Teaching a group of dedicated entomologists in Madang Province, Papua New Guinea
The botany lab, Binatang Research Centre
Photographer: Celia Symonds © University of New South Wales
My engagement with the wonderful people of Papua New Guinea has continued (see part one). To recap: I'm a beetle expert involved with a team from University of New South Wales in a project funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, to develop a new generation of entomologists in Papua New Guinea.
A few weeks ago in June, five of us (myself from Australian Museum Research Institute, Gerry Cassis, Wendy Shaw & Celia Symonds from UNSW, and Grahame Jackson, a consultant) trekked off to the north coast of New Guinea in Madang Province, where a Czech entomologist, Vojtech Novotny, has been researching rainforest diversity for the last 20 years. His base, the Binatang Research Centre, perched on the edge of a pristine sea, became our classroom for a week. How can you beat sitting on a verandah watching dolphins sail past?
But I wanted to see some rainforest! Before the course began, Celia and I managed to escape to the local forest reserve, where we photographed cool weevils and met a flock of hornbills.
For the course, our partners in PNG, the National Agricultural Research Institute, yet again provided a great mix of 17 ‘students’, from many different organisations, including Agriculture, Forestry, Quarantine, particular Crop concerns and the host facility itself.
We taught collecting methods, insect anatomy, collection curation, making a herbarium, insect identification, pest recognition and macrophotography of specimens, using the material collected by the participants. Once again there was a great deal of enthusiasm and once again we all felt we weren’t there long enough.
Dr Chris Reid
Principal Research Scientist
On behalf of my colleagues, Id like to thank all the participants and the staff at Binatang for a most enjoyable week’s teaching and I thank Bradley and the people of Baitabag for letting me visit their forest.