What can I do for nature and the environment in Singapore?

Why for starters, check out these pages:

NParks has a whole load of opportunities listed on their Volunteer Page. The good thing is you are now required to select a home-base; with this association, you wi be notified if oppotunities near where you live. If interested in conservation activities, you will have to attend an orientation before volunteering, which wil be helpful.

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Lepak in SG has organised a local directory of nature and environment groups: https://lepakinsg.wordpress.com.
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Our volunteer group Facebook pages highlight opportunities offered by others in the community, so will help you find your calling!
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The Biodiversity Challenge 2021 begins!

Preparation of the next generation for participation in conservation is enhanced by a programme initiated in 2017 by the Biodiversity Roundtable, and is called the Biodiversity Friends Forum. And this year, we launched the annual Biodiversity Challenge 2021 over three February mornings of Zoom induction workshops.

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We did manage a lot in two hours, and ported the wildlife in Singapore game to a jamboard exercise. It’s less interactive but we managed. And we wil catchup on the more intimate 1:7 field trips allowed for in parks in Singapore. Members of the Biodiversity Roundtable have chipped in with many offerings and will get to know these younglings too!

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To ensure the ball got rolling quickly, we listed two activities in the first week: a night walk on the Rail Corridor (South) that incudes geography and land use in addition to a glimpse at the night fauna, and Sapling Protection Action at the coastal forst resotoation site at Kranji Coastal Nature Park.

BFF Rail Corridor South

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I’m really pleased about the number of BFF Alumni joined the Organising Committee to add valuable help and ideas. Facilitators at the Induction Workshop were mostly all Alumni as well, while Seniors and Mentors of the Biodiversity Roundtable dropped by to say hello to Participant in the Breakout Rooms. I was so glad they were able to do that at the last minute.

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Participants can expect to see more of Alumni, Seniors and Mentors at the nature walks, talks and workshops lined up for them in the five months ahead. The BFF series is about building communities as much as awareness and I am looking forward to gettign to know some of them better with time, and learning about their own Acts of Nature!

We will not see big gatherings anytime soon, of course. Already the induction workshop last year was run as parallel sessions in two NUS venues complete with mitigation, due to the threat of COVID-19. Things got much more serious and even the field trips had to be cancelled and negagament driven onine. Our induction workshop is run on Zoom, for all of two hours, but we will complete a second half in March after participants have experienced guided field trips – this is a good thing!

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Sat 27 Feb 2021: 4.00pm – 6.00pm – Join NUS Toddycats for Sapling Protection Action @ Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve!

What is Sapling Protection Action?

Why we do it?
This is part of NParks’ exciting coastal restoration plan at Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve at Kranji Coastal Nature Park. Coastal vegetation were mostly cleared by settlements and reservoir construction by the 1970’s. With the extention of SBWR to the western edge of Kranji reservoir in 2014, this is an opportunity to practice habitat enhancement: soil preparation, tree-planting and sapling protection.

How do we participate??
Join is for the next session on Sat 27 Feb 2021. You will receive details about where to meet, your Team Leader and attire (long pants and covered shoes). We will provide gloves (bring your own if you have them) and tools. LImited spaces due to COVID-19 mitigation. Register on Eventbrite at https://tinyurl.com/kcnpspa-27feb2021

SPA poster 27 Feb 2021

The Biodiversity Friends Forum is proud to announce BFF Challenge 2021! Opening seminar on Sat, 20th Feb 2021

Already know you want to join us/ Sign up for our opening seminar on Sat, 20th Feb 2021: https://tinyurl.com/biodchal21

The BFF Challenge is back! Join our ever-growing community of BFF as you embark on field trips, biodiversity-exploration and online workshops for exposure to Singapore’s wonderful flora and fauna. No experience is required, sign up if you want to learn more about nature.

If you..

