Love Our MacRitchie Forest – raising public awareness about our forest heritage

Ever since the Land Transport Authority announced the proposed construction of the Cross Inland Line tunnel under the Central Catchment Nature Reserve in 2013, Toddycats have been working hard to raise awareness about our forest heritage and their plant and animal communities, under the umbrella of the Love Our MacRitchie project.

Alongside the ecosystem introduction, participants are engaged about the conservation issues. There are two phases of the EIA for the project and we are awaiting the results of the Phase 2 EIA which we hope to examine and provide feedback about. 

Meanwhile, every month, our volunteer guides take members of the public on a Love MacRitchie Walk at Windsor Nature Park at the north-eastern corner of MaxRitchie to share with them the amazing wildlife which has survived in this forest, which are threatened by developments such as the Cross Inland Line. So far this year, we have conducted eight walks, reaching out to 121 participants.

We also partnered other youth groups in Singapore – the Herpetological Society of Singapore (HSS) conducted a Herp Walk for us in March and the Entomological Network of Singapore (ENSING) did the honours with an Insect Walk in April. And we were happy to offer the Biodiversity Friends Forum (BFF) a field trip in May. We were glad to see these youth go on to share their knowledge with their friends and families.

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Taking shelter under a giant mahang leaf on a Love MacRitchie Walk.

We also bring the wonders of the forest to urban Singapore – on 1st and 2nd June, we engaged the public with a booth at the Central Public Library as part of a Biodiversity Carnival, where we showcased specimens of forest creatures from NUS’ Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum.

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Showcasing museum specimens at Central Public Library’s Biodiversity Carnival

In August, published an infographic highlighting most of the key events since the start of the movement in 2013. To date, the decision on the CRL alignment has not yet been made. This will be a decision by the government at the highest levels.  The Toddycats will continue to conduct monthly guided walks and encourage the public to voice their feedback about the CRL to the authorities.

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colugoA pair of colugos observed in May 2015.

 

While we await announcement of the second phase EIA, there are more walks to attend in 2019. Join NUS Toddycats! at Venus Loop – to do so, visit Eventbrite at this link (http://toddycats-lmwalks.eventbrite.com) to register for the walk:

  1. Sun 08 Sep 2019
  2. Sat 12 Oct 2019
  3. Sun 10 Nov 2019
  4. Sat 7 Dec 2019

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The Shelter Pawject @ The Animal Lodge – join us on World Animal Day in October

TSP logoThe idea for The Shelter Pawject was seeded in 2017, with an aim to improve the physical and emotional well-being of animals living in shelters. It is led by four of us who are passionate about animal welfare, Joys & Grace Tan, Ong Say Lin and Amanda Tan, with N. Sivasothi aka Otterman.

Recognising a need from previous visits and a discussion with shelter managers, we pledged a commitment to cleaning and maintaining the shelter environment through quarterly visits. In 2017 and 2018, The Shelter Pawject worked with Uncle Khoe’s K9 and Paw Perfect Love shelters for basic cleaning, feeding and dog-walking. The cleaning was vigorous work and we called them scrub downs! It was good to see every corner gradually become spick and span!

 

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With the shift of local animal shelters to The Animal Lodge at Sungei Tengah in 2019, shelters such as UK9 and PPL shelters now come under the good care of Mutts and Mittens and scrubdowns were no longer needed.

After consultation and exploration, The Shelter Pawject identified the BFF shelter (@bffrescuedogs) as a priority to provide play time and company, and basic maintenance of cleanliness for the shelter animals who are deprived of social contact. We hoped to increase the awareness of animal shelters through bringing people to the shelters, as well as contribute to the shelters. 

 This year, The Shelter Pawject has conducted two trips with 33 volunteers. It’s always happy to meet like-minded individuals who are looking to contribute! We are also grateful to the regulars (James, Jeanette and others) who have been supporting the animals.

If you are also looking to contribute, please join us in October, in celebration of World Animal Day. Do refer to our Facebook page for updates on upcoming trips – https://www.facebook.com/theshelterpawject/.

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TSP dogwalk

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A celebration of Toddycats at the Festival of Biodiversity 2019

25 & 26 May 2019 – Festival of Biodiversity (FOB) is Toddycats’ main outreach event and this year was a return to action! NParks had secured the FOB2019 venue at Toa Payoh Hub, and we knew to expect a large crowd over the  two days. Indeed NParks would later report that an estimated of 25,000 people visited the Festival which featured 22 booths, 19 workshops and 46 partners over the two days. 

In addition to our usual booths on biodiversity, Toddycats included our International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS) project this year. Collectively we showcased the rich terrestrial, coastal and marine biodiversity to be found Singapore. Toddycats’ volunteers had trained through walks and workshops prior to the festival, also shared with the public the threats faced by wildlife in Singapore, and the everyday action we can take to make our environment a more liveable place for all living organisms.

If you missed out on the action, view the  photos here.

