Begawan Foundation's Learning and Conservation Centre officially opened by founders Bradley and Debora Gardner, with representative from the Payangan Sub-District Head Office I Made Alon. (IMG: exclusive)
Begawan Foundation’s Learning and Conservation Centre officially opened by founders Bradley and Debora Gardner, with representative from the Payangan Sub-District Head Office I Made Alon. (IMG: exclusive)

UBUD, Bali (BPN) – Begawan Foundation’s newly built Learning and Conservation Centre has been officially opened by founders Bradley and Debora Gardner, together with representative from the Payangan Sub-District Head Office I Made Alon, at Banjar Pengaji, Melinggih Kelod Village, Payangan, on Thursday November 22, 2018.

“Due to the growing interest from children around Melinggih Kelod and Melinggih, the foundation has built its own Learning and Conservation Centre, as an extension to Klub Lingkungan”, said Begawan Foundation’s education staff Ni Made Muliani.

The opening of the new Learning Centre coincided with a Parents and Teachers Open Day. For the special day, the Bali Starling Eco-Warriors in Payangan wanted to show their parents and teachers a variety of performances to demonstrate the skills they have learned during their time at Klub Lingkungan.

Besides focusing on its Bali Starling Conservation Project through its Breeding and Release Centre in Banjar Begawan, the foundation has been actively collaborating with the village head and the local community in Melinggih Kelod in order to succeed in its conservation efforts.

A community-based conservation program began in the village last year, providing the opportunity for the locals to breed Bali Starlings for release. The locals will also be responsible for the safety of the birds in the wild, as demonstrated by the creation of a local law prohibiting the poaching, trapping, and shooting of the Starlings.

The involvement of the local community will benefit both conservation and community development, as conservation needs significant support, awareness, and participation from the local community.

The end goal is to ensure that the community itself takes pride in its environment and feels that it has an important role in keeping indigenous birds flying free in Bali skies.

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Meanwhile, participation from the local student community is just as significant as the contact with the adults in the community, and the foundation’s breeding and release program is accompanied by a number of education programs run in Payangan. The curriculum created is based on conservation and environmental protection.

Education programs include 10-week programs in local schools in Payangan, as well as after-school programs in the Foundation’s community club “Klub Lingkungan”. With a motto of ‘Learning by Doing’, the Foundation encourages students to express their own ideas and opinions and take an active part in tackling local environmental issues, one of which is the problem of waste.

Klub Lingkungan has its own eco-library, and provides regular presentations about animals, science, the environment, as well classes in English, reading, and mathematics, subjects that students most struggle with according to parents in Melinggih Kelod. This has resulted in the formation of a group of students, called “Bali Starling Eco-warriors”, who are passionate about protecting Bali Starlings and their environment.

The Learning and Conservation Centre provides a large airy space for additional activities such as wet art and craft. It also has its own kitchen so that students are able to come to learn to cook as well as apply their Mathematics and Reading skills during the cooking classes (measuring, weighing, following a recipe).

The Centre is strategically placed adjacent to a permaculture garden, a place for students to learn basic principles and enjoy gardening.

It is hoped that members of the local community can be involved for the running of the Centre, as more diverse activities are planned. Contact the Foundation if you are interested to be involved with the Centre or wish to provide donated items for education activities.

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