FROM geology to carnivorous plants and on to stonehenge, the Santubong Nature Festival has left an indelible mark that it is one event to watch out for in the next four years.
Held for the very first time in Kuching this year, the festival has combined theory and practice in conveying the message to participants on how vital it is to learn, appreciate and preserve the natural and historical heritage of Santubong.
Through interactive indoor and outdoor sessions as well as games and sports, organiser Malaysian Nature Society Kuching Branch (Kuching MNS), celebrated the significance of Mount Santubong as Kuching city’s icon and the Santubong peninsula’s rich history dating back over 1,000 years old.
The two-day festival which concluded yesterday, shared with the public a variety of topics during the nature talks at Permai Rainforest Resort.
The speakers comprised Geological Department Sarawak’s senior geologist Henry Litong, who spoke on “Geology of Santubong”; wildlife photographer and biologist Chi’en Lee on “Carnivorous Plants of Santubong”; social scientists Tengku Hilda Tengku Ahmad on “Santubong Stonehenge”; writer and teacher Tom McLaughlin on “Chinese Settlers in Santubong”; ecologist from Sarawak Forestry, Rambli Ahmad on “Defining Wallace’s Line”; and researcher and entomologist from University Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) Ikhwan Idris on “Butterflies and Moths of Santubong”.
Miri MNS chairman Musa Musbah also gave a talk on “Oriental Pied Hornbills at Piasau Camp” while bird specialist and environmental consultant Dave Bakewell touched on “Surveying Migratory Waterbirds in Sarawak”.
Sarawak Forestry’s head of protected areas biodiversity conservation Oswald Braken Tisen delivered his presentation on “Endangered Animals and Enforcement in Sarawak” while TRAFFIC Southeast Asia senior programme officer Kanitha Krishnasamy and senior communications officer Elizabeth John highlighted the “Illegal Wildlife Trade in Malaysia”.
Aside from these talks, there was an indoor 30-minute tour to introduce participants to the forest creatures of the night as well as a first nature and a geology walks.
They also visited some archeological and historical sites during a 90-minute Santubong Heritage Walk.
Workshops on photography were conducted as well.
The participants also took part in an adventurous three-hour night kayaking along the coast of Santubong. In addition, there was also a guided boat tour to observe the firefly colonies along Sungai Buntal.
The festival was not confined in the resort. At the nearby Damai Central, booths had been set up by various organisations and local communities for the bazaar, which was selling various goods and merchandise items.
Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Young Souls Musical Group also treated the crowd to an entertaining show while Trienekens held an Eco-Fashion contest for participants from colleges and secondary schools.
The festival went on into the night with an open mic session featuring Malaysian vocalist and songwriter Amir Yussof at Escobar Bar and Grill.
Kooch Cycling Club aided participants taking part in a bicycle treasure hunt “Race Through Time” while a game station manned by UCSI University kept the little ones occupied.
Closing the festival yesterday, Kuching MNS chairman Anthony Sebastian said the society was all about the people, adding that more could be achieved in terms of raising the awareness of the priceless natural and historical heritage that Santubong possessed if it could reach out to more members of the public.
“We need to see this organisation as something interesting.
“It has to be fun so that people will want to join but at the same time, there is also the serious side to it,” he stressed.
He said although the highlights of the festival were evident during the two days, it had actually been running since May through a series of activities.
Anthony anticipated that the festival would grow in strength over the next four years and called on all to join the society in helping to make a change.
Kuching MNS co-organised Santubong Nature Festival with Permai Rainforest Resort, with the support from Friends of Sarawak Museum, Sarawak Heritage Society, Sarawak Museum, Sarawak Economic Development Corporation, Trienekens (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd, LimKokWing Institute of Creative Technology, UCSI University, Sarawak Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and Damai Central.