Non-Timber Forest Products Exchange Programme

Environmental education training for students in Vietnam

July 6, 2020

In 2001, May 22 was proclaimed by the United Nations as the International Day for Biological Diversity to raise public awareness about biodiversity issues and call on nations to take action to protect global biodiversity. Since then, the International Day for Biological Diversity is commemorated annually by many individuals and organizations around the world through many exciting activities on social networks, television, in classrooms and in nature.

In 2020, the theme of the International Day for Biological Diversity is “Our solutions are in nature” to remind us once again that human civilization is based on natural resources that the Earth has bestowed; and the Earth will not be able to continue to nourish people for generations to come if we do not take action now to protect biodiversity.

To commemorate this, on the morning of May 22, 2020, the Southern Institute of Ecology held a meeting with the students of Tran Hung Dao Secondary School, District 12, Ho Chi Minh City, on the role and importance of biodiversity and the responsibility of the community, raising awareness and finding solutions for rational, effective usage, saving natural resources and conserving biodiversity; at the same time introduce and share biodiversity conservation activities of the Southern Institute of Ecology.

Attendees included students, teachers and the Board of Directors of Tran Hung Dao Secondary School, the Division of Education and Training of District 12, the Yokohama Tyre Company, representatives of the Youth Union of Southern research institutes of the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, etc.

Before the meeting, the students admired the collection of beautiful butterflies in southern Vietnam in the hall.

Dr. Luu Hong Truong, Director of the Southern Institute of Ecology and a leading expert on Vietnamese botany, gave the opening speech and expected to connect with educational organizations in District 12 and Ho Chi Minh City to share the love of Viet Nam’s nature to younger generations.

Dr. Luu Hong Truong giving the opening speech.

Following that, Dr. Le Buu Thach, Deputy Director of Southern Institute of Ecology, presented the development of SIE. The scientists at the Institute conduct surveys throughout Vietnamese forests to research on plant and animal species, providing scientific information to develop effective biodiversity conservation programs. The SIE has published many international publications on new species of plants and animals for science, and rediscovered species thought to be extinct in the wild. SIE also cooperates with many prestigious international organizations on biodiversity to develop species conservation research projects in Vietnam.

Dr. Le Buu Thach presents the development of SIE

After his speech, Dr. Thach introduced Dr. Vu Ngoc Long, former Director of SIE and a scientist who has devoted over 30 years to biodiversity conservation. Dr. Long is respected by researchers of the SIE and many conservationists throughout Vietnam. Dr. Long emphasized the important role of biodiversity in improving Vietnamese livelihoods. He also shared his own concerns about biodiversity conservation in Vietnam. The atmosphere calmed as people listened to the sad story of the SIE staff’s tireless but unsuccessful efforts to protect Vietnam’s last freshwater crocodile in the Hinh River basin, Phu Yen province. But he expressed his excitement when he realized that the students were eager to ask more questions about biodiversity. He affirmed that it is the young generation that makes him believe in a bright future for all life forms of Vietnamese nature.

SIE’s scientists presented their works to conserve Vietnam’s biodiversity and some outstanding results of SIE: The Vietnamese endemic silver-backed chevrotain was recorded in the wild for the first time since 2004, new species of dragonfly have been discovered for science in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.

Scientists share their research activities

At the end, students were invited to visit the non-timber forest products exhibition: daily items and handicraft products associated with the cultural characteristics of indigenous people living in buffer area in special-use forests in southern provinces.

Exhibition of traditional handicraft products and NTFPs

The meeting ended with the promise of students to be more connected with conservation activities in Vietnam, and SIE will always welcome everybody to visit and learn about biological diversity.   

The Southern Institute of Ecology commemorate the International Day for Biological Diversity 2020

Article by The Youth Union of Southern Institute of Ecology.