BSBCC towards a learning Centre for sun bears

Date: July 24th 2014

Text and photo by Gloria Ganang

One of the aims of BSBCC was to serve as an education platform for the public to learn about sun bears. One way is through interpretative signboards at the Centre. It was in 2012 when we first started developing our signboards. The BSBCC team started making plans and getting ideas as soon as the access boardwalk and observation platform was completed.

In early 2013, Wong received an email from Ayesha Keshani and said that she wanted to help in any exhibition design works. Her offer came at the perfect time. Ayesha arrived at BSBCC a few weeks later and started working on the layout of the signboard. We never knew that there were so many details to consider in building signboards. We went out searching for materials available locally and visited places to check out which material is the best for outdoor displays. The nearby Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC) was a great help! Hubert Petol, whom has been designing and building signages at the RDC for many years showed us around the park, met his team and also visited their workshop. We were truly inspired with their ongoing commitment to make RDC a learning Centre of the tropical rainforest. Material wise, we couldn’t figure out anything better.

A layout of the signboard was made, sizes were determined and Ayesha was leaving. It was the end of her volunteering period. Ayesha was still very determined to get the signage done and kept in touch through email. 

Then came Jonathan Dolan from Arkitrek, who was a great help in making the structures of the signboard. The main idea was to have the signboard strong enough so they are not easily broken by free roaming macaques and orang utan. Therefore, Jon came up with strong metal frames which should be strong enough for even people to sit on! With the helps from our grounf staff, the signboard frames were built. 

Jon and one of the signboard frames

Ronny, BSBCC staff helping out in making the structure of the signboard

In the mean time, we had Jocelyn Stokes a photographer and a student at the Oregon State University who happened to be at the Centre, doing her research on sun bears in captivity. She offered to help out with the project. We worked out the content and the text for each signboards. It was a fun process and we learnt a lot! Wong (BSBCC’s CEO & Founder), in between his busy schedule, always made himself available in adding and checking inputs of the content.

Jocelyn and her ipad!

Lin May (our Coordinator) worked so hard together with Jocelyn compiling a collection of amazing photos for the signages. 

Later in 2013, Dr. Sheala Peake from the University of Sunshine Coast, Australia (USC) came to visit us. Seeing our needs to build signboards, she introduced us to Kevin Todd, a senior lecturer in Arts and Design from the USC. Kevin worked out some signboard theme with his students and brought the designs to the Centre. All staff gets to give their opinion on which theme would be the best for our Centre.

BSBCC staff selecting their favorite theme for the signboard

Kevin showing us some idea of how the signages would look like.

We sent him contents and photos. Kevin and his students worked out their magic and turned our contents and photos into a very unique design of signboards. Thanks to the full commitment from the USC in helping us to complete the signboards and ship them here. 

We also like to take this opportunity to thank the GEF Small Grants Programme for providing the funding to build these signages.

Not forgetting our staff Thye Lim and his friends Tok Ern Lai, Laurent Pong Chun Chih, Lai Yin Yee, Susan Sam and our friends Lin Jing Fen from Asiatic Black Bear Researcher from Taiwan Pin Tung Rescue Centre who are great help in writing the Chinese translations, as well as Miss Betty Susanti, a local teacher and a good friend that has worked hard working on the Malay translations. Now with 3 language translations, we can reach more people from different backgrounds to learn about sun bears.

Thank you very much for all your supports! More plans are coming to make the Centre a great learning platform about sun bears and a worthwhile experience for visitors !

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