It all began with a research project on the ecology of the Asiatic Yellow House Bat roosting in the school attics around Tasik Chini, Pahang. It gave me an idea to share the knowledge and information about bats with the school kids here. There are a lot of misconceptions about bats such as bats are flying rodents, bats getting entangled in human hair and bats turning humans into vampires need to be dispelled. Therefore, an awareness programme entitled as “Programme on Environmental Awareness and Biodiversity” was conducted in Tasik Chini for two days from 17th until 18th June 2014 with the participation from primary 5 school students around Tasik Chini. This programme was organized by the Tasik Chini Research Centre, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (PPTC) in collaboration with the Malaysian Bat Conservation Research Unit (MBCRU) and a non-governmental organization, Treat Every Environment Special (TrEES). The programme was held at the Freshwater Research Complex, PPTC, Tasik Chini, Pahang.
The main objective of this programme was to increase awareness level regarding the importance of preserving and conserving the environment and to give exposure to the students about the threats facing the flora and fauna of Tasik Chini. This programme focused on the biology and the importance of bats in the ecosystem. The programme was attended by 131 primary school students from S.K. (FELDA) Chini 3 & 5, the S.K. (FELDA) Chini 2 and the S. K. Tasik Chini. Various activities were conducted in this programme which included workshops, quizzes, poster making contest and 3D model of bat’s habitat using recycled materials.
The participants were divided into eight groups and quizzes were conducted to determine the comprehension level of the participants towards information transferred. The participants really enjoyed the quizzes and they scored high marks. Drawing of posters and making 3D Model of bat’s habitat appealed to the participants’ creativity and the really enjoyed it. The presence of the bat mascot during these activities is among the highlights of the programme. The mascot’s role in a short sketch via a conversation on comparison of the bat’s anatomy and ecology with humans also enhanced the awareness level of the participants about bats. The students also had the opportunity to observe bats more closely in the exhibition hall and information displayed dispelled their negative perceptions of bats.
In addition a questionnaire was also distributed among the participants to determine their level of knowledge and awareness before and after attending the awareness programme. The programme was very successful in increasing participants’ understanding level of bats and the importance of bat conservation, particularly in Tasik Chini. At the end of the programme, prizes were awarded to each winner of the quizzes, poster drawing and making of 3D Model of the Bat’s Habitat.
MATERIALS DEVELOPED FOR THIS PROJECT CAN BE DOWNLOADED ON THE MALAYSIAN OUTREACH MATERIALS PAGE