Establishing a Closer Relationship with Nature
10 – 16 June 2016
Tour Coordinator: Dr. Alan LEUNG
Sabah is a biodiversity hotspot, supporting exceptionally rich wildlife. During the 7-day trip, 14 students from CIE’s Applied Science, Communication and Business Associate Degree Programmes explored the rich biodiversity of Sandakan at Sabah through jungle trekking and a river cruise both during the day and night. They also learned about the interactions between people and nature, the benefits nature provides to humans, and the economic benefits from ecotourism and the mutualistic relationships between people and the environment. Apart from having eco-tour trips in the tropical rainforest and rivers, students also visited various nature reserves or conservation centres to experience on-the-ground conservation works that protect endangered species. The students were also deeply impressed by the enthusiasm and professionalism of the Sabah local eco-tour guides toward their hometown and their love of nature.
Apart from acquiring knowledge related to the environment, the participants of the study tours established a closer relationship with nature, experiencing a healthier lifestyle. For instance, although the younger generations in Hong Kong are mostly addicted to mobile phones, our students found that even without using the internet and electronic devices, the beauty of nature and wildlife watching gave them endless fulfillment and entertainment. Moreover, the students found that even the resource requirements and greenhouse gas emissions in Hong Kong also affect the environment in other parts of the world. As global citizens, they have strengthened their sensitivity and responsibility to sustainable living and environmental protection.
LAI Sze Man （Environmental Conservation Studies, Year 2）
Unlike a conventional trip, this eco-tour to Sabah brought a life-changing experience to me. For many years, my knowledge regarding tropical rainforests was limited to textbooks. Finally, I was able to visit the rainforest in Borneo - one of the most important ecological sites in the world.
It was an adventurous journey for me. Together with my schoolmates, we tried river cruises during the day and had jungle walks at night. These activities were very exciting as we saw a lot of endemic and unique species which could only be found in Borneo. The natural scenery was extraordinarily beautiful and the picture of the starry night will be preserved in my mind for a long time. I realised how fragile our natural environment is. Due to pollution and global warming, the climate change brought many harmful effects to the rainforest and resulted in habitat loss, decline in wildlife population and extinction of species. This ultimately affected the balance of the whole ecology.
After this trip, I developed a closer bond with nature and realised that it is my duty to contribute my efforts to environmental protection. I was inspired by the local tour guide in Sabah because he transformed his love of his hometown into action. I hope I can do the same in Hong Kong.
"An Eye-opening Experience"
KWOK Tsz Ki （Environmental Conservation Studies, Year 1）
Although we are nature lovers, observing wildlife is a challenging task to our tour members as the animals can be very far away or hidden. At the beginning of the trip, most of my schoolmates were puzzled because they found it difficult to locate the beautiful birds and other interesting animals as most of them had no or very little wildlife observing experience, particularly when we walked inside the Sepilok rainforest. The river cruise in Bilit, however, magically changed the atmosphere. The birds and mammals had become much easier to observe. As an experienced bird watcher, I tried to help my classmates locate and identify the wildlife. All of us started to become very excited. By observing how beautiful the animals were, we started to love searching for wildlife in the forest. Towards to end of the tour, apparently all of us had become wildlife enthusiasts, while everyone seemed to enjoy the early morning walk and night safari.
Witnessing the attractive wildlife shed light on determining my future direction. I had strengthened my mind in developing my career on ecotourism, so as to let more people appreciate the beauties of nature and enjoy wildlife observation.