By JADE CHAN firstname.lastname@example.org
KUALA TERENGGANU: This year’s World Oceans Day celebration is one that Brandon Tan will remember, for it marked the first time that he saw a turtle up close.
“It was an incredible experience to witness a turtle laying eggs and eating algae underwater,” said the 16-year-old student at Regent International School in Klang, Selangor.
Brandon and his aunt Chin Seow Ping were among the volunteers who signed up for the Ecoteer “voluntourism” programme.
The collaboration by Ecoteer with The Star Foundation aims to promote responsible tourism and protect the marine environment of Pulau Perhentian.
Volunteers comprising employees of Star Publications (M) Bhd and members of the public participated in various activities, including cleaning the beach and helping with a community garden, and treasure hunt and marine conservation talks.
“The programme exceeded my expectations. Beyond the snorkelling activity, I got to learn about turtle conservation, interact with the local village children and learn about a turtle’s life cycle,” said Brandon.
“It was a fun and educational experience. I look forward to sharing with my friends, and maybe even get them to sign up for future Ecoteer activities.”
Chin said she signed her nephew up for the programme as it offered an opportunity for the younger generation to be exposed to nature and learn from their volunteerism experience.
“I was impressed with Ecoteer’s presentation of their activities and signed up for the June session when I learned that it was timed to coincide with World Oceans Day.
“Seeing the turtle live in person was definitely a highlight,” said the Star Publications advertising and business development general manager.