Category Archives: projects

Sun 24 Jun 2018: Pedal Ubin 2018 @ Pesta Ubin – explore Pulau Ubin and “The Ubin Way” with NUS Toddycats

Pedal Ubin returns for for Pesta Ubin 2018!

Pedal Ubin is a programme by NUS Toddycats dating back to 1999 and is pleased to be a participating member of Pesta Ubin, which is organised by the Friends of Ubin Network (FUN).

Join us for a ride around Pulau Ubin to explore the Island’s landmarks and scenery with NUS Toddycats volunteer guides from the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, NUS. The ride is free of charge but you must read the details on the registration page and register on the Eventbrite page at http://tinyurl.com/toddycats-pedalubin2018.

We will cycle past old plantations, kampongs, forest, quarries and mangroves, stopping for a coconut or two, whilst listening to guides share stories of Ubin’s wildlife, heritage and ongoing conservation efforts. In keeping with the Ubin Way, at some point, we will sit down and get to know each other!

You must be able to ride a bike and be at least 10 years old in order to keep up with the pace. Even if it is a slow ride, there are slopes and dirt trails to enjoy.

Participants must arrange to rent their own bicycles (and you are encouraged to rent a helmet too) on Pulau Ubin or bring their own bicycles from the mainland.

More important details on the registration page.

Pedal Ubin 2017
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Celebrate Earth Day in Singapore by battling marine trash @ Lim Chu Kang East (Sun 22 Apr 2018: 7.30am – 12.00pm)

It’s Earth Day on Sunday 22nd April 2018, with a focus on the battle against plastic pollution.

Join the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore volunteers on a mangrove cleanup on Sunday, 22 April 2018: 7.30am to 12.00pm at Lim Chu Kang East [see site details here].

There is transport from Kranji MRT. For registration and details, please see the Eventbrite registration page. Please register by Thu 19 Apr 2018.

IMPORTANT: please read the advise to participants and safety guidelines here: http://coastalcleanup.nus.edu.sg/participants/

Ridge Walk – five Friday evening briskwalks along the Southern Ridges (Jan – May 2018)

Join us on our briskwalk? Please register your participation at the Eventbrite webpage, thanks!

In 2008, a 9-km series of trails, bridges and walkways were unveiled, which reconnected the Southern Ridges which had been carved through by several roads (see map). An almost continuous traffic-free walk from NUS to HarbourFront became possible which takes two hours at a brisk pace.

This is an excellent way to get in some exercise at the end of a tough week, amidst a unique landscape and greenery. Get to know various points along the Southern Ridges and plan future visits. But we are hard pressed to find the time, aren’t we?

To get you going, NUS Toddycats are leading a series of brisk walks for NUS staff, students and friends from YIH Plaza through to HarbourFront MRT on the following dates:

  1. Fri 26 Jan 2018
  2. Fri 23 Feb 2018
  3. Fri 23 Mar 2018
  4. Fri 27 Apr 2018
  5. Fri 25 May 2018

Please register your participation at the Eventbrite webpage – pick your date and register for that individually.

You may leave the group at any time. Some of the typical stop points along the way include:

  • 2.0km, 22 mins – Science Park 1 (Kent Ridge MRT Station)/li>
  • 4.0km, 51 mins – Reflections at Bukit Chandu (near Pasir Panjang MRT Station)
  • 5.3km, 1h 12mins – Hort Park (near Labrador Park MRT Station)
  • 6.2km, 1h 22mins – Henderson Waves (near Telok Blangah) – Bus Stop no. 14051 & 14059
  • 8.8km, 2h 5mins – HarbourFront (near MRT Station)

Your guides frm NUS Toddycats will be Kenneth Pinto, Xu Weiting, Airani S & N. Sivasothi.

If there is threat of heavy rain, strong winds prior to a storm or haze, we will inform you early or if unable, at YIH Plaza itself.

Click to view the larger map
Southern Ridges Walk

Registration open for the Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk – Sun 11 Feb 2018 [Update: Walk is fully signed up]

The Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk
Sun 11 Feb 2018: 7.00am – 12.00pm
With the NUS Toddycats, volunteers of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, National University of Singapore

All are welcome, just register at Eventbrite.

