A Tropical Forest Trip

27 March 2012 - 3:37pm Comments Off

Do you know which tree’s latex can be used to make chewing gum? Did you know that each and every tree has its DNA just like humans do and there is even a plant forensic team that can track down which tree you are cutting down? Did you know bamboo actually comes from the grass family?

You will have these puzzles solved when you talk to any of the guides from the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM), who are extremely knowledgeable about tropical forests. They are also the green ambassadors who promote the environmental message to be shared with the public in order to create a green-awareness society.

On Saturday, 17th of March 2012, KEP organized an outing to FRIM in Kepong. There were 25 attendees for this event. Among the attendees that are part of Kechara’s full time staff are our very own Pastor Yek Yee, Jace Chong, Swee Keong, Wah Ying, Indy Wong and Joey Wong, while the rest are occasional volunteers and those new to Kechara. It was a very relaxed and educational outing to the forest.

FRIM had kindly assigned us a guide, Mr Anuar to navigate us around the 515-hectare forest. We were told that the current land and forest is a secondary forest. According to Mr Anuar, the entire area used to be mining pools and farms that were converted into a forest by the British government in 1929 to preserve and educate about the tropical forest.

One of the mining pools was converted into a 7ft deep pond, which contains 3 huge Arapaima Gigas fish that were bought from the Amazon. The guide threw some fish into the pond to lure the large fishes out. Mr Anuar than brought us to the museum where we had a small glimpse of historical items made from wood, as well as a showcase of the fruits of the Institute’s research.

Mr Anuar then guided us through the jungle trail and introduced us to several interesting plants. Among them is a tree whose fruit smelled exactly like garlic! There were also strangler figs who would take over their host tree, eventually killing it by robbing it of its nutrients. It was really an eye opener for everyone in the group.

The jungle trail lasted for around 1 hour. The kids really enjoyed themselves during the jungle trail and most of them were hungry and exhausted by the time it ended. We then proceeded to go to the picnic area to feast on the food brought by the members who kindly cooked for everyone as it was also a pot luck. There was a waterfall near the picnic area and the kids and their parents rushed in to join them before everyone settled down for some delicious pasta made by Angie Ng, in addition to snacks and sandwiches made by everyone else.

When everyone finished their meal, Patsy Lee, a regular volunteer of Kechara was emcee and read out a mini quiz for the participants, with questions pertaining to recycling and nature. Most of the kids and newbies won a prize to take home. There were also door gifts that were distributed to everyone at the end.

The trip was lots of fun and very educational as the guide, Mr Anuar provided us with a lot of information on how the forest is preserved. Back-to-nature trips like these play a very important role in educating the public and the younger generation about the importance of conserving nature.

Trekking into the forest...

What are they looking at? Nine-foot Arapaima fish!

Our guide Mr Anuar is showing us the Jelutong tree which can be used to make chewing gum

FRIM Research Gallery Entrance

Giant Bamboo which belongs to the grass family

A tree with an elephant face

Picnicking beside the waterfall

Come and have a group photo...

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