It’s been 7 years since the Toddycats Appreciation Dinner in 2008, but we finally managed to get all our volunteers together over 24 and 25 July 2015 (Friday and Saturday) for a Toddycats Retreat @ Changi Fairy Point Bungalow!
We’ve been working hard in the past few years, conducting nature-guided walks for the public, coordinating many coastal and mangrove cleanups, and being involved in numerous other outreach initiatives such as Ubin Day and Festival of Biodiversity. Many of us work together in such events, yet don’t actually know each other very well. This gathering session gave us the opportunity to reconnect and learn more about each other, beyond that burning passion for conservation! The retreat was also a chance for us to thank all our passionate Toddycats for the work everyone has contributed to over the past few years.
With the help of Alvin, we managed to grab Changi Fairy Point Bungalow 2 – a nice location with a relaxing atmosphere, and the Changi Point Boardwalk a stone’s throw away. A couple of us reached the bungalow around 3pm, and started prepping for our all-vegetarian BBQ.
Despite unconventional decision of having all-veggie BBQ, we decided it would be a good chance to show that being vegetarian didn’t necessarily require us to cut back on good food. Before Friday night, Sankar, Joelle and I raided online recipe journals for meat-free BBQ options, and prepped pasta salad, corn salsa, lentil bean burgers, grilled tofu, raita, and loads more! Vegetarianism does have many environmental benefits, and many of us – if not already vegetarian, do take necessary measures to reduce meat intake.
We also brought our own lunchbox/plates, cutlery and tumbler, to reduce the amount of waste generated!
The night was not yet over, and though a couple of us had to leave earlier, the rest headed out to Changi Point Boardwalk for a nightwalk! The boardwalk was teeming with life, and we even witnessed a flat-tailed house gecko carcass (Hemidactylus platyurus) being carried by an army of weaver ants (Oecophylla smaragdina) for their supper.
These tireless Toddycats proceeded to play even more games when we got back from the nightwalk, and Marcus – who had been busy with the whale carcass salvage, joined us! Junius had brought along many boardgames – which kept us all up until 3am, when everyone finally decided to wrap up the night.
By 10.30am the next morning, we had cleared up the bungalow, and many of us headed back into the field for Toddycat-duties with ICCS 2015 on-site recces happening around the island. It was a truly enjoyable night with everyone, and we look forward to the next Toddycats Retreat!