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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Last column for this year since we are taking a short break. See you back in 2015

Taking a short break

by Mary Margaret.

A beautiful scene from Borneo Highlands.
IN early 2000, the then MNS Kuching Branch chairperson Rebecca D’Cruz suggested we write a weekly column for The Borneo Post. The committee said, “Why not — great idea.”
So began the weekly MNS column. We expected the column to last for six months or perhaps a year, but not 14 years.
A 14-year run was beyond our wildest dreams, but this is how long this column has been around. Most of the articles can be found on either our Facebook page or blog.
The column has reflected the mission and the vision of MNS — to promote the understanding, conservation and love of nature.
The contributors and writers come from all walks of life and most of us are not professional writers, but we have in common a passion for nature. This drives us into the natural world, into the jungle, out onto the sea. It leads us to stare into the sky searching for birds and stars, up into the trees and down to the ground, examining rocks. And it is these passionate people who have kept this column alive.
Our readers have journeyed with us into Sarawak’s jungles through our writing about MNS trips.
MNS nightwalks caught many creatures in their natural habitat.
We have ventured into the hidden garden of Kampung Temurang, Padawan, which can only be reached through caves.
We have climbed Bung Tesen, the lookout point of the 360-metre sandstone hill, Bung Jagoi, and have gazed over the ancestral home of the Bidayuh people, which extends from Bau to Penrissen and Padawan to Siburan and Serian.
We have walked through the orchards, jungles, heath and fields that edge trails.
We have swum in waterfalls and clambered up hills in Sarawak’s national parks.
We have ventured out in the sea as we explored Kuching Wetlands National Park, searched for dolphins in Santubong Bay and journeyed to Tanjong Datu National Park.
MNS, through talks on almost anything about the natural world — animals, plants, history, climate change, migrations and current research — brought awareness about the wild into the urban setting. These talks became column topics.
MNS events, at the state and national levels, were reported. The inaugural 2013 Santubong Nature Festival was a fantastic success, and readers were able to experience it through the articles on the talks and hugely popular nightwalk.
The Borneo Bird Race and Raptor count at Tanjong Tuan, Port Dickson have also been featured.
The My Garden Bird Watch, an annual event organised by the Bird Conservation Group of the Malaysian Nature Society and Bird Life International, has been discussed (especially the frustration at not seeing the ‘cool’ birds normally flitting about in the garden).
And the column has had an international flavour as some writers connect the beauty that is Sarawak with the natural wonders around the world. Its strength has been its diversity.
You may be wondering why you are reading about past columns. We are reflecting on the form the column has taken because we are going to say “so long” for a short time.
We, MNS Kuching Branch, are looking at where we have been and where we are going and at the evolution of the column.
This is going to be happening in the next couple of months and so we are taking a short break until 2015. Until then Love Life, Love Nature.
A trail in Santubong beckons for a nature adventure.
The Malaysian Nature Society

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