TURTLE, in Bahasa Malaysia, is penyu. Incidentally, the Chinese characters pen yu means ‘friend’.
This phonetic connection became a convenient advantage for Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa, which recently developed a turtle conservation awareness programme for primary school children, called ‘Getting To Know Your PenYu’.
The programme will see children spend half a day at the 40-year-old resort and take part in games and handicraft work using recycled materials, said Rasa Sayang corporate social responsibility manager Elizabeth Liew.
“They learn about the four stages of a turtle’s life cycle and the importance of protecting the marine environment for the sake of these endangered reptiles.
“To top it off, the resort has also obtained the approval from the state Education Department to allow schools to send their children to the resort on a school day,” Liew said.
She also said an outdoor excursion on a school day is great for kids to learn and have fun at the same time.
“The objective is to empower the children to take responsibility for our environment. This will bring far-ranging benefits when they reach adulthood,” she added.
Some 80 school children from SJK (C) Eok Hua in Teluk Bahang and SJK (C) Pai Chai in Batu Ferringhi were the first to benefit from the programme held over two days.
The programme started on Tuesday.
Story Time : The children showing keen interest in turtles during the programme at Rasa Sayang Resort.
Accompanied by their school teachers, the children enjoyed a story-telling session on turtle conservation beneath a 110-year-old teak tree at the resort’s Raintree Garden, followed by a ‘turtle tele-match’.
They also built sand turtles at the resort’s sand pit, visited the resort’s Eco Centre, and watched a video presentation on marine environmental protection courtesy of the Penang Fisheries Department.
Liew also said 16 staff – including ex-SJK (C) Pai Chai student M. Kanageswaran who is the resort’s recreations service team leader – volunteered to conduct the programme, while independent environmental awareness education specialist Carrol Marie Lawrence was invited to structure the activities and facilitate the programme.
“We are planning to invite more schools to take advantage of our programme soon, and it is encouraging that many of our staff members have signed up as programme volunteers,” she added.
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