On 13th February 1942 the Japanese Imperial Army has stormed through Malaya and invaded Singapore. Approaching Singapore City from the west, a seasoned Japanese army is forced to engage the small force of the Malay Regiment fending them off from the high ground of Pasir Panjang Ridge.

A fierce battle is put up by men of the Malay Regiment amidst the confusion of aerial and artillery bombardment, a dark sky smothered by fumes of a burning fuel dump, loss of communications and the early deaths of senior officers who had moved about to keep their men coordinated.

They would battle on for nearly two days and are wiped out almost to the last man on the eve of Chinese New Year.

On 15th of February, 1942, General Percival marches down Bukit Timah Road to surrender to General Yamashita of the Japanese Imperial Army at the Ford Factory.

The accounts of the desperate and heroic Battle of Pasir Panjang left a strong impression on the Pasir Panjang Heritage Guides, so we commemorate the Malay Regiment’s defense of the ridge every year.

The National University of Singapore is built on part of the old battleground and its forest still contains a 1936 British military outpost which strategically oversees Jurong, Bukit Timah and Singapore City. In 1954, the Pasir Panjang Ridge was renamed ‘Kent Ridge,’ and the old stone marker which commemorates this event persists to this day, often overlooked, at the Gap.

Guides will share with the public stories about the battle, the geography, history and the flora and fauna of the area which drew us to explore the ridge decades ago and to gradually learn of its history.

Our commemorative route takes us from the National University of Singapore to Kent Ridge Road and through the Gap to Kent Ridge Park and ends at Reflections of Bukit Chandu.

Everyone is welcome – just register at Eventbrite.
You will have to wake up early enough to join us at 7.00am at the University Cultural Centre [map] and be physically fit enough to walk 5km at a moderate pace with some stairs!

This is a five hour walk and February is a hot month, so please bring at least a litre of water and some sandwiches or snacks. Rain is always possible so do bring an umbrella and waterproofing for your barang-barang!

Links

  • Pasir Panjang/Kent Ridge Heritage webpage [link] and Facebook page [link]
  • “Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk 2009 Review,” by Kenneth Pinto. Raffles Museum Toddycats, 19 Feb 2009. [link]
  • Photos from 2015, 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2008.
Route
Click the map for a larger view or see Google Maps.

Toddycats @ Public Libraries in September for “Friends of the Forest”

20170902 Toddycats at Jurong Regional Library

For Toddycats and friends heading down to help out, look out for these seniors on these dates:

  • Sat 02 Sep 2017: 10am-6pm @ Jurong Library – Chloe, Rachel, Theresa or Joelle
  • Sun 03 Sep 2017: 10am-1pm @ Central Public Library (Victoria Street; basement) – Chloe, Rachel & Alvin
  • Sun 10 Sep 2017: 10am-6pm @ Queesntown Public Library – Chloe, or Rachel
Friends of the Forest Sep2017

Highlights of the July Love MacRitchie Walk

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Large-tailed Nightjar (Caprimulgus macrurus). Photo by Benjamin Lim.

On 8 Jul 2017, 16 participants joined three Toddycats on a Love MacRitchie Walk along Venus Loop. While discussing the conservation issues surrounding the proposed Cross Island MRT Line, the keen-eyed participants kept a lookout for creatures along the forest trail. Even the most well-camouflaged animals revealed themselves! What seemed like a woody stump turned out to be a Large-tailed Nightjar (Caprimulgus macrurus) trying to take a snooze! There was also a really hairy caterpillar that seemed to blend into the tree trunk if you looked at it from the top. In the tree canopy, we would not have spotted the Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot (Psittinus cyanurus) if it had not been dropping starfruit bits as it feasted. It looked so much like a leaf!

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Caterpillar. Photo by Amanda Lek.

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Blue-rumped Parrot (Psittunus cyanurus). Photo by Benjamin Lim.

There were also some brilliantly coloured creatures that never fail to catch our eyes. Before we even hit the trail, a Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum cruentatum) was gorging on a breakfast of Senduduk (Melastoma malabathricum) fruits. It must have been so hungry because it didn’t mind all the people standing barely a metre or two away, snapping away with their smartphones! Nearby, a beautiful turquoise coloured Common Bluebottle (Graphium sarpedon) was sipping nectar from the Red Leea (Leea rubra).

