Our partner from Lake Poso, Institut Mosintuwu, in cooperation with the Celebica organization (whose representative Diky Dwiyanto was with us on the expedition to the rivers and lakes of Sulawesi in 2022) organized on 6-8. March 2024 another event for local schools. The students of SMAN 1 Pamona Utara participated in a seminar on single-use plastics and not only saw the unique biodiversity of the lake in the presentation and in the exhibition aquariums, but some went directly to the water to see it! This direct contact with nature is irreplaceable and we are very happy to support these activities and be a part of them.

We are extremely grateful to our donors – these reports and photos are sure to warm your heart. This is the hope for a better future for Sulawesi lakes.

Our friend Eko from Institut Mosintuwu tells how the activities went:

“The first place we visited was the Saluopa River. There we caught halfbeaks (Nomorhamphus celebensis), several types of snails (Tylomelania spp.) and crabs. The students were very happy, some of them even took the initiative to collect crabs and snails. After collecting the animals, I presented the individual species and then explained their function in nature, the current state of conservation and why this aquatic biota must be preserved. Students said it was their first experience learning about species diversity and conservation efforts.

The next spot was still in the Saluopa River, we moved about 300 meters down and fished for shrimp. At this point, I gave them a simple lesson, which was to practice species identification using the manual "Shrimps of Lake Poso and Surrounding Rivers" created by Diky Dwiyanto, which is easy for students to understand. The shrimp Caridina acutirostris was identified. This shrimp is found in leaves fallen into the river.

We then went to Lake Poso where we collected snails (Tylomelania toradjarum, Tylomelania centaurus, Tylomelania kuli, Celetaia persculpta), clams Corbicula possoensis, crabs Sundathelphusa molluscivora and shrimp Caridina longidigita. Students seemed to understand how to identify shrimp based on morphological characteristics. We found Caridina longidigita shrimp on the roots of trees hanging down to the water. We took some animals with us and upon our return we immediately put them in the aquarium and prepared the exhibition. There were also photographs, books and magazines for visitors to read.

The total number of visitors was around 80. Visitors asked a lot of questions, for example: What is the difference between Anasa (halfbeak) and Rono (ricefish)? Why did foreign scientists start exploring Lake Poso first? Why do eels have to spawn in the sea? How many species of fish are endemic? Why are carp not endemic? … and many other questions. Some visitors also took photos and videos while asking about the specific species, where it is found and whether it is edible.”

Subsequently, there was a seminar on biodiversity, where Diky Dwiyanto spoke about the endemic shrimps of Lake Poso and invited students to participate in mapping them using the iNaturalist mobile application. Eko (Kurniawan Bandjolu) then presented various representatives of biodiversity from fish to endemic plants found around the lake.

The final activity was a seminar on single-use plastics and waste management. Students received useful tips on how to personally contribute to improving the situation with ubiquitous plastics on the street and elsewhere…

Markéta Rejlková & Kurniawan P. Bandjolu