Bucket Science Symposium 2015 – “Science is Magic!”

The MW5202 class of 2015 present their projects at the Singapore Science Centre in a bucket science symposium, which is a tradition of the module – 2014 [webpage, photos], 2013 [webpage, photos].

This year the class used weekly for their symposium webpage, as it provides a better webpage feel. You can see the programme there: scienceismagic2015.weebly.com.

The MW5202-2015 class began preparation on 18 Mar 2015, and had carried out a Wired Symposium exercise by then, and would develop their personal demos over the next few weeks. Andreas Dewanto and myself will observe and grade this final assessment of the class.

It’s a long way since preparations and the chatter on What’s App was voluminous! They have begubn to turn away registrants as the Mendel Auditorium is full. I am looking forward to an entertaining day at the Science Centre for the audience!

2015 03 18 20 22 4819 mw5202 2015symposium prep2


Recalling a wonderful thing which happened last year – students wow the audience at the Evening of Biodiversity II

The mammal seniors of Otterman Holt did well that evening and the crowd amazed us – 400 turned up (we maxed out parking) within a week of the announcement and enjoyed heartening talks of great clarity and pace.

When I ended the Evening of Biodiversity II with a “Aren’t they lovely?”, Prab Nathan positioned behind the table, caught the audience applauding, nice work!

While searching for photos of teaching, I finally really examined this photo. Wow, we did this last April?

Adrian Loo aka Lekowala was front and centre, of course, just in front of the projector. He gave each one of them his palm guidebook, a lovely gesture and a hat tip to a 14-year old idea of the Toddycat and the Palm Leaf.

That logo was prepared for when we launched the Public Gallery of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research on 15th June 2001. Fourteen years later and its soon time to launch the new building of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum!

2014 04 16 21 03 12 evebiod prab

The Evening of Biodiversity II (16 Apr 2014) featured talks by Amanda Tan, Chloe Tan, Marcus Chua, Meryl Theng, Fung Tze Kwan & Xu Weiting of the Otterman Holt, Department of Biological Sciences, NUS. Hosted by N. Sivasothi aka Otterman.

Announcement on Otterman speaks. Storify by Ivan Kwan. Photos by Prhabagaran s/o Ramanathan.

The first session in 2010 featured Andie Ang, Marcus Chua, Xu Weiting and Chua Yi Teng. Photos from the Evening of Biodiversity I (16 Apr 2010) are on Flickr.

I guess we’ll do this once in four years? 2018 then!

My research students 2014 04 16 21 24 53 evebiod Prab Nathan

Our nature reserves and their buffer parks

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (163ha, 1883)

BTNR buffer and nearby parks
Map from OneMap.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve (?2,880ha)

  • Springleaf Nature Park (6 ha, opened 01 Nov 2014)
  • Chestnut Nature Park (80ha, announced 16 May 2012; completion 2015)
  • Windsor Nature Park (75ha, announced 14 Feb 2015; completion 2016)
  • Thomson Nature Park (planing stage)
Windsor NP and other buffers map
Map from NParks

Vote for Singapore’s National Butterfly!

Hop over to nationalbutterfly.org.sg to vote for your choice from the six nominees by end-April.

National Butterfly voting competition

The Nature Society (Singapore) campaign webpage states:

“The main component to the campaign will be the vote to select our National Butterfly. Singaporeans and Permanent Residents will be given the opportunity to choose their National Butterfly – one which best represents the spirit of Singapore! Six species have been shortlisted by a panel of experts for the public to vote on.

Singapore National Butterfly

We perceive that the National Butterfly will be an ICON for butterflies of Singapore. It will also serve as a voice for other lesser studied but important insects like bees and beetles that share the same habitat and contribute towards our environment.”

Mingko likes the common rose because it bears the national colours and many of us love the painted jezebel, which looks like a water colour painting, and reasonably common and thus accessible. It is doing well after the dry period and exceptionally so this year. Everyone in Singapore should know this butterfly.

I myself voted for the black and white Idea (common tree nymph) because this is a lovely denizen of our precious forests and seems to float like cloud in the dappled groves of our nature reserves. I first met Idea during an undergraduate field trip and have been enchanted ever since.

If you are a teacher, the webpage hosts a powerpoint resource pack you can download to provide students with some appreciation for butterflies in Singapore.

NSS National Butterfly Voting
Photos by Tea Yi Kai.

A message to the biodiversity community about our Chief Gardener

Lena Chan wrote us yesterday,

The late Mr Lee Kuan Yew had always been a strong supporter of biodiversity conservation.  

On 16 June 1963, Mr Lee planted the first tree that on 16 June 1963 that launched the implementation of his vision of a Garden City. The Garden City has now evolved to a City in A Garden.  The intensive tree-planting along our streetscape formed the green infrastructural backbone of Singapore, enabling us to build on green connectivity.  

In 1982, his interest resulted in an ambitious programme to halt the decline in the bird population of Singapore, popularly perceived as the project to “bring back the birds” to Singapore. Today, the conservation status of many of the birds that were thought to be threatened around thirty years ago, has improved.  

NParks is, indeed, most grateful for the unwavering championing of Mr Lee for greenery and biodiversity conservation.

The Singapore Botanic Gardens is one of the Community Site for Remembering Mr Lee Kuan Yew.  It is located at the SBG Function Hall. This Community Site has been opened since Tuesday 24 March 2015 from 8.30 am to 9 pm.  You can view the orchid named after Mr Lee Kuan Yew, i.e., Aranda Lee Kuan Yew, at the SBG Community Site. You still have today, Saturday and Sunday to pay your respects to Mr Lee and pen your condolences.

We will miss the Chief Gardener of Singapore and a stalwart champion for biodiversity conservation.

Kind regards to all.


Dr. Lena Chan
Director (National Biodiversity Centre)
National Parks Board