The Environmental Exposure Programme was one of the things that I look forward in council as it gives us a rare opportunity to barge into the highly knowledge-based nature circle.
Being much of a outdoor person, I am naturally drawn to being given the chance to learn from experienced nature guides as well as getting a taste of being a guide myself.
Our environmental exposure programme started from an air-conditioned room with Ms. Ria Tan. All of us enjoyed the short sharing that she gave us. The zeal in she has in her work is in itself a great inspiration to people who were given a chance to interact with her.
My first trip was in November, halfway through our Project Work schedule. I was accompanied by several other Student Councillors on the trip, having much fun learning alongside them. :) When we arrived at the pavilion, Mr Loh then drew us to a nest of weaver ants and shared with us the ingenuity of their method of weaving nests.
I was given the chance of following Ms Ria Tan on my first trip. She took opportunities to share with me stash of tips and tricks of interacting with audience and engaging tour members. She is able to match herself to the level of the audience, from young children to adults and engage in talks that will appeal to all of them.
As Ms Ria Tan is highly familiar with Chek Jawa, she was able to know what to look out for at each point in the boardwalk, allowing her tour members to have many interesting sightings along the way.
It was also a lucky day for everyone as there is a large number of jellyfish along the boardwalk at the sea! (picture credit: Mr Loh)
My heart was won over by a little boy named Dalvin, who is my best friend at the trip that day!
Here is a group photo of all 4 of us that day and dalvin in it as well! :) (photo credits: Mr Loh)
There was quite a break till the next time I was at the guided tour :) On that day, there was such a large group of audience to the point where Ley Kun has to turn down people who signed up later. There were a number of guides who gave up the chance of being at NPark’s volunteer appreciation day to continue giving guided tours to interested members of the public. This is a true portrayal of selflessness.
They were also rewarded for the sacrifice as we were greeted by Hornbill’s cries (which was of course not identified by me) the moment we arrived at Chek Jawa. We caught the hornbill taking over the nest box to be his new home, where he will house his bride and children. We were also welcomed by a few wild boars at very close distance. The guides also shared with me about the generations of wild boars and about how they swam across the straits to be in Singapore. We must never underestimate the possibility of nature.
Ley Kun assigned me to tag along Ivan’s group for my OJT. It was a large group compared to the last time I was with Ms Ria Tan. I benefited from the sheer amount of knowledge from Ivan. He was able to engage his audience with many stories and interesting scientific knowledge :) I was also able to share about some of the knowledge I have gained through reading and the previous trip with the audience as well. As the group was quite big, I could catch up with group members who are either going too fast or lagging behind to interact with them. Although I wasn’t given specific stations to guide at, it was still a great trip where I could put my past knowledge into use and share with the tour members.
The tour members were very excited by each sighting they had, enjoying the nature and bonding with their family members. This is one of the gifts of nature which we should protect and preserve for the generations to come.
At the end of each trip, the children were all engaged in documenting their experiences through art and colouring :) It is always very heartwarming to see that even the youngest of tour members have gained something from the trip.
The environmental exposure programme allowed me to see a world that I would never been able to see on my own and expanded my perspectives. It is not easy to keep up with a non profit programme, up keeping blogs, documenting environmental related data and happening without out a true passion and belief in the significance of the work you are doing. It is the kind of passion and belief that I am still lacking of.
The environmental exposure was a great feast of knowledge, experience and of course, crabs. Of which, the last point can only be understood by people of Naked Hermit Crabs. :)
(Moderator: Apologies for this backdated post)