A group of students from Lihir Island, Namatanai district of New Ireland, have described their visit to the Port Moresby Nature Park as an “inspiring experience of a lifetime” after learning about the importance of conserving biodiversity in Papua New Guinea.
The year eight and nine students from Lihir International School, nine of whom are local Lihirians, recently participated in Nature Park’s curriculum-based school excursion program as part of a camping trip to Port Moresby and Kokopo.
The trip focused on various topics under the subjects Humanities and Social Sciences, and Making a Living.
Lihir International School is situated in the Londolovit township of Lihir and provides quality education for children from residential families working for Newcrest Mining, its business partners and community stakeholders.
“Our students loved how each exhibit mimicked the animals’ natural environment. They were also thankful that the Nature Park, in partnership with various stakeholders, is progressing with its Breeding for Sustainable Populations Program after learning that some species are critically endangered in the wild,” said their teacher, Ms Elizabeth Laien.
“The experience was meaningful because it inspired our students to continue performing and advocating sustainable conservation practices in their communities to preserve PNG’s unique flora and fauna,” added Ms Laien.
The Nature Park Education Manager, Ms Shirley Mogi, said Lihir International School was the first fly-in school this year to participate in the Park’s school excursion program.
“We have welcomed schools from different provinces, and it has always been a privilege for the team to deliver our message on conservation,” she added.
The students viewed iconic native animals such as the bird of paradise, tree kangaroos, cassowaries, reptiles, and parrots – some of which are endangered.
Newcrest Mining is supporting the Port Moresby Nature Park’s three different species of tree kangaroos including the endangered Matschie’s, Goodfellow’s and the vulnerable Doria’s tree kangaroos.
Under this partnership, Newcrest has provided K400, 000 to the Nature Park as part of a three-year program to construct a Tree Kangaroo Research and Rehabilitation Facility that will house up to 18 tree kangaroos.
The facility will enable conservation, research opportunities, and a Breed for Sustainable Tree Kangaroo Population Program.
“Safeguarding the future of our people is important and we must do that by protecting our biodiversity. Our partnership with Port Moresby Nature Park is part of that journey. It reflects our commitment to safety and sustainability in PNG and aligns with our strong biodiversity policy and management standard,” said Mr Stanley Komunt, Newcrest Country (PNG) Manager.
Furthermore, he said Newcrest’s biodiversity policy aligns with the International Council on Mining Metals and World Gold Council requirements and outlines the company’s commitments to protect and manage biodiversity values related to Newcrest operations.