Shell Malaysia and the Sabah Journalists Association (SJA), two longstanding partners in the annual Kinabalu-Shell Press Awards, this year brought the partnership to a new level when they decided to support an environmental conservation and leadership programme by an international non-profit organisation the Southeast Asian Service Leadership Network (SEALNet) in collaboration with the Sabab Wetlands Conservatiøn Society at the Kota Kinabalu Wetland Centre (KKWC) in Likas here. Shell contributed RM20,000 towards the programme, known as ‘Environmental Awareness In Action’, which will witness 20 American college students interacting with 30 local high school students ma two-week long project at KKWC - a 24-hectare area of mangrove forest which is home to native as well as migratory birds, mangrove crabs and fish. Mr. George Ling, General Manager and Director, Sabah Shell Petroleum Co Ltd, handed over the contribution to the partners - JA President Datuk Joniston Bangkuai, SEALNet Project Leader Mr Wesley Koo and Sabah Wetlands Conservation Society President Datuk Seri Tengku Zainal Adlin in the presence of Tourism, Culture and Environment’ Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun following a courtesy call to brief him on the project. Masidi praised the four partnering organizations for coming together to advocate such a worthwhile project. He added that SEALNet had come to the right place in learning about wetlands conservation efforts as Sabah has two-thirds of the country’s wetlands reserve. “Environmental conservation is everyone’s responsibility and I am happy to see that’ a corporate organization like Shell Malaysia remains committed to this cause,” he enthused. Speaking after the same ceremony, Mr Ling said Shell was happy to be part of this environmental leadership programme. “This is a very commendable effort as it involves the younger generation who will inherit mother nature in the future. Our support reflects our conscious and responsible stand with regards to the sustainable development agenda.” Joniston said the programme fitted very well as a community support project organized in conjunction with the Kinabalu Shell Press Awards this year. “We hope that this programme will further raise public awareness of the importance of our mangrove wetlands and hopefully increase public involvement in wetlands protection,” he added. Wesley hoped that the hands- on experience would act as a capacity building opportunity with the view to impart valuable leadership skills to help participants establish their own sustainable community service projects in the future. In matching the green words with green action, the programme’s participants along with SJA members, Shell and KKWC representatives will plant 100 mangrove tree seedlings as a physical reminder of their commitment towards mangrove conservation at KKWC. Masidi will lead the mangrove tree planting and gotong royong exercise scheduled for June 8, which also marks the final day of the programme.