Managing partner / lead instructor

THARY GAZI GOH is an entomologist, conservationist and wildlife educator with a master’s degree in forensic entomology from the University of Malaya, he is currently completing his PhD thesis on the ecological relationship between the scarabs and elephants of Peninsular Malaysia. An experienced field worker that knows his way around the jungle, his penchant for exploration has brought him from the humid forests of Malaysia to as far as the frigid islands of Antarctica. With over 10 years of experience working with the University of Malaya Museum of Zoology, he is full of insights into the hidden world of Malaysian fauna. Always keen to work outside of his field, he teaches machine learning and programming to postgraduate students, has graduated from the Genovasi Design Thinking Ambassador program, participated in social science conferences, worked with a start-up in the MaGIC Social Enterprise Accelerator program and helped with the proposal writing and strategic planning for charity NGOs.

Team members / instructors

SITI SYUHADA SAPNO holds a Bachelor of Science (Ecology & Biodiversity) and is now embarking on a new journey in her master’s degree in the world of Performing Arts (Drama) at the Cultural Centre, University of Malaya. Many asked why she switched her course but to her, she’s merely continuing where she left off. She was inspired by the Asian Student Environmental Platform, an exchange programme in Hokkaido, Japan, in 2016 where the focus was on indigenous knowledge in conserving biodiversity. She is now researching the use of theatre as a platform to increase awareness regarding environmental issues on Orang Asli through their folktales. P/s: she loves frogs.

SELAM SOLOMON is a final-year ecology student. She credits genuine curiosity and storytelling for helping her understand the culturally diverse environment she grew up in and is now set on applying them to ecology. After a few years of teaching, translating and editing in Jeddah, she moved to Malaysia to study marine and forest ecosystems. Fascinated with ingenuity in the natural world and in the individuals who dedicate their lives to studying it, she now writes (as she learns) to share the superb science of these worlds.


Ecologist by training and explorer at heart, BENJAMIN ONG is the founder of the Rimba Project, an urban biodiversity conservation programme based at the Rimba Ilmu Botanic Garden, University of Malaya. In 2016, he was awarded a Chevening-CIMB scholarship to study Sustainable Development at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. There, he won the Chevening Green Volunteer of the Year award for his work with Transition University of St Andrews. He is the author of The Backyard Before You, among other written and visual works. He is UBI’s co-founder and served as operations director from December 2018 through September 2019.

As a qualified pharmacist involved in urban biodiversity conservation and education while completing a postgraduate degree in literary studies of the environment, VANESSA TING regards her varied background as having taught her the value of different perspectives. Her early experience in rural healthcare in interior Sarawak led to an awareness of local identities and the human-environment relationship. Her research interests range from environmental history, ethnobotany and place narratives. Her nature articles and poems can be found online and in print. She served as UBI’s health & safety overseer from December 2018 through August 2019.