Jakarta – BRIN Public Relations. Cheerful and enthusiastic faces radiated from students of the Nurul Bahjah Kindergarten, Cipanas. That day, they were playing while learning, getting to know types of plants at BRIN’s Cibodas Botanical Garden (KRC).

The Nurul Bahjah Kindergarten is one of ten kindergartens participating in the BEKAL KAYA learning program, an acronym for Learning Nature Conservation of Indonesian Botanical Gardens. BEKAL KAYA has become the means of environmental education to provide students with an understanding of the importance of plant conservation and preservation of the environment.

“The BEKAL RICH for kindergarten and primary school students has the purpose to make them more concerned about plants. We introduce seeds, colors, leaves, fruit, and so on to them, thereby triggering their enthusiasm to know the environment,” said Head of BRIN’s Cibodas Botanical Garden Office, Fitri Kurniawati, Thursday ( 17/03).

Fitri said, BEKAL KAYA is a series of activities to commemorate the anniversary of BRIN KRC which will be 170 years old next April 11.

The BEKAL KAYA program, said Fitri, has been carried out for a week since 7 March, targeting 500 public Kindergarten, Al Quran Kindergarten (TKQ) and Raudhotul Athfal (RA) students.

Prior to the integration of research, development, study, and application (litbangjirap) institutions into BRIN, KRC had carried out similar activities through the Environmental Introduction Education activities carried out by LIPI. After transforming into BRIN, the BEKAL KAYA activity is expected to continue the environmental education programs from kindergarten to university level.

“Actually, this is not the first time we carry out programs similar to the BEKAL KAYA at KRC. Before the formation of BRIN, we carried out environmental education programs under the name Pepeling (Environmental Introduction Education),” said Fitri.

“For kindergarten and elementary schools, we package the program in the form of introducing plants only, and for junior high school to university students, we adjust the program to the curriculum, for example specifically studying moss or carrion flowers,” she explained.

Fitri asserted that the BEKAL KAYA program will continue in the future, targeting primarily schools around KRC. It is possible however that this program can target students from other regions.

“Previously, we also provided education outside the KRC area, such as Bandung and Tangerang. We hope that this BEKAL KAYA program can be followed by students in other areas, while taking precaution of the situation of the Covid-19 pandemic, ” she said.

Dyah R. Sugiyanto, Coordinator of Public Communication – Bureau of Public Communication, General Affairs, and Secretariat of BRIN shared Fitri’s view, adding that BEKAL KAYA is the new brand for environmental education activities that had been carried out by botanical gardens previously. “I hope that with this new program, the platform of BRIN botanical garden environmental education will be one of public service innovations, which can later be applied to all botanical gardens in Indonesia,” she explained.

Dyah further explained, BRIN Public Relations which serves 4 botanical garden areas (Bogor, Cibodas, Purwodadi, and Bali) has the role as the facilitator of public communication in this program. “In the Bogor Botanical Garden, this program was previously known as Wisata Flora, Pepeling in the Cibodas Botanical Garden, Proling in the Bali Botanical Garden, and Pendidikan Lingkungan (Environmental Education) in the Purwodadi Botanical Garden. Now the environmental education program at botanical gardens has the same name (BEKAL KAYA), one name, no longer different,” she explained.

Acting Head of BRIN’s Plant Conservation, Botanical Gardens and Forestry Research Center, Achmad Fathoni said, BRIN also carries out the function of developing Regional Botanical Gardens (KR) by conducting studies and producing recommendations.

He explained that apart from KRs which are managed by BRIN, there are 41 other Regional Botanical Gardens in Indonesia, “37 KR managed by Regional Governments, 3 KR by Universities, and 1 KR managed by the private sector,” he said.

Coordinator of the Kindergarten and Elementary Schools Education in Cipanas District, Dadan Sudana, welcomed the BEKAL KAYA program, which, according to him, is the implementation of the Merdeka Learning curriculum.

“Students do not only study in the room, but rather explore their interests and talents through direct activities, so that it becomes a valuable experience for them to love the environment from an early age,” said Dadan (tnt/ed: drs).