straw Day” and encouraging people to say “no” to straws when ordering drinks.

French International School Students removing waste from a beach whilst volunteering at the Tasikoki Centre, Sulawesi.

Masarang HK supports “No Straw Day” and will also be reducing the consumption of plastic wherever possible. We ask that you take part in beach clean ups whenever possible.

We would love to hear what you/your school is doing to reduce plastic consumption on World Oceans Day!

Posted by: Wisnu | June 5, 2017

Happy World Environment Day 2017!

At Masarang Hong Kong we celebrate the environment everyday!

Here are some Hong Kong schools connecting with the environment last month – immersing in the beauty, giving back to the Earth and caring for our endangered species.
You can help to by supporting our work, sharing what we do and donating as well as volunteering at Tasikoki Education and Wildlife Rescue Centre, contact us via masarang.hk@gmail.com
Posted by: Admin | May 31, 2017

Talks to VSA School Community at VSA and Tasikoki

Following Dr Willie Smits talk to a large group of students at Tasikoki, Sulawesi, whilst en route to Hong Kong, he then spoke to a large group of the school community at the VSA in Hong Kong.

 

The CAS group from the Secondary section of the VSA listened most attentively to Willie and asked him many impressive questions.

More about the VSA school trip itself will be uploaded soon.

Willie thoroughly enjoyed his visit to the VSA in Hong Kong. In addition to meeting the principal, Mr Ross Dawson and staff and a meeting with the ever-growing Masarang Club, Willie gave a talk about to members of the school community, as well as invited guests.

An article about the visit was written in the school newspaper.
Click here to view.  We hope you enjoy reading it!

This video was produced by Eva, Madalief & Dinara. Dutch & Kazakh students aged 12. This was produced as part of an IB digital design project at the International School of London in Surrey.

The Design brief: design a video that communicates the Masarang message to a target age group. Either early years, primary school, secondary or adult.

These students chose to target the youngest age range of early years students. The message has been simplified as it is aimed at such a young age group with different language abilities. The designers ran screening sessions to test the success of their video with a series of questionnaires that the children filled in. The results of the survey showed that 90% of small children came away with a full understanding of the effects of palm oil and with a clear idea of how they could help! An astonishing success rate for any educational video. Their work was highly commended in the UK national prize “Can art change the world!”

Click here to read the article and watch the video.

The students also presented their work at Indonesia Kontempur at the prestigious SOAS university.

By Marc Smith

Posted by: Admin | May 9, 2017

Dr Willie Smits in Hong Kong

Dr. Willie Smits will be speaking in Hong Kong this week at a variety of events.
Members of the public are welcome to attend the two events written about below.
Please be aware that space is limited so please contact our website to ensure we
can arrange for a place at the event, if available.

There is no fee to attend either talk.

Tuesday May 9th Victoria Shanghai Academy, Aberdeen
Dr Willie Smits and Members of the School Community.
3.30pm drinks and snacks (palm oil free).
4pm-5pm Presentations
Title of Talk: A Journey in the Tropical Rainforest of Borneo

Please note the VSA is running a No Palm Oil Awareness Week from May 8th to May 12th.

Wednesday May 10th French International School, Blue Pool Road Campus, Happy Valley.

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