After a one year hiatus due to works on the coast, it was great to be back on Changi Beach with the NUS first year students reading LSM1103 Biodiversity.
You can see Full-Time TA Amanda Tan Hui-Ning on beach patrol at Changi beach last Friday. She is in high visibility gear – red jersey and yellow cap, so TAs and myself can see her clearly.
As FTTA she coordinates the movement of 10 groups on the beach and straits, and ensures there is enough time for everyone at the seine. She drops in on groups to keep an eye on handling techniques, reminding students to be safe or sensitive as needed. We intrude on scorpion fish, jelly fish, stone fish and what not – so hand nets when handling fauna.
Lab Officer Morgany T and myself provide backup, and the other FTTA Xu Weiting can be recalled from her group in an emergency.
Over the years, we have had to abandon the beach once – due to a storm. I recall tracking the storm cloud with NEA’s Radar and had to signal to TAs abandon the shore – the dark clouds heading south from Malaysia had hit Pulau Ubin’s north shore. We were safely in buses when the storm was unleashed over Changi.
Now I carry an iPad mini to the beach – the larger screen allows me to track a wider area, and it is much easier than using a smart phone. Gigaphones are on standby to direct evacuation – standard field gear for teaching field trips.
With FTTA Amanda managing the site safely and on schedule, I moved between groups to examine the effectiveness of the practical, the diversity of the catch, undergraduate response, and the variation in teaching methods.
The priority now is to free up time to examine the catch from the seine, which is a unique experience for undergraduates. So we will chip away time for the coverage on tides and coastal plants next week, when the other half of the 262-strong class hit the beach.
Is that hill in the distance at Tanjung Penglihin, Johor?