Category Archives: news

“Inspiring a love for nature” – NUS News features NUS Toddycats Theresa Su and Ong Say Lin [10 Oct 2017]

NUS News sought out Theresa Su and Ong Say Lin for a feature on the mentoring and coordinating volunteer work they do with NUS undergraduates through NUS Toddycats. Theresa who worked on mangrove mudskippers and Say Lin who worked on wild pigs are our Toddycats HOWL coordinators. Say Lin is a coordinator for The Shelter Pawject as is Theresa for the Festival of Biodiversity and both are active with year-round mangrove cleanups too.

Thanks to Cassandra Yue for the lovely article (click to read).

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Toddycats @ Pesta Ubin 2016 (Part I): A Celebration of Singapore’s Marine Biodiversity and a plea to Reduce our Plastic Footprint

As in previous years, we’ve come together and contributed to a couple of events for the Pesta Ubin 2016 calendar!

This year Ubin Day has morphed from one weekend of short-lived fun into a month-long festival from 14 May to 12 June (Pesta means Festival in Malay). It was designed to celebrate Ubin’s kampong lifestyle, the Ubin Way, and its value as a nature refuge and to offer the public a glimpse of our past heritage.

Despite the rain, the booths from various local NGOs received a strong showing from the public. About 3000 visitors came to soak in the festive mood by participating in the myriad of events and informative booths. The celebratory atmosphere was buoyed by kampong games such as capteh and hopscotch. Activities such as cycling, kayaking and coastal clean-ups were made available too.

It was a delight to educate and raise awareness of the importance of conserving our local marine biodiversity in Singapore. Ten specimens on loan from the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum were chosen to highlight some examples of marine life found on our shores and the disastrous after-effects of littering, boat crashes, illegal fishing and the importance of conserving our local biodiversity.

Our specimens from LKCNHM included a baby dugong, a dog-faced water snake, a giant mudskipper, an Asian small-clawed otter, shells from various local marine clams and snails, a black-tipped reef shark, a tree-climbing crab, a hawksbill turtle and seahorses. Pictures of our sperm whale, Jubilee, were also on display to highlight the imminent threat that plastics can have on sea creatures, even on large ones like whales. Our local marine biodiversity too is not immune to this global crisis of plastic waste.

There are four ways in which marine life is impacted by plastic littering:  strangulation of animals from entanglement, ingestion of plastics when animals mistake it for food, bioaccumulation when young fish or crustaceans eat micro-plastics (microbeads found in face-wash products) and the leakage of toxic pollutants into the ocean as plastics slowly degrade.

Minister for National Development, Mr Lawrence Wong, and Senior Minister of State, Mr Desmond Lee, graced the event as our guests of honour. Mr Wong announced that by mid 2017, the National Parks Board (NParks) would take on the role of central management agency and be in sole charge of managing Ubin.

In his speech, Mr Wong also highlighted several books launched in celebration of Ubin such as “Footprints on an Island: Rediscovering Pulau Ubin” by Chua Ee Kiam, Choo Mui Eng and Wong Tuan Wah and “Hunt for the Green Boomerang” by Neil Humphreys.

Apart from the humans, other living creatures such as the oriental-pied hornbills and green imperial pigeons were also in attendance during the event. Their presence further illustrates that Ubin continues to be a birdwatcher’s paradise and an important refuge for threatened species. Even Ubin’s friendly resident stray dogs came to pay a visit and provided great company.

The children had their fair share of activities to take part in and be excited about as well! We organised a badge-making session which kept the children thoroughly entertained in creating their very own badges, giving them a colourful experience and a sense of pride in putting their creativity to good use.

To conclude, Pesta Ubin was a celebration of all things nature and our kampong roots. If our heritage in Pulau Ubin is lost, we would not only lose our window into the past, but something more significant – our identity with nature. Our local biodiversity may be resilient but if we are not mindful to reduce our carbon footprint and protect our environment, we may stand to lose much of our precious Earth.

For more pictures, view our Flickr album!

 

Cross Island Line (CRL): NSS discussion and position paper

You can read and sign an ongoing petition by Teresa & friends, if it reflects your views, at tinyurl.com/lta-crl.

We applaud the release of this position paper by Nature Society (Singapore) today, 18th July 2013:

NATURE SOCIETY (SINGAPORE) RELEASES DISCUSSION AND POSITION PAPER ON THE CROSS ISLAND LINE – link

NSS Cross Island Line

In January 2013, the Ministry of Transport announced plans for an MRT line called the Cross Island Line (CRL) that will be completed around 2030. Running about 50 km from Changi to the Jurong Industrial Estate, the Cross Island Line will be Singapore’s longest train line.

As unveiled, the CRL passes through the southern section of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR), near MacRitchie Reservoir, as it goes from Sin Ming to Bukit Timah.

The Nature Society (Singapore) (NSS) believes that engineering investigation and construction works for the Cross Island Line will severely degrade ancient, species-rich and highly complex ecosystems.

The Nature Society recommends that the design alignment be adjusted to avoid crossing the Reserve.

Of particular concern is the fate of primary forest remnants that the Cross Island Line will traverse if built as presented. Less than 0.2% remains of the lowland rainforest that originally covered most of Singapore. The remnants are too scarce and take too long to regenerate to risk damaging them.
In addition, the stream systems through which the Cross Island Line passes are especially vulnerable. Though these habitats are currently protected as part of a Nature Reserve, they are nonetheless now threatened unless the Cross Island Line is rerouted.

