Jungle Survival at John Glyn Lecture

The latest John Glyn Scholars’ Society lecture took a turn for the wild as environmental campaigner Yara Ghrewati enthralled the audience with stories of her experiences in the jungles of Borneo and Indonesia.

Leila (Year 9) reviewed the talk:

‘Life begins at the end of your comfort zone’ – Neal Donal Walsch 

“This talk was very inspiring. The speaker, Yara, had lived in many different extreme climates such as tropical rainforests and even deserts but this talk was about her times in the jungle: her times spent with various tribes, her time spent helping orangutans, the rainforest ‘alarm clock’ of cicadas. In a rapidly changing world I think this talk was much needed to inspire people and show people that they can do things like live in the jungle for six months, they can build a shelter for orangutans with absolutely no previous experience.

“As I listened to this talk I had just been on Year 9 outdoor pursuits, which aims to connect students with nature and I could very much relate to the images of the mud and especially when it was caked on her boots! There were facts and figures surrounding her talk, statistics showing how the number of orangutans has gone down so drastically (50%) in the last seven years. However, she did give a message of hope saying that loggers weren’t bad people, they are just people stuck in this system that revolves around money. And systems can change. When I left the talk I was thinking about the things she had said (cool things: glow-in-the-dark fungus that always faces East), and thought-provoking things: the forest, the jungle, changing her perception of what reality is.”  

Colfe’s was delighted to welcome pupils from Bonus Pastor Catholic College to the lecture alongside our own pupils. One of our young visitors, Jude (Year 7), gave some equally enthusiastic feedback on the talk:

“It was cool, interesting and really fascinating. Yara told us what she did in the rainforest, building orangutang homes, living there, trekking through muddy water, doing so many things to survive and, on the way, meeting four tribes…   We watched a slideshow of what they lived through. She told us that nature changed her life course and sent her through a new adventurous one. She told us that the woods are actually really good for our hygiene and health because it keeps us alive and shows us what the real world is about.  This actually made me want to go out into the world. She also told us that to do what we want we have to leave our comfort zone and get to our aim. It was actually really cool because she showed us what you have to do and if you’re in trouble or in a sticky situation, you have to sort it out yourself and live it through. It was also disgusting because she showed us images of leeches, leech bites, spider, creepy crawlies and mud coming up to your leg! It was so weird but so amazing. I’m glad I got to go.”

Yara Ghrewati is an environmental campaigner for tree conservation and forest regeneration. She first discovered survival skills whilst spending time with the remote Mentawai Tribe in Indonesia and the Kelabit and Penan cultures in Borneo. She has explored the ways in which modern lifestyles are contributing to the destruction of rainforest habitats and the indigenous people that inhabit them. She also works to raise awareness of the importance of trees and the benefits of connecting with the natural world.



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