Indoor Ecosystem?

We’ve been in Singapore for two weeks and tomorrow my mom and I are going to Borneo for a few days! I’m going to a center named Camp Leakey, which is the largest orangutan center in the world. It’s the orangutan center which was in the IMAX film, Born To Be Wild.

I’ve done five presentations to various schools in the past two weeks about the endangered orangutans and the destruction of the rainforest and reached 320 more people. I also created a pledge on my website. Check it out here.

Last week, we visited the new botanical gardens in Singapore, or the “Gardens By The Bay.” We went inside one of the “conservatories” called the “cloud forest” and I was amazed. In two different ways.

The first was, “wow. They cut down rainforest to build their city, and then they build a man-made island, put a giant cement box, and planted a new “rainforest” there!? What?”

*See credit below

But it was also really cool. There was a mountain in the middle of the conservatory and plants planted all the way up it. There were not actually that many plants but it felt like a lot. The glass dome must have been air conditioned and there were waterfalls and rivers and ponds inside to humidify the air. At exactly 2 o’clock, the room started misting, fogging up the dome, but didn’t quite make clouds. I noticed that some of the trees seemed a bit unhappy.. and then I started dwelling on this interesting question: What would it take to create an ecosystem inside a glass dome that rained, or snowed, or hailed, or made rainbows?

I decided the key ingredients would be:

  • Adjustable pressure
  • Wind currents of adjustable temperatures
  • Water sources
  • Adjustable sunlight/temperature
  • Plants and animals
  • Good soil

Tomorrow, I’m going to go to the real rainforest. I’ll be trekking in Borneo! I’m armed with lots of SD cards and charged batteries, To Kill A Mockingbird, and leech socks! I’ll take a ton of pictures and post when I get back.

*By Allie Caulfield. [CC-BY-2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons


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