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!

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

Call for Toddycats Volunteer Festival of Biodiversity 2019 – signups are still open!


Are you interested to share stories of biodiversity in Singapore with members of the public? Join us at Festival of Biodiversity on the last weekend of May 2019 at HDB Toa Payoh Hub and experience a meaningful engagement!

The Festival of Biodiversity is an annual biodiversity outreach event, organised by National Parks Board in collaboration with the Biodiversity Roundtable since 2012. This two-day event allows us to reach out to many heartlanders unfamiliar with Singapore’s biodiversity. If you are keen to join us, register here – https://tinyurl.com/toddycats-fob2019.

Here are the details of the festival:
Date: 25 and 26 May 2019 (Sat and Sun)
Venue: HDB Hub Mall at Toa Payoh
Time: 10.30 am to 10.30 pm

Like the past FOBs, we hope to recruit enough volunteers so that every guide who interacts with the public is fresh and ready! Just signing up and preparing for a single shift makes a massive difference! And we will prepare all volunteers with training.

Compulsory training dates:
15 May 2019 (Wed): 7 pm – 10 pm OR
18 May 2019 (Sat): 9 am – 12 pm

We will need all the volunteer help that we can get, so grab a friend and volunteer with us for FOB2019 – https://tinyurl.com/toddycats-fob2019.

We do look forward to your participation in the Festival of Biodiversity; if the previous six years were anything to go by, it will be a blast!

Cheers,
Theresa & Weiting
Toddycats FOB Organising Committee 2019


HOWL 24 with Resident Blue Stephen Beng (Fri 22 Mar 2019)

Hosted by, Theresa Su, Lesley Chng, Cherry Goh and Otterman.

Hi everyone! This is Natalie Quah, Otterman’s intern from Jan to Jun 2019. One of the perks is I get to attend Toddycats HOWL, which I did for the first time last Friday!

It was with a mixture of excitement and nervousness as I was waiting to meet various members of the Toddycats, many for the first time. But before long, my nerves were put to rest, because it was dinner time and there’s nothing food can’t fix! It was a delight to reconnect with many familiar faces in the nature community and to make new friends over yummy slices of pizza.

Toddycats’ HOWL always begins with icebreakers to warm us up, with a VERY late Chinese New Year theme, haha! Just as we were done, Weiting arrived late after her Changi practical, having kept everyone waiting (geddit? XD), and wrestled through her task as everyone watched. She rose to the occasion and amused all of us!

Is Weiting a rabbit…
or is she wriggling like a snake??

Various Toddycats then brought us through news and various upcoming events.

Joleen Chan on recent roadshows on marine life and marine trash at event by NUS SAVE, NUS PEACE, IYOR, with ADEX akan datang.
Otterman talked about the Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk last Feb. Two decades of this has stimulated other walks – LSM2252 Biodiversity’s Kent Ridge Walk, RVRC’s Ridge Walk for Rice, the NUS Ridgewalks for wellness.
Theresa Su and Xu Weiting brought us through the training lead up to field trips and workshops for the Festival of Biodiversity in May.
Chloe Tan explained the rationale behind the Love MacRitchie movement and about the Love MacRitchie walks by Toddycats, now in their sixth year!
Our happy HOWL audience!

The final part of HOWL was a long-awaited fireside chat! It was an honour to interact with Stephen Beng, chair of NSS’s Marine Conservation Group and Friends of Marine Park. The Resident Blue, as he calls himself, recalled his ocean experience from the time he was a kid to present day engagements,

Stephen Beng shares his ocean experiences with what we realised to be a pretty terrestrial bunch of Toddycats.
A heartfelt reminder to remain Captivated, Compelled and Connected!
The dialogue: answering questions, hearing opinions and sharing thoughts.

Stephen’s strong affinity with the ocean and his passion for resolving issues through Friends of Marine Park came through clearly during this session and I was personally inspired to work harder for our local biodiversity!

So my impression of my first HOWL? We had a mix of both sillyness and solemness, leaving everyone feeling full, just like the moon!

A big, round moon in the background, with the HOWL organisers.

Discover your natural heritage at a Love MacRitchie walk, Jan – Jun 2019

In 2013, a shocking announcement was issued by LTA about the proposed Cross Island MRT Line. This proposal to tunnel under the precious and fragile MacRitchie Forest ecosystem was met by nature groups in various ways.

Decal love macritchie 20133
The Love MacRitchie campaign began in 2013 with the unprecedented announcement of the Cross Island Line through the nature reserve.

One of those responses was the Love MacRitchie movement, a collective effort by several nature groups in Singapore who share the uniqueness and value of our heritage which is the MacRitchie Forest.

In addition to talks about the issue, education of students and engagement with the media, members of the group also offer guided nature walks at MacRitchie.

Join our nurturing guides on a walk to discover your heritage, understand why we have a love for such spaces, and lend your voice to save MacRitchie from this and future threats.

The walks, which began in 2013, have continued to the present time, even as the investigation and debate on the alignment of the Cross Island Line continues. Find out more during the Love MacRitchie walks in the first half of 2019 by visiting the Love Maritchie Eventbrite page to register.

  • 13 Jan – Venus Loop with NUS Toddycats!
  • 9 Feb – Venus Loop with NUS Toddycats!
  • 10 Mar – Venus Loop with NUS Toddycats!
  • 23 Mar – Ranger Station with Herpetological Society of Singapore
  • 13 Apr – Venus Loop with NUS Toddycats!
  • 5 May – Venus Loop with NUS Toddycats!
  • 8 Jun – Venus Loop with NUS Toddycats!
A colugo mum and her baby gaze at Love MacRitchie
walk participants. May they be ever safe.

