Love Our MacRitchie Forest is a movement to introduce Singaporeans to their very precious Central Catchment Nature Reserve.
In August, veterans Subaraj Rajathurai and Tony O’Dempsey conducted an exposure walk for youth advocates and a few weeks later, a bunch of senior Toddycats conducted a training session for the younger guides.
After all that exposure, the young Raffles Museum Toddycats responded with a series of Love MacRitchie Walks at Venus Loop for the NUS community!
The first of three was Love MacRitchie Walk was conducted 19 Oct 2013 which saw 22 participants led by seven Toddycats guides. The highlight of the leisurely 2.5 hours was a female Malayan Colugo who graced us with her presence near the start of the trail. This definitely hyped-up the spirits of the participants, especially the two young ones, aged 4 and 8!
Other animal highlights were the Black-bearded Flying Dragon and Copper-cheeked Frog.
Forest flora received no less attention, with major information stops centered around fig trees, fishtail palms, mahang and terentang trees. With our Insect Guy Sean Yap on hand, participants received fascinating nuggets of information about the many creepy crawlies we saw. We even witnessed a female Tree Hugger Dragonfly laying eggs in a stream with a male hovering around her, chasing off rivals and defending the territory.
Our holistic theme-based guiding approach involves major information stops around these themes: 1) Relationships and Interactions, 2) Forest Regeneration, 3) Forest Dependent Species, 4) Forest Streams, and 5) Forest Ecosystem Services. This helped the novice guides to share information more effectively, and also allowed participants to fully appreciate the functions, importance and vulnerability of our rain-forests.
We witnessed a sobering scene during our walk – the stream at Station 4 (Forest Streams) was heavily silted due to upstream construction activity. None of the native forest fishes could be seen.
Participants left with a realisation of the potential impacts of construction on the fragile forest ecosystem, and the critical need to share and educate others about how we will need to look after this precious natural heritage of ours for the Singapore of our future.
Photos at Flickr.