😍 are interested in biodiversity (no matter how small or big this may be)

🤓 want to learn more about the biodiversity scene

🤠 want to do your part in protecting the environment

🌱 are between 16-35 years old

📍 (used up your SingapoRediscover vouchers but still want to discover a different side of Singapore)

THIS IS FOR YOU!

To complete the Challenge, you will be involved in the three parts from February to June 2021:

  • Empower yourselves by attending the BFF Challenge workshops from the safety of your homes [Virtual, 4-6 hours over a few sessions]
  • Equip – Attend three curated field trips offered by seniors and log your experience in a shared field journal on WordPress [3 field trips, 10 hours]
  • Engage & Enable – Share about nature a wider audience through an Act for Nature [6 hours]

Still unsure? Read more about past year’s BFF Challenges from the participants themselves here:

Click here to sign up for our opening seminar on Sat, 20th Feb 2021: https://tinyurl.com/biodchal21

That amazing news about the Sungei Buloh Nature Park Network

One night in 1990, I trudged in the mud of Lim Chu Kang mangrove and realised it was not as dark as it should be. Walking towards the light, I realised the southern half of that mangrove had been cleared. I would learn later this was for aquaculture, and rue the decision for space was available inland which would have been just as suitable.

Instead a invaluable mangrove visited even by mangrove researchers from around the world had disappeared, just like that. No one had known, nor did anyone speak of it. We’ve been vigilant ever since, grimacing in anticipation of an inopportune interest in that piece of land.

Then came the news in 2017 and 2018 that the mangrove and mudflats at Lim Chu Kang and Mandai had been set aside as nature parks. And now the news in 2020 about the Sungei Buloh Nature Park Network. It will take a long time to sink in. Many hands had worked towards this goal over at least three decades, an they hail from many sectors of society: the active activist advocating for the site, the student toiling to build the knowledge their research would contribute, the individual and volunteer who reminded everyone that these sites exist, the managers who had looked after these sites and many a policy minion from behind a desk far from the mud, who all battled to see this day.

Their hearts must have all been gladdened by the news – a network, no less! I hope they took some time to chat with friends and family about the news or just took a break from a typically hectic pace of life to reflect on this wondrous news.

SBNPN2020

The culmination of all that effort handed baton to current teams from NParks and URA and led by the indefatigable Desmond Lee at MND, to deliver an outcome few would have dreamt about! That tinge of wistfulness and sadness when we talk about the northwest mangroves has suddenly been lifted. We will not pass on a burden of grief to our youth. And everyone can feel proud of this effort of national stewardship which ultimately ensured the conservation of these mangroves and mudflats.

Now conservation requires much more than boundaries, and everyone in various communities still have their work cut out for them. But how wonderful it will all feel now, to work in celebration, without a dark cloud hanging over all of us!

Several old guard have passed on before this news, and they were activists and contributors from our local and international community. I remember them all with gratitude, fondness and love ❤️.

For now, let’s take a deep breath and revel in this news.

Glenn & Neil celebrate on Money FM with interview with Ho Hua Chew (NSS) and Adrian Loo (NParks) with “Sungei Buloh is Growing! ”
MoneyFMinterview

Registration is open for the Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk – Sun 16 Feb 2020

The Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk 
with the NUS Toddycats, volunteers of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, National University of Singapore.

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Sun 16 Feb 2020: 7.00am – 12.00pm from NUS

The heroic account of the Malay Regiment at the Battle of Pasir Panjang left a strong impression on us, and there few of us have come together to humbly commemorate the Malay Regiment’s defense of the ridge every year since 2002.

Guides will share with the public stories about the battle, the geography, history and the flora and fauna of the area which drew us to explore the ridge decades ago which led us to gradually learn of its history.

Our commemorative route takes us from the battle front at the National University of Singapore to Kent Ridge Road and through the Gap to Kent Ridge Park and ends at Reflections of Bukit Chandu (note that this is closed in 2020).

All are welcome, just register at Eventbrite.

