Last month, ASRI hosted their second weekend-long Planetary Health Camp! Students from four different villages (Simpang Hilir, Teluk Batang, Seponti and Sukadana) came to ASRI to participate in the program. A total of forty-three campers got the chance to hike through the rainforest, perform hands-on experiments, and learn about climate change and the environment.
Here's a simple experiment that campers performed on their first day: They took two used plastic bottles with the tops cut off, placed a thermometer inside each, and heated them with a light-bulb. One of the bottles was covered with plastic wrap, and the other was left open. For ten minutes, the campers observed how much the temperature increased in each bottle every two minutes. The result was that the closed bottle had a hotter temperature than the open one. This project is a microcosm for the greenhouse effect -- in earth’s atmosphere, carbon dioxide traps heat, just like the glass in a greenhouse. The campers learned that the closed bottle acts like the earth blanketed in carbon dioxide: it gets hotter.
On the second day, students observed wild animals along the Bukit Peramas trail in Gunung Palung National Park (GPNP) and the mangrove forests near the coast. Next, the campers learned about Planetary Health, including the history of ASRI, characteristics of tropical rainforests, some impacts of climate change on health and the environment, and the biodiversity of GPNP.
“Plants lived earlier than humans and plants can live without humans, but humans cannot live without plants,” said Jupri, a 10th grader from Simpang Hilir High School 3 (SMAN 3 Desa Simpang Hilir), at the end of the camp. All the other participants burst out in applause for him.
“In my opinion, I’ve gotten a lot of knowledge from this camp. The activities were so cool and interesting. I have lots of new friends. And the counselors are very good,” said Supardianto, another 10th grader from Simpang Hilir High School 3, excitedly.
The unique thing about this 2nd Planetary Health Camp was that 90% of the counselors were ASRI Teens! The two winners of the Best Presentation Award from December’s Planetary Health Camp also came back to help.
The success of this event was also inseparable from the help of other ASRI staff who came to speak to the group. Staff from GPNP also donated their time to give a presentation and guide the hike through Bukit Peramas.
We are grateful to Disney for their funding. This support meant a lot to us, because Planetary Health Camp would not be possible without it. We also received generous donations of supplies for the camp, including thermometers from the Oregon Zoo (Alison Heimowitz), shopping bags from a volunteer medical student (Bella Jovita), and cool hats from an artist (Katie Homes).