Time to stop talking, soon

Preparing for a talk always involves some stress but eventually is rewarding. I get to put my thoughts (and slides) together and eventually some parts do come in useful some other time. Also the motivation is public education, which I have much less time to address these days and at least I get to address that a little.

Since this invariably involves last minute preparations in the taxi ride to the venue, each outreach effort always includes the taxi driver!

After tomorrow’s International Coastal Cleanup workshop, I will shut this all down in order to prepare for the coming semester’s lectures. Semester 1 (Aug-Dec) is coming and will be mad. The admin onslaught has already begun. So during the semester, I concentrate on the undergraduate lectures and avoid all requests.

Well, my tally of talks this half of the year is:

  1. “Zoological Explorations in Singapore” (ver 1.5). Green Drinks Singapore, 27 Jan 2011.
  2. “Zoological Explorations in Singapore” (ver 2). Republic Polytechnic 7th Scientific Thinking Programme, 25 Feb 2011.
  3. “Stories that inspire people”. BBC Knowledge’s launch of BBC Earth, 14 Apr 2011.
  4. “Biodiversity in Singapore: What’s left in our forests?”. NJC Green Symposium: Forest for Life, 19 Apr 2011.
  5. “Blogs, Walks & Talks – enhancing communication to promote learning.” Educamp Singapore 2, Thu 21 Apr 2011.
  6. “Using Google Docs and Maps in the university classroom: collaboration,spatial awareness, administration and research.” Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of Life Science and Chemical Technology, 12 May 2011.
  7. “Otterman’s Adventures in the Mud.” Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve’s World Environment Day celebrations, 04 Jun 2011.
  8. “Volunteering for the Environment.” National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre SG Cares Volunteer Training (Environment), 01 Jul 2011
  9. “Biodiversity in Singapore: Hidden treasures and the influence of the urban citizen.” ITE Eco Conference 2011, Fri 08 Jul 2011.
  10. Intenational Coastal Cleanup Singapore Annual Workshop for Organisers. Sat 09 ul 2011

Besides the ICCS Annual Briefing on Sat 27 Aug 2011, I am done. This year I did a couple in January and February but those were re-worked versions of the previous year’s TedxNUS talk so it was not too bad. I still suffered but it was not too bad (notice I seem to be reassuring myself).

Well, it’s time to share the pain – my research students are supposed to give private seminars and a public talk in an evening of biodiversity. This will kick off in late July.

I am supposed to train them but there are so many this year so thankfully, their seniors have been reviewing their first runs. They will present private seminars to managers in NParks at Ubin and Buloh and to Wetlands Reserves Singapore staff and perhaps even to AVA this year, between late July to early August.

  1. “Species diversity and recruitment of mangrove brachyuran crabs in western Sungei Mandai Besar mangrove” by Lee Bee Yan.
  2. “Population status of the common water monitor (Varanus salvator) in Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve” by Kenneth Tan.
  3. “Status, distribution and diet of the smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata)” by Meryl Theng.
  4. “The population of the red jungle fowl (Gallus gallus) in a forest fragment in Bukit Batok” by Amanda Tan.
  5. “The diet of the common palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus), in urban and forested environments” by Fung Tze Kwan.
  6. “Peak activity and home range of community cats (Felis catus) in a mature TNRM estate” by Mei Ailian.

By the time we arrange for the public talk, they would have gone at least two rounds with others and should put on a decent show. I will be taking copious notes and debriefing them. I do hope some of them will translate that experience and go on to contribute to public education in future in some way.

Last year’s honours student, civetgirl Xu Weiting, paid her dues in a similar manner last year at the Evening of Biodiversity. She did well that night and now that she’s working with me in the department, is talking on speaking gigs as well. She carried off her first ICCS gig in early June and tomorrow will relief me of the “Marine Life in Singapore” section for the ICCS Workshop; I will just need to tackle the other five components.

Well, before I think of my freedom and my research students’ suffering, I’d best prepare for tomorrow. Just one more night of pain and suffering!

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