Indonesia Expedition 2017

Sir John Deane’s students have returned from a once in a lifetime conservation expedition, which took them to some of Indonesia’s most remote habitats.

More than 30 students and teachers travelled 8,000 miles to collect vital scientific data with Operation Wallacea, which has worked for 20 years to ensure the planet’s most vulnerable terrestrial and marine species are protected and preserved.

Students worked alongside expert scientists, helping them to collect data and learn more about the unique endemism of the island.

The expedition began in Buton Island, in the Sulawesi region, where students had the opportunity to stay with local families in their homes before enduring a gruelling five hour trek to the remote jungle camp.

They then had to trek for three hours, twice a day and sometimes at night, to collect data on organisms in the jungle including amphibians, reptiles, large animals, butterflies and birds, which will contribute to scientific articles published in peer review journals and, potentially, the discovery of a new species.

Students also participated in a habitat survey, which involved assessing the rate of deforestation in the forest, collecting data which is used to provide vital funds to protect the forest from being illegally logged.

Julie Stevens, biology teacher at Sir John Deane’s who led the expedition, said: “Protecting the forest in this area of Indonesia is especially important as there are many species which are found nowhere else in the world and are under constant threat of extinction.

“Our students were able to use their A level knowledge and apply their understanding to why there is such high endemism here and why the different species are adapted to different habitats, giving them a real life context for the concepts they have learnt in the classroom.”

After more than a week in the rainforest, the students travelled to Bau Bau, the centre of one of the most diverse reef systems in the world, where they will learn to dive and learn more about reef ecology. They became qualified scuba divers, which allowed them collect data on species of coral, fish and invertebrates that were present on the reef.

Julie added: “This expedition gave our students a once in a lifetime opportunity. They have seen parts of the world that not many people will ever see, they expanded their knowledge and understanding of science geography and conservation, made friendships that will last a lifetime and learnt about the culture and traditions of the Indonesian people.

“They were pushed and stretched to their limits and every single one of them came back a stronger, more well-rounded young person, who we are incredibly proud of. The only question that remains... where will we venture to next?!"

 Indonesia Expedition Gallery