Category Archives: Activities

Summary of CSI Activities for 2017

by Cheam May Choo

Our CSI or community stream investigation programme in 2017 continues to be one of the more popular activity amongst students and adults alike.(CSI programme was initially sponsored by CIMB in 2009 and the excess funds were carried over to the next few years. In 2015 Prince Tunku Imran and Mr Paul Chuah gave us more funds ).In March 2017 we received a grant of RM 5000 from the National River Care Fund under GEC (Global Environment Centre) to continue this and CSI has now become an annual affair for our local schools.

Our CSI programme uses simple biological,chemical and physical parameters to gauge the quality of the river water. Students are briefed on the techniques in the field and then made to apply them. Results from a clean river and a dirty river are then compared and discussed. This programme comes at a low cost and is very “hands on”. Students see for themselves the impact of contamination of river water in the real world.The kids love it especially when it comes to analysing clean streams as they get a chance to frolic in them and catch bugs.

For the year 2017,there were 8 such programmes which took place between July to October 2017 .They involved both primary and secondary schools. Our volunteers included Dr Liau Tai Leong, Geogina, Adam, Shuib, Tom, Pablo, Aurelein, Kah Wai,Joshua and Siva. Many thanks to them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary of REACH Reforestation Programme for the year 2017

by Cheam May Choo

For the year 2017, reforestation activities were mainly carried out  in a new site in Batu Gangan, Kuala Terla while the site in Gunung Brinchang, our biodiversity centre was used for research.

1. Batu Gangan site in Kuala Terla

On 24th of May 2017  REACH was awarded a grant of RM 50,000 to restore 2 hectares of reclaimed forest in the Batu Gangan forest reserves under the Greening of Cameron Highlands project. The site was located at the far reaches of our largest water catchment area, the Sungai Terla water catchment area.For this grant we had to plant 1200 endemic trees in 6 months from July to December 2017.

The Greening of Cameron Highlands project is basically a project formed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment NRE (which also includes involvement of NGOs) to undertake rehabilitation and  restoration of encroached forests reclaimed by the Government  following the crackdown on illegal land clearings and foreign workers which started in 2014.

IMG-20170524-WA0009

The first few visits in May and June 2017 were mainly to recee the area. Subsequently  we constructed a toilet and a covered area for participants. As this site was already a secondary forest we had to clear some undergrowth in order to plant the trees. We made many visits in June and July 2017 and we were assisted by 3 French volunteers namely Tom, Aurelien and Pablo and our local volunteers Dr Liau Tai Leong, Siva Das, Utaya Kumar, Roy Margaret, Encik Khairil Anwar, Ros Benjamin, Saraswathi Munusamy, Geogina Khong, Gopindran, Danial Harikh,Rajeswaran, Amizal and Kahfi.

In October and November 2017, schools joined in and they included SKConvent, SJKC Bertam Valley, SJKC Tanah Rata and SMK Ringlet. In all we made a total of 17 visits. Every visit was documented.

A video depicting these efforts can be viewed at  Restoration of disturbed forests in Cameron Highlands

The trees planted were mainly from seeds propagated many months earlier. Some were from wildings. The species include Ara,Geruk, Merpauh,Medang Serai, Medang Payung, Kelat, Ratsamala, Eugenia and Rhododendrons.

2.Gunung Brinchang site

Only one group Data Dimension came to do reforestation at this site ( 13th August 2017)as the area is almost entirely reforested. Data Dimension has been supporting us for many years and 2017 was no different.

For the coming years we hope to continue our work with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmnent to restore our highland forests.

 

 

Reforestation at Batu Gangan concludes

by Cheam May Choo

In the months of August and September 2017,  due to logistic difficulties our reforestation programme slowed . However we managed to complete the toilets and the covered rest area in time for the students who would be coming in the following months.  Site preparation continued with undergrowth being cleared.

Date: 3rd October 2017

31 students and 3 teachers from SK Convent, Tanah Rata planted 100 saplings. The facilitators were Mr Satya from EcoCameron , Saras and Vebry. Trees included Ara, Rhododendrons and Eugenia. At 8 am students were picked up from Tanah Rata and they reached the site around 9 am. After a briefing by Mr Satya , they planted the trees. Light refreshments were served and by 12 noon they headed back. This programme would be similar for all the other schools.

