Mendip Studio School students return from conservation expedition to Borneo

Three students from the Mendip Studio School have been causing headlines in Sarawak, on the island of Borneo, this summer where they have set up the Borneo’s first orchid propagation laboratory.

Seventeen year old, Jess Buckle explained; “Tallis, Chloe and I spent two weeks working with students at the MRSM School in Kuching, building the laboratory and training local school students the techniques needed to grow orchids from seed in test tubes.”

The three students are all part of the Writhlington and Mendip Studio School’s Orchid Project and are delighted to be able to apply their expertise to help conservation and education in Kuching, the capital of the Malaysian state of Sarawak. The joint project is sponsored by the Orchid Society of Sarawak and the Mendip Studio School expedition was funded by the Chief Minister of Sarawak.

Tallis Inger Flecker, aged 16, was delighted that the project is having a real impact across the community. “The official opening of the laboratory by Sarawak’s First Lady was on national television and we were in every newspaper. The project has really raised the profile of orchid conservation as well as giving school students new opportunities.”

Jess added; “Sarawak is an amazing place and the rainforest is astonishingly diverse. We were able to see so many remarkable animals including flying lizards, snakes, primates and bats as well as the orchid species we went to study.”

Mendip Studio School has funding from the British Council for a return visit to Kuching and in October twelve students will be travelling to Borneo to continue the work begun this summer.

(The featured picture above shows The Mendip Studio School team with students from the MRSM School)

Chloe McGiveron teaches Kuching school student propagation techniques in the new laboratory