Borneo Bulletin's Deputy Editor, James Kon, walked into the office one day with two pieces of A4-sized paper in his hand and said: "I need two people to go to Temburong with HSBC for a 'Climate Camp'. Who wants to go?"

We immediately signed up for the assignment, as we were sure that it would be an experience of epic proportions. We were right.

HSBC staff, including the bank's Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility, Lim Boon Teck, were among those who signed up for the trip to Kuala Belalong Field Study Centre on October 2.

According to Boon Teck, it was the third time that HSBC has organised such a trip. A large number of HSBC staff from all over the country expressed their interest in the trip, as they were keen to learn more about the Climate Change Partnership with CTFS and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), as well as its collaboration with Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD).

He explained that the climate camp was organised with the aim of continuing with HSBC Brunei's awareness campaign to educate its own staff on its role in understanding climate change and realising exactly what research their funding goes into, i.e. the 25-hectare field study plot at the Kuala Belalong Field Study Centre.

The vast research plot is also aimed at providing scientific information on the impact of climate change on forest growth, its ability to store carbon and other useful information for better management of Brunei forests. It will also contribute to a better understanding on the relationship between forests and climate change globally.

The involvement of CTFS and STRI is expected to enhance the international profile of UBD and KBFSC, which in turn would attract more international scientists and researchers to Brunei.

The Project Manager, Min Sheng Khoo a.k.a 'Orang Kayu' from CTFS, gave us a detailed presentation on the 25-hectare project site, as well as the fieldwork that HSBC would be conducting such as tagging, measuring and sampling of trees at the plot.

As we took in the sights from high up the canopy walk, it was clear that HSBC's generous sponsorship, as well as research studies done by STRI and UBD, have had a positive impact on Brunei's "Green Jewel".

Meanwhile, Dr Ulmar Grafe of UBD delivered a talk on the rich bio-diversity of Kuala Belalong, in which he highlighted the different varieties and complexities of wild life in Belalong.

He noted that there was a "strong possibility" that frogs found in Temburong's rainforest could very well help the development of medical treatment and cures for a number of diseases and ailments, even cancer.

For those were not afraid of the dark, Dr Grafe took them on a night-time walk around the centre to look for frogs.

The next day, a group of HSBC staff was led by Min Sheng Khoo roughly two kilometres into the forest to tag, measure and keep record of trees found in the area. From the smiles on their faces, it was evident that they were enjoying themselves.

The Climate Camp was a clear indicator of HSBC's dedication to the importance of green initiatives and preserving the environment.

And with the third successful group having completed this eye-opening trip, one can be sure that the project will continue to be part of HSBC Brunei's awareness campaign. (By Danial Norjidi and Aziz Idris)


Source: Borneo Weekend Bulletin | 16 October 2010 

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