Environmental education is the primary mission of KWPLH. The Environmental Education centre will provide critically needed educational programs about the loss of sun bear habitat due to unsustainable forestry practices, illegal logging and forest fires. The poaching of bears for trade in their parts and as pets will be highlighted. Methods for farmers to protect their crops from sun bears will also be on display (such as metal sheeting to protect coconut trees).
The education centre will not focus only on sun bears but on all environmental issues at stake in the region (disappearance of water catchment areas, associated erosion, biodiversity loss, etc) as well as conservation of other protected wildlife. The centre will focus on providing accurate information on wildlife and forest threats, the ecological role of various species in the forest and their requirements, distribution and protective status.
At present the bulk of our visitors come on the weekends and on holidays. Visitors mainly comprise of company outings, school groups, and families. At present the main focus of education activities revolves around the sun bears, domestic animals, and garbage recycling. On the weekends, local, trained guides usher visitors along the bear boardwalk. Guides also lead school and other children’s groups in environmentally themed games and activities. Shortly, we will develop a children’s craft area. In the large aula halls we have a series of educational panels focusing on the Sungai Wain forest reserve, its functions as a water catchment area for the city of Balikpapan, its rich biodiversity, and threats to the ecosystem.
In the near future regular school visits as part of the formal education curriculum in Balikpapan will be started, as well as specifically tailored programs for family day outings with environmental themes. On the weekend guided outdoor activities will be offered for groups visiting the facility.
Four large education exhibits are planned or under construction. These will compromise of semi-open structures with a variety of informational displays in the form of interactive displays, statues, printed material (photos, text, etc.) and paintings. Exhibits are specially designed to appeal to the Indonesian public. All texts will be bi-lingual (Indonesian and English).
Our domestic animal program features an educational component. Click here to learn more about the domestic animal program.
An elevated boardwalk surrounding 2/3rds of the sun bear enclosure provides a nice place from which visitors can see the sun bears in their forest island. From the boardwalk they can see sun bears engaging in natural behaviours, and during the weekend locally trained guides provide information to visitors. Education panels along the board walk have been designed and will soon enrich a visit to the bears.
KWPLH has two large wooden halls on-site used to host events, activities, rotating exhibitions, educational programs, and environmental movies. Under development are two adventure playgrounds for younger (aged 4-8) children and older (ages 9-13) children. Play equipment will have a natural setting and will be embedded with subtle environmental information. Also in development is a labyrinth whereby tall hedges create a maze in the shape of a sun bear head. With information displays, the maze becomes a game and test of knowledge. A tree-shaped tower stands nearby, giving views of the maze in one direction and the countryside in the other.