A total of five students from the Department of Aquatic Resources Management (MSP), Faculty of Fisheries and Marine Sciences, IPB became the Indonesian representative team in the 2021 STEP Environment Camp activity. They were Jeny Amanda Huwae, Anggun Fatinah Zahro Bunedi, Fariz Fadila Alam, Muhammad Afif, and Putri Nur Auzaliana. STEP Environment Camp 2021 is a 5-day virtual program organized by the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Temasek Foundation for youth from Singapore and Asia. Activities in STEP Environment focus on Climate Change and Sustainability with this year’s theme is Biodiversity Conservation. This activity is very good for students to participate in, especially MSP students who are indeed engaged in the environment, because it can enrich their knowledge regarding the environment both on land and water in Asia, as well as open networking opportunities with fellow youths in Asia.

The implementation of the STEP Environment Camp 2021 series of activities this time was attended by youth from 10 countries including Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Philippines, Myanmar, and China. The series of activities will be held on November 15-19, 2021. The activities are divided into two sessions each day, namely the first session from 09.00-11.00 WIB and the second session from 13.00-16.00. In general, the five-day camp activity consisted of lecture sessions through the delivery of material from four speakers from several countries related to Biodiversity Conservation, followed by three workshops on sampling, processing and presenting research data, virtual field trips, project implementation, and a youth symposium.

Student representatives from IPB University became a group with participants from Catholic Junior College, Singapore. Each group makes a project and the title of the project presented by the Indonesia-Singapore group is How has the habitat of otter species evolved over the years in both Singapore and Indonesia?. The project was presented at the end of this camp.

On the first day of the STEP Environment Camp 2021 series, there were several remarks from the organizers delivered at the first session of the first day, including remarks from Mr. Alvin Tan who is the Minister of the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, and the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Singapore. The speech was delivered at the same time as opening a series of activities for STEP Environment Camp 2021. The activity continued with the delivery of material by Keynote Speakers from Indonesia regarding Coral Reef Restoration Practices in Indonesia, which was delivered by Dr. Tries Blandine Razak. In the second session, participants underwent the Singapore Virtual Tour followed by several games. After that, participants were directed to undergo a virtual field trip in Windsor Nature Park which is a tropical rain forest ecosystem and continued with a discussion session with small groups regarding project preparation for the youth symposium on the fifth day of the 2021 SEC series of activities.

On the second day, 16 November 2021, there was a presentation by Professor Gopalasamy Reuben Clements from Malaysia about Kenyir For Life: Saving the Malayan Tiger and more, for Life and continued with an Introduction to Field Sampling Workshop by Dr Bee Yan Lee from St. John’s Island National Marine Laboratory, Singapore. The afternoon was followed by a virtual field trip to the mangrove habitat in the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Singapore and working on a collaborative project for youth representatives from Indonesia and Singapore. The next day, Prof. Daniel Friess from Singapore delivered material on The State of ASEAN’s Mangrove Forests. After that, there was a workshop on Using Statistical Tools to Tell a Story by Dr Yan Xiang Ow from Singapore and a virtual field trip to coastal habitats in St. John’s Island, Singapore, and closed by continuing to work on a collaborative project.

On the fourth day, Dr Jose Christopher E. Mendoza from the Lee Kong Chian National History Museum, National University of Singapore delivered material on Deep Thoughts: Marine Biodiversity Expeditions in Southeast Asia and continued with a workshop entitled Communicating Science by Dr Nicholas Yap. In the afternoon, there was a virtual visit to the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum and preparations for a presentation at the symposium the next day. On the last day, November 19, 2021, a youth symposium was held containing the presentation of the results of projects that have been carried out over the last five days. Furthermore, there was an Environmental Stewards Panel Discussion by youth from representatives of several countries in Asia.

Muhammad Afif, as one of the 2021 SEC participants conveyed his impression after participating in this activity. “As the only delegate from Indonesia, of course there is a sense of pride to be able to represent Indonesia to participate in this series of SEC 2021 activities. We gained various knowledge and new things during this series of activities. Moreover, we got knowledge about biodiversity conservation in Southeast Asia from several sources who gave lectures. We also feel very happy to be able to exchange ideas and viewpoints with participants from other countries. The knowledge that participants gain is expected to be a driving force for participants to be more concerned and implement environmental conservation activities in order to maintain environmental biodiversity from an early age. We hope to apply the knowledge gained in order to increase environmental awareness regarding biodiversity and conservation, especially in Indonesia,” said Afif.

This activity is quite dense, draining energy, but still fun. The benefits are many. In addition to adding skills to foreign languages ​​and being able to communicate with people from various countries, the main thing is the creation of communication links and networks between representatives of young people in Asia who are expected to work together in protecting biodiversity and the environment. Hopefully next year IPB University will still have the opportunity to send representatives to the SEC Environment Camp so that the message of environmental sustainability and youth cooperation between countries can continue to be established, said Anggun, one of the SEC participants.