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Bear-ing gifts in Borneo

Date Posted: 09/01/2017 | Posted In: Latest news

Friends and family of students at QE have been amazed by their adventure of a lifetime on an expedition to Borneo.

During presentation evenings held at the College, parents and friends watched video footage and heard about the students’ thrilling experiences on this overseas expedition. Twenty students and four members of staff from QE visited Borneo in order to participate in voluntary work aimed at improving the lives of various communities and groups. The students worked at the sun bear conservation project in Sepelok where, in blistering heat, they worked as a team to plan and build a number of walkways around the sanctuary in order to allow the keepers to be able to move around and look after the bears more easily.   Sun bears are the smallest type of bear in the world and are facing extinction, due to the rainforest being cut down.  The sanctuary rescues bears, rehabilitates them and returns them to the wild where possible. The people who run the sanctuary are too busy fundraising and caring for the bears to carry out repairs so they were extremely grateful for the students’ assistance, especially as they completed the hard physical work in such draining heat and humidity.

During the visit, the QE students also spent time at a local school and delivered lessons to the primary school children who really enjoyed the experience.  They also trekked through the rainforest, taking instruction from a local farmer on farming practices and the medicinal uses of many of the plants grown in the area.  A visit was also made to the orang-utan sanctuary, where the students were lucky enough to see these beautiful animals swinging through the forest and feeding; an opportunity of a lifetime. The expedition was rounded off with a night camping on the Tar Islands where students were able to snorkel and look at the marine life in this unspoilt area.

Nancy Wall, Project Leader, comments:

“Travel is a fantastic opportunity for everyone, however, for students of this age it opens up a whole new world. They not only learn about other cultures and communities but also learn about themselves and how they can overcome certain challenges. As always the QE students were an absolute credit to the College, and indeed the country, and were a pleasure to be with.”

The Rotary Club of Darlington are keen supporters of such College expeditions and, during one recent meeting, the QE students visited the club to give a presentation based on their travels.  This was followed by a question and answer session by club members, and was an excellent way to thank the club for their support. Alongside that a number of QE students visited Northwood primary school.  Each expedition from College now includes the school’s mascots, and the recent visit allowed the mascots to be returned and the students to share their stories with the younger pupils in the school.

Theresa Mason, Northwood teacher, says “The school’s relationship with QE is a great link for us, our students love hearing about the travels of the mascots and students, and really enjoy sharing in their experiences.”