You must be able to wake up and join us at 7.00am at NUS’ University Cultural Centre and be physically fit enough to walk 5km (with some stairs) at a moderate pace over five hours. 

Please read the other details and guidelines for preparation on the Eventbrite page.

Tue 18 Apr 2017: 7.00pm @ NUS RVRC – Amanda Tan on “10 years to tool use with the sea monkeys of Thailand”

NUS Toddycats & Ridge View Residential College, NUS present:

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“10 years to tool use with the sea monkeys of Thailand”

By Amanda Tan

Tuesday, 18th April 2017: 7.00pm
Seminar Room, Level 1
Ridge View Residential College
National University of Singapore

All are welcome [click to register]

About the talk:

Dr Amanda Tan recently graduated with her PhD in which she studied tool use by long-tailed macaques in Thailand. She shares the research about these monkeys this past decade by primatologist Michael Gumert and collaborators at NTU’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences and her own most recent work in shedding insight on the fascinating behaviour of these long-tailed macaque inhabitants of small Thai islands.

Stone-tool use, previously only identified by scientists in chimpanzees and capuchin monkeys, has been explored by the team over the past decade in Burmese long-tailed macaques. She is an excellent public speaker who chroncles a decade of research in an approachable but scientific manner for a general audience.

Amanda who graduated from NUS Psychology and fulfilled a life-long passion of understanding animals by joining Gumert Lab to pursue her PhD in primate behaviour, is now about to embark on post-doctoral studies in the US. Just recently back from Thailand, we are glad to have share her insights just before she leaves!

Exercise by briskwalking the Southern Ridges

Torpidity will ruin us so here we go again!

In an effort to get some baseline walking done, and in particular, to help other lethargic NUS staff members, Kenneth, Weiting and I met to discuss possibilities. We had led some walks last year, and had always meant to restart the series.

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Two lunch time chats later, and after roping in Joleen and Airani, we decided we can begin with five Friday evening walks, just one a month, on the following dates:

  1. Fri 24 Mar 2017: 5.30pm
  2. Fri 28 Apr 2017: 5.30pm
  3. Fri 19 May 2017: 5.30pm
  4. Fri 30 Jun 2017: 5.30pm
  5. Fri 28 Jul 2017: 5.30pm

To register, visit the Eventbrite page.

About the Toddycats – a still useful newsletter article from 2005

I edited the “About” page of the Toddycats blog recently and realised we have a description about the group in the short-lived RMBR newsletter in 2005, eleven years ago.

The article describes the explosive start of the new identity (previously The Habitat Group) with guiding at the then new Public Gallery in 2001, various heritage and nature trails exiting and new, training workshops and the first Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium (2003).

It is a useful two pages to send to prospective volunteers at the programmes are still active in one form or another.

The other articles are pretty interesting to, and you can click to read the pdf.

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Discover nature in Singapore! Fun and games @ Festival of Biodiversity – 3rd/4th Sep 2016, Eco Lake Lawn (near SBG MRT)

Discover Singapore’s biodiversity at the Festival of Biodiversity this Saturday and Sunday (3rd & 4th September 2016) at the Eco Lake Lawn, Singapore Botanic Gardens (near the MRT).

NUS Toddycats @ FoB 2015
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The many groups who will welcome you at FoB2016
FoB2016 contributing groups

Many fresh faces from NUS Toddycats, Otter Watch, Common Palm Civets and International Coastal Cleanup Singapore trained together to present specimens, exhibits and engage the public with stories and activities.

It will be an invigorating and educational two days fuelled by enthusiastic volunteer guides from the many nature and environment groups and NParks – this visit will plug you into the active world of biodiversity research, education and conservation in Singapore.

FoB2016 poster

This Festival was conceived in 2012 by the Biodiversity Roundtable with the intent to provide a showcase of Singapore’s Biodiversity and to offer an opportunity for the public to engage with the many groups active in Singapore.

How to get there:

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There will be exhibitions, free indoor and outdoor activities at the festival!

Click for details

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