“Time spent among trees is never time wasted.” Our first Sunshine Project for this year was successfully held on 17 August 2019 at The Habitat Penang Hill. With the theme “Forest and Nature”, this time we bring 40 students from SK Batu Maung to explore the cool and tranquil rainforest environment whilst having a fun learning experience through a series of outdoor activities.
Nothing beats spending a glorious Saturday morning up at Penang’s highest viewing point – Penang Hill. With just a short ride up on Penang Hill Funicular Railway - the world’s steepest tunnel track and longest track in Asia, a whole new nature classroom awaits. On 17th August 2019, Penang Green Council gave forty Year 3 students from SK Batu Maung a treat up to the famous hill for a day of nature exploration with The Habitat under its Sunshine Project.
Nest amongst Penang Hill is The Habitat, sitting on the fringe of Penang Hill’s virgin jungle reserve area which is believed to be a prehistoric rainforest dating back 130-million years ago. This sets the best environment for our program this time where we hope to bring learning out of the classroom, into and amongst nature and finally explore about their relationship with the natural environment.
“ Out in the Nature, On the Hill ”
Opened in 2018, The Habitat’s Nature Trail & Gardens spans 1.6km that meanders below three of the hill’s oldest historic bungalows and through the entire stretch of The Habitat themed park. From these trails, lookout points of the rolling hills and The Andaman Sea could be sighted. Here, nature is displayed at its best and completely undisturbed. The students were allowed to roam around, activating their 5 senses which is part of The Habitat Rainforest Explorer Programme: Life in the Tropical Rainforest.
Tailored and guided by experience on-site rangers, students observed and compared the differences between the living, dead and never been alive. They were also taught of the basic structures of a plant. Along the way, the rangers also pointed out a variety of indigenous plants and animals of the hill. Some of them are only seen during the day whilst some at night. Besides that, we also talked about the life cycle and the world of bees, the importance of bees in our ecosystem and how bees help to maintain mankind. Bees are the world’s most important pollinator of food crops. It is crucial for the students to see a symbiotic relationship between humans, animals, insects and the greater nature to sustain life on Earth.
An Adventurous Experience
If you are in for a more adventurous experience, The Habitat’s Curtis Crest Tree Top Walk is one main attraction among locals and international tourists. The excited students were whisked up to this 13m viewing platform that gave them a mesmerizing 360-degree views of Penang. This attraction sits on the first English tennis court in Malaya and was previously a military parade ground by the East India Company where troop kept watch for approaching enemy ships. Students were in awe of the views offered above and it was the first time for many of them to see Penang from such a perspective.
Penang Green Council’s Sunshine Program is specially designed for underprivileged kids aged between 9-12 years old students in Penang. This project was held to educate, discuss, and expose how our daily life can affect the environment. We opted for an outdoor education concept to help build bridges for social, cultural and nature connection and at the same time carving unforgettable memories for them. These exciting and adventurous activities help to develop the participant's ability at individual and personal level. We hope to also advocate them to take on greater challenges socially and academically.
This outdoor adventure is made possible with our kind sponsors Penang Hill Corporation and The Habitat. Their commitment in nurturing the young and exposing nature to young kids at young ages plays a pivotal role in advocating environmental education, preservation and conservation of our natural habitat. Tickets to both Penang Hill and The Habitat are available on their respective websites!
If you are also interested to volunteer with us on this wonderful journey, head on to www.pgc.com.my/green-helpers.php to register!