Showing our love for the environment @ NUS PEACE Animal Day 2019

The NUS Toddycats roadshow team was back at NUS UTown SRC again on Wed 20 Feb 2019, at the invitation of NUS PEACE which includes the various projects, NUS Cat Cafe, NUS Paw Friends (feat Mutts & Mittens), NUS Therapy Dogs and VEGE team.

The NUS Toddycats booth, all ready to welcome guests with our museum specimens, photo props and friendly guides, Lixin and Wan Wen.

The museum specimens, together with the stories allowed the audience to better understand how plastics that we use in our daily lives can be such a big threat to our marine wildlife. After listening to the plight of our marine environment and marine life, many were game to do take a pledge, a small step to making a difference to the environment.

This awesome exchange student already attended a Sembawang Beach coastal cleanup and asked how to contribute MORE!
We love reading all the pledges penned down by the public, including these, by the NUS Pawfriends and Mutts& Mittens team!
We hope that every one will try to complete ALL
the pledge items, just like this role model!

We had a blast talking to everyone who stopped by, and were glad for the many who penned a pledge to demonstrate their love for nature and the environment in Singapore.

Thanks to NUS PEACE for the great experience amidst many passionate and active volunteers who were busy raising awareness for animal welfare, animal shelters and promoting a cruelty-free diet. And our furry friends who visited with us. Well done NUS PEACE!

Marine Life and the threat of Marine Life @ NUS SAVE’s NUS Goes Lite 2019: Go BYOnd!

NUS Toddycats are at U Town Plaza in NUS these two days (14 & 15 Feb 2019), to feature Marine Life and the Threat of Marine Trash with a road show, thanks to NUS SAVE. Visit the roadshow and meet all the partners, internal and external the they have lined up!

At NUS Goes Lite 2019: Go BYOnd!, organised by Students Against Violation of the Earth (SAVE), learn about SAVE’s upcoming green initiatives, learn how you can go beyond BYO, and check out what the NUS student environmental community (and beyond) have been up to!

nusgoeslite2019
Toddycats were all setup and ready before the lunch time crowd!
President of NUS, Prof Tan Eng Chye and his guests touring the roadshow
finding out more about plastic pollution and its impact on marine life.
Drawn in by the specimens of marine fauna, visitors then learn of the threats
they face in the ocean from trash, ironically of mainly terrestrial origins.

The Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk 2019

Sat 9th Feb 2019 – some 70 members of the public with a special passion for heritage gathered before dawn to commemorate the Battle of Pasir Panjang. Fought through the ridge 77 years ago, it would be the last two days before Singapore fell on 15th Feb 2019.

We traced the steps of the Malay Regiment as they held off the Imperial Japanese Army, and then were forced into a desperate and retreating battle. We began, as they did, at the junction of Ayer Rajah Road and Reformatory Road – what is today Ayer Rajah Expressway and Clementi Road.

We remembered the observations of Penrod Dean before we set off:

The Malays started to fight the Japanese on Reformatory Road,” said Lt. Penrod V. Dean of the 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion. “They had dug slit trenches but they didn’t have a lot of weapons. They started fighting the Japanese just with rifles virtually. And when the Japanese broke through them, the Malays took to them with bayonets, they put bayonets on the rifles and with a bayonet charge they drove the Japanese back across Reformatory Road.”

“They were very brave people. They fought very hard, but for every Malay soldier there was about 10 or 12 Japanese soldiers. So it was inevitable what was going to happen.” [link]

After the 7.00am briefing amidst a grove of Gelam trees next to the NUS University Cultural Centre, we made our way up the ridge, onto Kent Ridge Road, past The Gap into Kent Ridge Park and finally Bukit Chandu.

Along the way, we shared stories of the battle, interweaved with the history, geography and biology of the ridge. This year – also the 200th anniversary of modern Singapore’s founding – the recurring theme was a biologist view of human behaviour: from expanding civilisations to colonialism, World War 2 and beyond: the exploitation and manipulation of humanity by a minority of their own kind.

But importantly, we took heart by remembering these men who had been banded together, who faced impossible odds, fought on these grounds beyond the call of king or country, neither for creed nor ethnicity but simply for each other.

DSCF0379
We begin the walk amidst the grove of gem trees, at NUS’ University
Cultural Centre, where the Battle of Pasir Panjang began.
DSCF0395
A series of markers for the Kent Ridge Heritage Trail pepper the route
and provide highlights about historical points along the way.
DSCF0419
Veteran guide, Oi Yee, who walked the ridge in the 1950’s, shares tales about the botany and uses of Simpoh Air and Resam from kampung days.
DSCF0450
Following the guides up to point 270 on the maintenance trail.
DSCF0458
Sivasothi aka Otterman explain the events leading to the renaming
of the ridge after the Duchess of Kent in 1954, during the Emergency.
DSCF0484
Just before Bukit Chandu, the group listens to a heartfelt account about
the last stand of Lt Adnan bin Saidi and his men of The Malay Regiment.
DSCF0486
Ever changing landscape: The point blocks at Normanton Park, where the Normanton Oil Depot was located. This will be lost to redevelopment soon.

For more about the heritage of Pasir Panjang, see the webpage and blog.

Photos: