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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First rule of coastal cleanups – be safe!

This morning, Ivan Kwan reminded Toddycats on our LINE chat to be careful when picking up trash. Our shores are host to venemous animals and they can be nestled anywhere. Coastal cleanup veterans Quek Kiah Shen and Amy Choong responded with memories not of animals but of “sharps and needles” and syringes in Buloh and Lim Chu Kang mangroves in the north-west of Singapore.

Typically during September’s International Coastal Cleanup, volunteers remove 30 –150 syringes a year, but these are mostly from our recreational beaches at East Coast Park and Changi and not from mangroves. Around the world, cleanup organisers warn participants to be careful at beaches, because of the recreational drug users who litter. Even if syringes are empty and washed out so not a hygiene threat, briefings emphasise safe handling and disposal.

However, we are finding instances of numerous syringes in bags, on our north-western shores. These we suspect were dumped offshore. In 2014, this was highlighted at the pre-National Day mangrove cleanup at Lim Chu Kang, where we found, sitting on the shore, a bag of hypodermic needles.

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A bag of hypodermic needles on Lim Chu Kang by Chua Li Shan (2011)

Ria elaborated about the larger issue of indiscriminate trash disposal and the presence of numerous offshore fish farms in the Johor Straits. The trash causes a lot of impact to ecosystems, and costs a lot of money to cleanup. Addressing the issue at the source would be great way to prevent senseless damage – read her post which summarises the issue.

Finding a bloody syringe, though, is uncommon, In 2011, Kate Thome reported one from a cleanup at Kranji mangrove. It was rare enough for the ICCS founder leading that cleanup to send me this photograph below. Years of earnest, pre-cleanup safety briefings was put to the test!


The bloody syringe at Kranji mangrove by Kate Thome (2011)

Well, the safety preparedness paid off for the students who found the syringe calmly kept a distance and called an adult over. It was photographed and disposed in hard plastic, so that no garbage worker would be accidentally pricked on its way to incineration.

I tweeted that image and reporters Jalelah Abu Baker and Kimberly Spykerman picked up the news and wrote an interesting story for a general audience. We circulated it to Organisers as a reminder to be prepared and vigilant.

Registration for Organisers for September’s data gathering International Coastal Cleanup has begun. As coordinators prepare Organisers, we suggest they adopt ICCS’ “Advice for Participants” and by circulating the pdf early and covering the points during the on-site briefing, just before their cleanups begin.

Just like we will do so at Operation We Cleanup Up on Sunday 8th May 2016.

The Advice for Participants can be read off a handphone, and include these statements, which have been made more explicit over the years:

  • Place your feet carefully on the ground – beware of broken glass, fishing hooks, syringes and other sharp objects which may be present on beaches. Fish such as stingrays and catfish have sharp spines.
  • Examine items carefully before picking them up – sharp objects can pierce your gloves.
  • Do not use your feet to kick or feel objects.
  • Dispose of glass and sharps (e.g. syringes) responsibly – pad them well with numerous empty plastic bottles and dispose these separately in canvas trash bags – workers who transport trash bags later to waste incineration sites must be protected from accidents. Alert your Organiser.

In the months leading to the cleanup, we will emphasise safety above all else. We tell Organisers every year that it doesn’t matter if they mess up data collection, or report late, or forget to take photos, or are unable to eliminate the trash (there are other cleanups), the first rule of coastal cleanups is and has always been – be safe!

Join us for our annual Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk, Sat 13 Feb 2016: 7.00am – 12.00pm

The Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk, Sat 13 Feb 2016: 7.00am – 12.00pm with my Pasir Panjang Heritage kakis from NUS Toddycats, volunteers of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, National University of Singapore: Kok Oi Yee, Airani S, Alvin Wong, Quek Kiah Shen, Wendy Sim, Lai Chee Kian, Stella Wee, Kenneth Pinto.

Register at Eventbrite and details at Habitatnews

Full-time internship position @ LKCNHM for Toddycats (apply by 29 Jan 2015)

The Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum seeks a full-time intern to help organise volunteer outreach activities for 2016

Duties and responsibilities
You will assist with the administration, communication, and implementation of outreach events organised by the museum, including event planning, publicity efforts, and logistics support, and volunteer coordination.
They include, but are not restricted to, Love MacRitchie activities, LKCNHM gallery guiding, Ubin Day 2016, Festival of Biodiversity.

Skill sets requirements
The ideal candidate should be interested in nature and the environment in Singapore, and is comfortable interacting with members of the public.
Enthusiasm and the ability to work independently is a requirement, as is basic design skills, experience in web publishing, and familiarity with google docs.

Interview date: From 1 Feb 2016 (to be confirmed)
Internship Duration: 6 months from commencement of position.

How to apply: Send your CV (inclusive of personal statement to) to Dr. Joelle Lai at nhmlcyj@nus.edu.sg by 29 January 2016.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for the interview.

Battle of Pasir Panjang, 13-14 Feb 1942: “Ta’at dan Setia”

General A. E. Percival, the Commander-in-Chief of the Malayan Command:

“by their stubborn defence of the Pasir Panjang Ridge at the height of the Battle of Singapore, they set an example of steadfastness and endurance which will become a great tradition in the Regiment and an inspiration for the future generations.””

Links

  • “The Malay Regiment – “Ta’at Dan Setia”: 1933-1945,” by Lim Kay Tong. Originally from Knowledgenet, 1999. [link]
  • Battle of Pasir Panjang. Wikipedia. [link]
  • Sunrise in campus and a battle remembered (2012) [link]
  • “Commemorating the Battle of Pasir Panjang.” Otterman speaks…, 04 Oct 2005 [link]
  • “Adnan lives on.” Otterman speaks…, 29 Feb 2004. [link]
  • More links at Habitatnews: Pasir Panjang Heritage

We walk this Sunday.