CSI Community Stream Investigation 2017- Rivers never lie

by Cheam May Choo

Rivers never lie– Rivers are akin to our arteries and veins and the water that courses through them are akin to the blood that flows in us. The healthier the water the healthier the environment, the healthier our blood the healthier us. The rivers will tell us how they are faring -from their appearance, their colour, their smell and the creatures that live within them. They don’t lie. And this forms the basis of our CSI (community stream investigation) programme.

CSI remains a popular environmental education activity for us since it was first developed by Dr Liau Tai Leong, our vice president in 2009. We had wanted to come up with an activity that was both interesting and relevant to the locals and visitors alike. He used information he had gleaned from observing our very talented and industrious Dutch volunteers Antony van der Ent and Chantal while they were doing research for their thesis and incorporated it into a simple yet ‘hands-on’ programme. Over the years it was modified to suit the local condtions and a booklet detailing this was eventually published.

CSI programme was initially sponsored by CIMB (in 2009) and the excess funds were carried over to the next few years. In 2015 Prince Tunku Imran and Mr Paul Chuah gave us more funds and in March this year we received a small grant from the National River Care Fund under GEC (Global Environment Centre). This allowed us to continue and CSI has become an annual affair for our local schools.

The presence of bugs (in this case macroinvertebrates) is used to gauge the quality of the waters in our streams and rivers. Some of these bugs are so delicate eg stonefly larvae, dragonfly larvae, water pennies, that their mere presence indicate that the river water quality is and has been very clean and unpolluted. In contrast the mosquito larvae and the leeches can survive in contaminated waters. This water testing method comes at no economic cost and is in ‘real time.’ The children love this because they can frolic in the stream and ‘catch bugs’!

Normally at the start of each programme, Dr Liau or any of his trained volunteer will give a briefing on what this activity is about.

He will then explain the physical,chemical and biological ways to assess the water. Pictures of the bugs are given to aid identification.

The participants then adjourned to the rivers and results from a clean river Sg Pauh are compared to that of a dirty river Sg Bertam. Chemical testing

EEP in SJKC Kea Farm 17th November 2017

Kea Farm is a picturesque farming village nestled on a hill slope, 3 km away from Brinchang town in Cameron Highlands. It has the distinction of being the highest village accessible by road in Peninsular Malaysia being located at 1600 metres above sea level.

Some of its houses date back from just after World War 2 and consists of wooden and brick dwellings, with few on stilts. Most of the houses are very close together and appear ‘etched’ into the slopes. From afar they look absolutely charming and surrounded by terraces of water cress and other vegetables, they are almost postcard picture perfect. The elders would speak of the time when the road wasn’t ready and they had to physically carry provisions and harvested vegetables to Brinchang town. Once things were more settled, a primary school namely SJKC Kea Farm was built. As with most farming communities in Cameron Highlands, there is a close bond between the villagers and the school.

Today the grandchildren and great grandchildren of the pioneer settlers are in this school. But many things have changed. Some families have moved to Brinchang and Tanah Rata. Opposite Kea Farm village, hotels and apartment blocks are springing up in tandem with the number of roadside stalls. The road passing through Kea Farm has become a bottle neck for traffic in both directions.

On the 17th of November 2017 , Reach made a trip to this school and conducted our EEP programme to the 40 students of this school.

EEP programme at SJKTamil Ringlet-13th October 2017

Ringlet is the first town in Cameron Highlands that motorists reach when travelling from Tapah. It has a population of around 8000 and the residents here are mainly farmers. Ringlet subdistrict(or mukim) has an acreage of 5165 hectares and the town is surrounded by gentle hills. Sungai Ringlet runs through the middle of town as the earlier settlements were along the river banks and grew from there.

Perhaps it is timely that our environmental education programme has now reached the classrooms of the primary and secondary schools of Ringlet. Ringlet has seen past environmental tragedies. In November 2014, Sungai Ringlet overflowed its banks with resulting loss of lives and property. This was a result of uncontrolled land clearing upstream and the river being clogged by mud and rubbish. Flash floods and mud flows continue to happen but after steps were taken to widen Sungai Ringlet and its banks were strengthened the problem was somewhat alleviated.

SJK Tamil Ringlet is a high performance school and we have conducted a few programmes with them. This programme began with a video presentation on the pollution of a river in Cameron Highlands, followed by a discussion on what was shown.

High performance schools are awarded the merit by the Ministry of Education for excelling in academic and non academic work. They are given some form of autonomy and extra financial aid to run their programmes.