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Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum cruentatum). Photo by Amanda Lek.

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Common Bluebottle (Graphium sarpedon). Photo by Joyce Wong.

Recently, an unfortunate incident occured in the vicinity of Windsor Nauture Park, where a wild boar (Sus scrofa) injured a woman who was walking her dog. NParks has erected advisory signs around the park, and everyone should read them as earnestly as this young participant did! The signs read: “Wild boars have been seen in the area. If you encounter a wild boar, move calmly away from it. Do not use flash photography as it may upset the animal. Do not feed it as it is illegal to feed wild animals.”

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Wild boar advisory by NParks. Photo by Chloe Tan.

The little ones who joined the walk had lots of fun trudging along the dirt trail and letting their imagination run wild!

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Waiting to be teleported to another realm. Photo by Chloe Tan.

Everybody learned new things on this fun-filled walk. We shared our passion for nature in different ways, be it through photography, nature education or simply loving the great outdoors. Let us do what we can to help conserve Singapore’s Nature Reserves for the generations to come!

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Group 1 with their guide, Amanda Lek (front row, first from left). Photo by Amanda Lek.

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Group 2 with their guide, Claire Jonquieres (second from left). Photo by Joyce Wong.

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Group 3 with their guide, Chloe Tan (back row, right). Photo by Chloe Tan.

Find out more about the Love MacRitchie movement here. See more photos of the walk on Facebook.

Highlights of the June Love MacRitchie Walk

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A pleasant walk through the shady forest. Photo by Jensen Seah.

It had been a week of scorching hot weather so a walk through the shady forest was a much welcomed respite from the urban heat. Three Toddycats and 18 participants turned up at Venus Loop on 11 Jun 2017 to observe the wildlife in MacRitchie Forest and discuss the conservation issues surrounding the proposed Cross Island MRT Line.

The animals in the forest were going about their usual activities and we got to observe them really up close! There was a jumping spider was hopping around a plant, probably hunting for its breakfast. We got to see its huge pair of forward-facing eyes that helps it judge distance better so it can accurately pounce on its prey. A Common Flashwing damselfly (Vestalis amethystina) was basking on a sunny spot at our eye level, its purple wings shimmering beautifully. One group also spotted a headless Golden-spotted Tiger Beetle (Cicindela aurulenta)! We wonder who the gruesome predator was.

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Jumping spider. Photo by Jensen Seah.

 

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Common Flashwing (V. amethystina). Photo by Jensen Seah.

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Golden-spotted Tiger Beetle (C. aurulenta). Photo by Joleen Chan.

The birds also came out to play. A Dark-necked Tailorbird (Orthotomus atrogularis) came unusually close to the trail, prancing about the foliage. There was a Greater-racket Tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus) that was singing at the top of its funky metallic voice too!

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Dark-necked Tailorbird (O. atrogularis). Photo by Jensen Seah.

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Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (D. paradiseus). Photo by Chloe Tan.

Some of us saw a leaf-like object glide across the trail and perch on a dead tree trunk. Upon a closer look, it turned out to be a Black-bearded Gliding Lizard (Draco melanopogon)! A handsome male was showing off its black throat flap, possibly in an attempt to get the attention of a female that was on the same trunk. Nearby, a Plantain Squirrel (Callosciurus notatus) was very busy collecting nesting materials.

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Black-bearded Gliding Lizard (D. melanopogon). Photo by Chloe Tan.

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Plantain Squirrel (C. notatus). Photo by Chloe Tan.

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Tak Wei from BES Drongos does some sharing. Photo by Joleen Chan.

On this walk, we felt with our own skin the profound importance of forests in climate regulation. Our biggest lesson of the day was that we depend on the forests of our Nature Reserves as much as the animals do! A big thank you to the guides and participants for the lovely morning adventure!

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Group 1 with their guide, Joleen (on right). Photo by Joleen Chan.

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Group 2 with their guide, Claire (on right). Photo by Claire Jonquieres.

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Group 3 with their guide, Chloe (third from right). Photo by Chloe Tan.

Find out more about the Love MacRitchie movement here. See more photos of the walk on Facebook or Flickr.