The Nature Society (Singapore)’s Discussion and Position Paper on the Cross Island Line is available from today for downloading from the Society’s website (nss.org.sg).

Questions on the NSS Discussion and Position Paper can be directed to crl@nss.org.sg or 6741-2036.

The NSS spokesperson for its position on the proposed Cross Island Line is Mr Tony O’Dempsey.

Download the full position paper from the NSS webpage.

Congrats Ivan Kwan for winning the Panasonic Eco-Challenge Blog Award!

Veteran Raffles Museum Toddycats guide Ivan Kwan, who blogs at The Lazy Lizard Tales, messaged us early afternoon to say he had won the Panasonic Eco-Challenge Blog Award!

Ivan Kwan best Eco Blog

Ivan is a tireless volunteer nature guide and is well known in the natural history community for his consistent blogging over many years and we are happy for him!

As a member of several groups, Ivan is aware of various issues and is able to be a blog ambassador and promote better awareness.

02_Toddycats-science-on-saturday-8jun2013[ftk]

Debby Ng of The Hantu Bloggers was at the awards and posted some well-captioned photos on Facebook:

Singapore blog Awards - Ivan Kwan [Debby Ng]
“Lazy Lizard Tales wins the Best Eco-Challenge Blog! Dressed as a young David Attenborough (in keeping with the 60s theme), Ivan picks out a scorpion from his pocket and kisses it on stage! Congratulations! ”

Singapore Blog Awards - Ivan Kwan
“Congratulations @VaranusSalvator for winning the Best Eco-Blog Challenge at the 2013 Blog Awards! ‎#OMYSBA2013 http://t.co/aAVi5acS4M”

Singapore Blog Awards - Deby Ng & Ivan Kwan
“RT@VaranusSalvator Because #OMYSBA2013 has a 1960s theme, here’s @torvaanser & I trying to be young Jane Goodall & David Attenbourough.”


Sun 07 Jul 2013, Debby tweets: “Awesomeness! @hai_ren receives mention on Page 7 of today’s ST Home for his award-winning blog, Lazy Lizard Tales! http://t.co/wepg7FUQnv

20130707-IvanKwan_ST

Join the Youth for Ecology Dialogues on Saturdays 4, 11 and 18 May 2013: 8 am to 1pm!

The Youth for Ecology Singapore is made up of a community of youth who care about Singapore’s future and its environment. They aim to take ownership by building a platform for youth from all walks of life to voice and exchange their perspectives with reason and conviction.

Earlier in April 2013, the Youth for Ecology Singapore conducted three successful dialogues with participants (age 13 to 25) with a concern for local environmental issues. They will be continuing their effort in May in hope to provoke in the participants more thinking about the natural environment and in the future of Singapore as well as to gather opinions on what everyone perceives/ considers to be important in the long run.

There will be three upcoming sessions to be held on three Saturdays,  4th, 11th and 18th May 2013 : 8 am to 1pm at Active Learning Room, S16, Level 3 in NUS.

If you are between 13 to 25 and would like to meet youth with a similar passion for the environment, do register at http://www.ecoyouthsg.com/dialogues.html

ecoyouth

For more details:
Website: http://www.ecoyouthsg.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ecoyouthsg

Description of Youth for Ecology Singapore from http://www.ecoyouthsg.com/.

Otterman speaking at “Our Heritage in Nature” on Sat 11 May 2013: 9am-12:30pm (updated: free admission!)

N. Sivasothi a.k.a Otterman, coordinator of the Raffles Museum Toddycats and International Coastal Clean up Singapore, will be speaking at “Our Heritage in Nature”- a seminar on our natural land and coastal heritage, jointly organised by the Master of Science (Environmental Management) (MEM) Alumni and Nature Society Singapore (NSS).

There will be two talks for the day-
1. From Railway Track to Green Corridor by Mr Leong Kwok Peng
2. Our Coastal Natural Heritage in Singapore – Diversity, Impacts and Challenges by Mr N. Sivasothi

Date: 11 May 2013 (Saturday)
Time: 09:00 – 12:30
Venue: Auditorium, Shaw Foundation Alumni House, National University of Singapore, 11 Kent Ridge Drive, Singapore 119244
Fee: S$10 (public); S$5 (student) Free admission!

Our heritage in natureFor more details – http://alumnet.nus.edu.sg/event/misc/heritage13.pdf

Join Otterman and register here now: http://tinyurl.com/ourheritageinnature-r

A natural history museum for Singapore

RMBR

“The Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research (RMBR) is one of the earliest natural history museums in SEA and the only one in Singapore, is committed to preserving Singapore’s biodiversity through research, environmental consultation and public education. The RMBR can play a pivotal role in galvanising research and education efforts in biodiversity conservation and environmental awareness in Singapore. However, a new facility is necessary for the RMBR to fulfill this role on the university, national, regional and international level.

The RMBR is raising funds to develop it into a natural history museum that will serve as a valuable resource for biodiversity research and help generate interest among present and future generations on the vital importance of ecology, conservation and the environment for human survival and development.”

To find out more, go to the museum webpage at http://rmbr.nus.edu.sg/