2016-11-10 11:05:58 | Admin

The writing of a scientific researcher about his experiences and feelings when joining the training course in September 2016.

Arriving at Danang University of education’s gate, around 30 students welcomed me, someone helped me carry my handbag, and others helped with packbags. I happily greeted them all and asked them about their feelings of the up coming trip. “We’re pretty thrilling!”, said the students. They added: “Some of us even screamed out loud when we received the announcement that we had passed the interview and could attend the course. The more we learn, the more interesting we feel, so we think that there are a lot of interesting things we want to learn more.” Then we were all ready for the field trip into Kon Ka Kinh National Park – Gia Lai as a part of the Primate Conservation Training Course held by Frankfurt Zoology Society (FZS).

The whole class taking photo in front of the Center of Kon Ka Kinh National Park – Gia Lai

Exciting moments came again with the 25 nature-loving souls whose desires are to discover the mystery of forests. What were vague, and can only be seen on TV or just flashed through minds in the past theoretical lessons from university, were gradually uncovered in front of those students’ eyes. Arriving at Kon Ka Kinh National Park, Gia Lai at 5.30 am, the cool air here was totally different from city areas. In the distance, there were dark green forests with the top covered in blankets of fog and cloud - That was the students’ first feeling here, as well as  the feeling of me and other trainers when coming back to Kon Ka Kinh. Since the students were very close and friendly without any shyness as if we have known each other for long, they exchanged information with the trainers straightforwardly. Especially, those students were very active and nimble in practical lessons. They quickly spotted the locations of items - which were hidden by the trainers - by using GPS. It could be said that it was their “first victory away from home”. The field trip in forests began in the next morning. Being different from casual clothes, the students shown me how well-prepared they were with field clothing, backpacks, hats and anti-leech-socks; that really reminded me about the time when I was collecting data of Grey-shanked doucs in the forest couple of years ago.

Passing the first stream, there were some very gentle men stood in the middle of the stream and helped their female friends getting through the flow even when the water level was just ankle-deep. When entering the forests, jokes and laughs gradually disappeared, and with a professional working attitude, everyone was ready to listen to and observe the animals when they appeare. In the next streams, still Thong, Viet, Xuân who had carefully helped  the ladies across the flows. Those streams were knee-deeper and the water flowed much faster than the first one. On the way to the research station, most of them were impressed by many big trees which are around 30 meter tall, straight and it takes several people to be able to hug each of them. The trees have sinewy roots which are taller than us, the students had never seen this and also did not know what it means to the trees. After listening to Ms. Tinh’s explanation, everyone realized that in the nature every species has its own adaption to survive! The students also saw another evidence about competition for survival: a Banyan tree that enveloped another tree, grew upon and then stifled the host tree which upheld it when it just sprouted. 

The students’ eyes were really widen when arriving at the research station with a lot of things to see! The homey dinner lasted more than one hour. During eating, we also shared experiences and data collected from the first day on a not-too-long walking distance. Early the next morning, each group was equipped binoculars, GPS maps, compasses and prepared lunch. The students played as real conservationists supported by the trainers who had been following them all day long.

“A day in forest” truly began, every group wanted to meet grey-shanked doucs and many other animals in forest. At the end of the day when we had had evening report, the results were as expected: There was one group observed the grey-shanked douc, one observed the stump-tailed macaque and 2 other groups detected animals’ eating marks and observed the squirrel and iguanas. There was no group having difficulty in walking in forest by using GPS and maps. Those were just initial field observation, then information and data need to be systematically recorded for the purpose of researching. Besides, the class was introduced several methods of field investigation by Mr. Hà Thăng Long including: mammal investigation, plant investigation, line-transect sampling, sample collecting and processing in the field. It was very effective when learning theory and practice at the same time. All groups completed their work and collected an information system which can be served for the purpose of researching. Those were things the students learned from this trip: doing fieldwork themselves as researchers and conservationists, first time preparing field trip meals together, working together, experiencing rainy and sunny days in forest and feeling the forest. These did inspire more nature loving in the students.

Mr. Tran Ngoc Toan – GreenViet training students to collect and preserve plant samples.

Information about the course:

Aiming to empower young conservationists, especially focusing on primate conservation in Vietnam and strengthen researching skills in the conservation field for students by providing them knowledge about primate conservation and field  researching techniques, FZS - Germany  in cooperating with Education for Nature Program Fund – WWF, Faculty of Biology – Environment of Danang University of Education, and Greenviet organized Vietnam Primate Conservation Training Course 2016 at two locations: Danang University of Education (theory learning) and Kon Ka Kinh National Park.

The course attracted 25 fine students from Hồng Bàng University – Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi University of Pedagogy, Da nang University of Science and Technology, and Danang University of Education. After 9 days learning theory and experiencing the field trip, the students were strengthened basic knowledge about wildlife conservation, field investigation methods, laws related to wild-animal protection, first aids and techniques of wild-animal care taking during rescuing, using devices and equipment in the field, setting up plans for researching, using other techniques introduced in the course to collect, analyze and present data.  

Photos of the training course:

Mr. Tilo Nadler introducing the diversity of Vietnam’s primate mammals

The students practicing field investigation skills

Receiving certificates after the training

*The writing by Mr. Tran Ngoc Toan – GreenViet’s researcher after attending the training course as a trainer

Translator: Nguyen Luu Ngoc Han/GreenViet's Volunteer

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