With the school holidays in full swing, students, along with their parents and guardians, will be looking forward to travelling and touring the nation and beyond, especially after the borders re-opened.
But spending quality time with friends and family and taking time to rest can also be done productively.
One way is to visit learning centres, which are both fun and educational.
The Tropical Biodiversity Centre (TBC), a stone’s throw away from the main highway connecting the Belait District to the Tutong District, is one such centre. The Bulletin met with a group of students accompanied by their teachers from Pengiran Anak Puteri Hajah Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah Secondary School (SMPAPHRSB) visiting the centre.
Travel and tourism teacher Suraya binti Haji Abdullah said the trip was in line with the teachings at school, especially in her subject.
“We bring students here to gain a first-hand look at the flora and fauna that can be found here,” she said.
She added that the visit also allowed students to meet and learn from forestry officers who explore the rainforest and gather samples, and also categorise the plants and animals in the nation.
While it was not the first time that students of this school visited the centre, this visit aimed to help them to become more familiar with the nation’s flora and fauna while inspiring them to seek knowledge outside of school.
“We have plans to visit Eco Ponies Garden in Tutong District, Pangkalan Waris, and Seria Energy Lab, which will help the students widen their knowledge,” the teacher said.
The visits can also arouse the students’ curiostiy.
Student Md Nursyahmi bin Safferi, sharing how visiting TBC changed his outlook on the surrounding environment, said, “From what I saw, there are many flora and fauna that we did not expect, yet can be found in the Sultanate.”
Meanwhile Md Aidil bin Zoeharee said he learnt about the importance of caring for the surrounding environment, especially the rich forested area of Belait District.
Eye-opening exhibits disseminating information and encourage learning through first-hand experience have been at the heart of TBC since its establishment nearly a decade ago, Senior Forestry Officer at the Forestry Department Zaeidi bin Haji Berudin noted.
“We welcome students and anybody curious about nature and the environment in the Sultanate, and those looking to promote local eco-tourism,” he said.
True to its name, Zaeidi explained that the highlight at the centre is the biodiversity found in rainforests “because, our country, Brunei Darussalam, is most well-known for its pristine forests, so here we have much information on the subject”.
In addition, the centre and the surrounding premises are also home to rainforest paths and clearings that can be explored as part of a learning experience, especially with the free time available during school holidays.
Zaeidi said that not only schools, but also the public can visit the TBC as a place at the forefront of one of the nation’s vested interests and learn more about the tropical rainforest, its functions and how it contributes to the environment.
“Visitors can experience and feel for themselves being close to the heart of the forest.
“Here, there are many places to appreciate the beauty of nature in Brunei,” he said.