PRYNSA unlocks students' potential
By Farah Ahmadnawi

The Princess Rashidah Young Nature Scientist Award (PRYNSA) is more than just a mere competition.

The experience and discipline gained from taking part in PRYNSA can boost Brunei students' competence to become science-based professionals in future, who will lead the country in expanding its conservation measures towards sustainable forest management.

This observation was made by Haji Saidin bin Salleh, the Director of Forestry and Chairman of the Organising Committee of PRYNSA 12, during an awards ceremony at Rizqun International Hotel yesterday afternoon.

According to him, PRYNSA also supports regional and international initiatives.

The scientific recommendations provided by Brunei's young scientists can be concrete information and basis in formulating the country's directions for the Heart of Borneo (HoB) initiatives, he said.

The comprehensive studies and research work done by students taking part in this competition have proved the rich biological diversities of Brunei's environment, said the Director of Forestry.

"These students can lead us in formulating proper conservation policies in line with our commitments of being a party to the Convention of Biological Diversity," he added.

The student projects for the PRYNSA 12 covered among other things, crawling creatures, cultivating exotic crops, wild plants, rice paddies and a recently-introduced new topic, "Behaviour of migratory birds".

SMJA students emerged as the first-place winners of the competition.

"We did not expect to win at all... as our other competitors have done equally well during their presentations so this is quite shocking for us," said Lim Chee Jin, a SMJA team member. "But we are grateful our hard work had paid off."

Another team member, Syahirunnisa Naziilah, meanwhile, talked about what the SMJA team hoped to raise awareness on.

"Communal roosting is very uncommon in Brunei," she said, adding that this was one of the reasons why they were highlighting the importance of conserving the mangroves.

Aside from the main cash prizes, all five teams each received a challenge trophy, individual trophies sponsored by Brunei Shell Petroleum, a laptop sponsored by HSBC, $50 start-up savings account and certificates of appreciation.

Towards the end of event, the five finalists who were selected out of 18 submissions for the PRYNSA 13 were announced. They are Chung Hwa Middle School, Seri Mulia Sarjana School, Chung Ching Middle School, Sayyidina Umar Al Khatab from Lumapas and Chung Hwa Middle School from Kuala Belait. - Borneo Bulletin (16th April 2010)