Our story

As an independent, interdisciplinary collective for urban ecology research, conservation and environmental education, our aims are to:

  1. Shape community through narrative. To identify, challenge and change society’s mindsets of, and relationship with, nature. We employ an interdisciplinary approach combining the ecological sciences, social sciences and humanities.
  2. Shape narrative through community. To redeem the vocation of science and conservation by creating space for participatory research and citizen science. We encourage a healthy volunteer ecosystem from recruitment, through growth, to deployment.
  3. Revive institutional resource. To promote and strengthen institutions and institutional links towards place-based urban nature conservation and education. We actively and creatively find ways to revitalise and reactivate the utility of legacy resources.

UBI’s recent history dates back to 2014, beginning life as the Rimba Project, a Living Lab for campus sustainability and urban biodiversity conservation at the University of Malaya (UM). Our partners and collaborators, past and present, include:

While, like our namesake (ubi = tuber, corm), we are an extension of the Rimba Project, the roots of UBI (no pun intended) in fact go much deeper and further back…

Our founding partners

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Thary Gazi Goh and Benjamin Ong started out as children exploring their backyards of Shah Alam and Cheras, respectively. They met in 2007 as undergraduates in Universiti Malaya’s Ecology & Biodiversity programme. With over a decade of education and nature interpretation experience, they are excited about guiding a new generation of Backyard Explorers into some of Malaysia’s oldest and most well-established botanical and zoological resources.

Like exploring nature? So do we. And we believe there are adventures to be had, right down our doorsteps. We invite you to join us as we explore our urban wilderness together.

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This is the drain where Benjamin discovered his first tadpoles. Stare long enough and you see a mighty river flanked by two majestic canyon walls, with forests peeking out over the waters. It’s all a matter of perspective!

Our profile

UBI is managed by UBI Services, a social enterprise established and registered under the Companies Commission of Malaysia.

Find out more about our core team and partners at these links, plus media and resources that chart our journey and portfolio over the last few years.