Environmental Learning Centre Opens
Our team in Indonesia has opened a learning centre to increase awareness and understanding among the general public of the importance to the community of preserving nature and the environment. “The Sir Michael Uren Learning Centre” was established thanks to British philanthropist Sir Michael Uren who has supported the activities of International Animal Rescue for more than ten years and has a deep concern for sustainable development in the environment in Indonesia, particularly in Borneo.
The Learning Centre was inaugurated on Wednesday, 10 July, 2019, attended by Alexander Rombonang, Head of the National and Political Unity Agency of West Kalimantan Province, representing the Governor of West Kalimantan, H. Sutarmidji, SH, M. Hum, and H. Farhan, SE, M. Si, Ketapang District Secretary, Hadi Pranata S. STP, M.Sc, Head of the Division of Protection and Conservation of Natural Resources and Ecosystems, Marius Marcelus TJ, Former Kadishut of West Kalimantan Province, and other regional officials. Present to represent Sir Michael Uren was Alan Knight OBE, Chief Executive of International Animal Rescue.
The centre is located on a one-hectare site within the IAR office complex in Ketapang, West Borneo. The stated vision for it is to bring together local communities, the private sector, academic research institutions, as well as government and non-government organisations, to build a better future for humans and nature. The mission for the centre is to build awareness, knowledge and ability through research and education to protect the environment and enable sustainable growth in Ketapang Regency.
The aim is for the centre to be a place for disseminating knowledge and information, research development, training, community empowerment, documentation, archives, and cooperation in the fields of biodiversity, nature conservation, animal protection and culture for local communities, for young and old, for private companies and individuals and for the government.
The vision, mission and objectives of the Learning Centre are reflected in the management of buildings that emphasise zero emission and zero waste with the existence of solar panel and bio digester facilities.
The building has an area of approximately 2000 square metres and a design that departs from the traditional Kalimantan building with a number of facilities, including accommodation for spacious meeting rooms for workshops and presentations, cafes, and plenty of open space for training and seminars, making it the first complete learning facility in Kalimantan. The building was designed by the Akanoma design house, led by renowned Indonesian architect Yu Sing.
The Learning Centre had previously been visited by the Director General of Natural Resources and Ecosystem Conservation of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Ir. Wiratno, M.Sc on 5 April. The visit was carried out symbolically by Wiratno with the ritual of "Young Bulung Pancung". This is a ritual welcoming of guests of Dayak tribes in general. "Pancung Buluh Muda" is a tribute to the great guests who are believed to cut young bamboo with mandau which means opening the 'peaceful door' so that anyone passing through the door will feel peaceful and calm.
"My admiration and respect go to Sir Michael Uren for helping to create this excellent Learning Centre. I hope it will last for hundreds of years. Likewise with the entire Indonesian IAR team,” Wiratno said in the message he wrote on canvas. During the event, Wiratno planted a Tengkawang tree in front of the centre.
Statement from Sir Michael Uren:
"I am confident that the Ketapang Learning Centre will be hugely successful. This place will offer unlimited opportunities to raise awareness among young people and adults about the environmental and conservation issues facing Indonesia today. I am also sure that this place will bring forth many ideas and initiatives to help conserve Indonesia’s amazing biodiversity for generations to come. "
Statement from the Governor of West Kalimantan:
“To protect the main threat to Indonesia's biodiversity, we must carry out conservation and sustainable development which includes economic, social and cultural aspects. Because the existence of the forest safeguards human life, the community needs active involvement in its preservation. This is where there needs to be an increase in Learning. The Sir Michael Uren Learning Centre is expected to support conservation efforts involving all parties. Therefore IAR Indonesia has developed a sustainable, integrated programme so that all interested parties in Ketapang Regency can work together. Equally, the BKSDA and other institutions must increasingly unite with the vision of saving the environment.”
Statement from the Regent of Ketapang:
“We are committed to supporting the IAR Indonesia programmes and urge IAR to continue research, development and rehabilitation to help the Ketapang government preserve the environment. Hopefully this centre will become a source of information and learning both in Ketapang, West Kalimantan and all regions in Indonesia. We also hope that IAR will coordinate with relevant agencies so that it can be in line with Ketapang's vision and mission and for the sake of the advanced and prosperous Ketapang Regency.”
Statement from Alan Knight OBE:
"We are deeply indebted to Sir Michael Uren for enabling us to establish this extraordinary facility where people can learn about their natural environment and wildlife and join IAR in protecting and preserving them. The Sir Michael Uren Learning Centre is an investment in the future. It is a symbol of trust in the power of knowledge and understanding to bring positive change to humans, animals, and the entire planet that we inhabit together and rely on to survive. I have no doubt that everyone who visits this centre will be inspired by what they learn and want to play a role in protecting the future of the natural world."
Statement from dr. Karmele Llano Sanchez
"We are all very grateful and honoured by the trust that Sir Michael Uren has put in us. And we are proud to have been able to build this extraordinary learning centre that will belong to all the people of Ketapang."