My experience at P-WEC

As an ecologist and an animal lover, I have always aspired to have a career in the conservation field.  Working on the conservation of the environment and wildlife would most probably require me to work outdoors, and for that I need to get used to being away from "civilisation". I thought volunteering at P-WEC (Petungsewu Wildlife Education Center) would give a taste of what being outdoors most of the time would be like and give a good transition from city life to a life surrounded by nature.

As a volunteer, I am ready to do anything that the staff requires me to do and the scope of my duties is considerably large. A major volunteering duty is gardening at the greenhouse. Although I am considered as an ecologist, I know close to nothing about plants. Here is where I gained more knowledge on plants from my mentor, Tobi. Dheo (an intern) and I have helped him plant more than two hundred seeds of fruits and flowers like melon, soursop, sunflower and zenia for the past two weeks. Gardening duties also included weeding, which has recently become more intense as we are nearing to Tobi's event on edible wild plants. Although it sounds like an insignificant chore, it has taught me one of the most important things of being in nature--getting used to tiny invertebrates like worms, snails and especially caterpillars, which I am deathly afraid of.

When there is a program, gardening duties are paused and I help the staff with things like guiding the guests to dorms, assisting in games, leading the morning aerobics, and helping guests with their harness in the high ropes activity. One of the major lessons for me during programs is how to deal with people. In activities like games and aerobics, I always have to be excited to keep the participants' spirits high. So far, I have never seen any bored participants thanks to the crew. They are always cheerful and enthusiastic when leading the group in games. However, when it comes to high ropes, enthusiasm is not always the answer. I have experienced a few participants that were afraid of heights and one of them was on the brink of tears when coming down from flying fox. In this situation, I had to calm them down before releasing the carabiner and after they come down the stairs.

My volunteering duties also included many others like helping the crew make a new aerobics routine (Senam Hao Che), introducing a new game (Bimbam challenge), performing with the crew in front of the guests as requested by them, taking photographs, setting up the halls for events,  preparing equipment and items for games and high ropes, cleaning the equipment, setting up posters for the cafe, cleaning up the greenhouse, watering the plants, and planting seedlings. Recently, we have also been preparing for education programs in SD Kucir 3, SD Petungsewu 1 and SD Petungsewu 2 for Primate Day. So far I have enjoyed all the duties and have no complaints over any of the activites that I have done.

After many years of being away from Indonesia, I am not used to speaking the Indonesian language fully. Dealing with guests as well as socialising with the P-WEC crew help me practice it. This is a great deal for me because I tend to be shy around new people. Thankfully, the crew has been nothing but nice to me so far and has always included me in things. I personally think the best lesson that I have learned at P-WEC is socialising. I have always been socially inept and being here has helped me improve my social skills. I am really grateful to be here and thankful that I learned so much more than I expected. I would definitely come back if I have the chance and would be delighted if I was asked to help out in any activities and programs in the future. (Nityasa Namaskari)

© 2003 - ProFauna Indonesia

ProFauna Indonesia is an Indonesian society for the protection of
wild animals and their habitats