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Over the course of the two days, you might have met some of our awesome 40+ volunteers who were at the two-day event – Amanda Lek, Beatriz Fernandez, Benjamin Chew, Catalina Tong, Cherry Goh Pei Shan, Chong Siew Men Choo Le Min, David Yeo, Elizabeth (Liz) Lim, Emily Ng Qi Ying, Erin Tan Hie, Ho Lijean, Jharyathri Thiagarajah, Julianne Thu Kwa Kee Lang, Liew Fui Lian, Ling Chyuan Liang Benedict, Magena Yeo, Miguel Loh Wai Tong, Nicole Lai Yun-Ki, Olivia Tay, Ong Yue Qi Quek Yew Hock, Samuel Chan, Spencer Yau, Tan Tee Kheng, Tang Li Hua, Toh Meng Hai Victor, Xu Rui Hua Jeff, Yee Zhi Wei Daniel Rebekah Susserott, Nafisah Md Ismail, Marcus Tay Guan Hock, Charlene Goh, Xinlei, Srishti Arora, Sherilyn Wong Jo-Yin, Olivia Lee, Kang Li Xin Sim Hong Jhun, Yu Chew Peng, Phoebe Lim Zhixuan, Joelle Lai, Fung Tze Kwan, Joleen Chan, Theresa Su and Xu Weiting

Special thanks to our volunteers and let’s do this again next year at FOB2020!

 

Do you have a passion for nature and the environment? Join NUS Toddycats!

Dear students,

Do you have a passion for nature and the environment?

NUS Toddycats, which dates back to 1999, is meant to “expose, develop, enthuse and apply individuals to programmes in conservation, education and research.”

The programme is designed to be fuss free, so Toddycats volunteer on an event basis, involving 1-2 days of training and execution.

To join us, sign up at https://toddycats.wordpress.com/join/

Open House on Sat 24 Aug 2019: 9.00am – 11.30am
@ NUS Lab 7 (S2-03)

We welcome you to find out more an open house session where you get to chat with seniors and learn about what we do what we do and what programmes we are involved with, which include: Exhibitions | Nature and heritage trails | Public seminars and Symposia |Webpages & Blogs |Partnerships and feedback| Coastal Cleanups

Sign up as a member and join us at HOWL,
Mon 26 Aug 2019: 6.30pm

Our next event is a get-together called HOWL (at the Moon!) on Monday 26th Aug 2019: 6.30pm – if keen, do register by Fri 23 Aug 2019 at http://tinyurl.com/toddycats-howl25

Cheerio!

Sivasothi aka Otterman
Battling the Sixth Extinction 

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Pedal Ubin 2019 accomplished with great joy and satisfaction!

Sat 29 Jun 2019 – The annual Pedal Ubin offering at Pesta Ubin activates veteran Toddycats guides to revisit and revise, and form guiding pairs to manage 15-20 participants on the island each. 

We prepare with recces, review and mitigate the risk to participants, update our first aid kits, and be sure to carry strong insect repellent for the vulnerable. Thanks to Joelle, Airani, Ivan, Kenneth and Kevin for that reliable preparation and confident execution, and the photos!

This year, we were short on support so my kaki Cheer Chong at Republic Polytechnic recruited three of her outdoor adventure learning students to provide safety backup for the nature guides. And Sufi, Yu Teng & Jin Huang were really superb! They slipped into their roles effortlessly and were a great comfort to all. We must get DOAL students help next year too! Learn more about RP’s Diploma in Outdoor Adventure and Learning programme (DOAL) here.

We happily guided some 60 people this year; photos from the event on Google Photos here. Wish we could do this every weekend! 

Pedal Ubin 2019

Sat 29 Jun 2019: Join us on the Grand Finale of Pesta Ubin – Ubin Day!

Our Toddycats booth at Pesta Ubin (aka Ubin Day) will be back on 29 June 2019, 9am to 4pm! Come and join us to learn about Marine Life, Marine Trash and explore all the other booths and activities around!

Ubin Day is the grand finale of Pesta Ubin, organised by the Friends of Ubin Network (FUN), a festival running from 18 May to 30 June 2019 with various fun and exciting activities such as cycling, kayaking and exploring to take part in. Look forward to activities and booths set up by many community and ground up initiatives to celebrate the wonders in Ubin!

Do come join us! See you there!

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Our booth at Ubin Day 2015!

Pedal Ubin is back this year on Sat 29 Jun 2019 – and registration is open!

NUSPestaUbin2019 Toddycats roll out our annual cycling event to explore nature and heritage in Pulau Ubin.  Register for Pedal Ubin at our Eventbrite page here! (Update: we’re full)

Every year, we offer a guided bicycle ride through part of Pulau Ubin, during which our guides introduce participants to stories of Ubin – nature, heritage and geography. The guides have been conducting this for many years, as Pedal Ubin origins go back to  a 1998 Ubin Challenge event. At one point the rides were offered every two months.

The events at Chek Jawa in 2001/2 led to many more Singaporeans visiting Pulau Ubin with visitorship numbers rising from ~27,000 to more than 35,000 in 2007 (figure from NParks). As NParks took over more of the island, there were clear signs and maps to guide the visitor so we closed the programme, and left an online list of suggestions

Then good news came with the conservation of Pulau Ubin for all to enjoy and the formation of Friends of Ubin. Without the threat of further development, Pesta Ubin was initiated by Ria Tan with other stakeholders. NUS Toddycats chipped in to the celebrations by reviving Pedal Ubin.

This ride of fellowship is an enjoyable way to meet others and share a unique experience of the island through the simple joy of cycling!

This year’s Pesta Ubin theme is “Support Ubin Businesses” and by taking a bumboat, renting a bicycle and purchasing food and drinks, participants will help support and preserve the unique businesses that service visitors to Pulau Ubin. There are many more activities being offered this month of Pesta Ubin so check out the very well organised webpage to explore more opportunities.

Pedal Ubin 2018

Links:

  • Registration page for Pedal Ubin 2019 [link]
  • 2018 Pedal Ubin photo album [link]
  • Map of Pulau Ubin, ver 2015 [link]
  • Pesta Ubin 2019 [link]