When I was a first year student, I was taken to the ridge on a botanical practical designed by Wee Yeow Chin. It was one of several which introduced us to common plants of Singapore. Our guides could be lecturers, Sam from the SINU Herbaium or an honours student.
On my ridge walk, it was an honours student who fascinated us with the names, characteristics of plants on the ridge. As we learn about their ecology and biology, the green shade behind campus became individual plants and a familiar ecosystem we would recognise elsewhere.
This continues and this Friday, we take the LSM1103 Biodiversity students to the ridge. I will have keep an eye firmly on the weather radar for August thunderstorms as usual, but we are likely to be able to complete our walk.
In this version of the trail, students will walk from the Department of Biological Sciences where we will first conduct a plant tutorial to familiarise them with some 13 species from fresh specimens.
A little image icon on the practical schedule will help them sort the 13 species and students will brief each other about diagnostic features and characteristics.
Thereafter they will head out for their walk where they will realise the form of the plant and its appearance both near and far.
Along the way, they will realise Kent Ridge is part of Southern Ridges, the sea lies just beyond Pasir Panjang (a little further these days), view a portion of the southern islands, remember the Battle of Pasir Panjang (which they learn about in primary school these days), discover the short canopy walk which is great for viewing Tiup-Tiup, bats (at night) and Alexander Hill.
To complement this, I invite these Life Science students later in the year, to join me on a walk of the Southern Ridges.
Bukit Chandu, Telok Blangah Hill and Mount Faber are in the neighbourhood, but it may as well be a lifetime away for those without this spatial awareness.
So we have plans for short walks for the rest of campus too.
When I catch my breath!
For more about Kent Ridge heritage, see: Habitatnews.