Category Archives: exhibitions

Join us as a Toddycats volunteer at Festival of Biodiversity 2017!

19264266751_f72272bb20_kHave a treasure-trove of nature-related stories but not sure who to share them with? Come join the NUS Toddycats at the Festival of Biodiversity 2017! This annual event aims to create awareness and promote efforts in conserving and enhancing our local biodiversity. Check out various recounts of past years’ Festival of Biodiversity events!

Where: NEX Serangoon

When: 27–28 May 2017

Not sure if you have enough stories to tell? Fret not. There will be two training sessions this year (volunteers need only to attend one) to equip volunteers with nature tales on the specimens on display this year.

In addition, volunteers with NUS Toddycats this year will have a chance to embark on not one, but TWO nature walks for an immersive experience in our natural habitats before we gear up for FOB 2017!

If you have a passion for our natural heritage, and want to lend a voice to our local biodiversity, sign up here: tinyurl.com/fob-volunteer2017.

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NUS Toddycats at the Festival of Biodiversity, 27-28 Jun 2015!

27 & 28 Jun 2015 – NUS Toddycats were out in full force at the Festival of Biodiversity – a team of 69 volunteers, doing eight shifts over two days engaged the public at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) and International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS) booths at Vivocity from 10am to 10pm!

DAY 1 (27th June 2015)
At 7.30AM, the first shift of Toddycats arrived at Vivocity and in an hour, set up booths, put up posters and tables and arranged the carefully transported specimens from the museum.

The Festival was graced by MOS Desmond Lee, who launched the Marine Conservation Action Plan, to better protect Singapore’s marine ecosystems. After the Festival had been officially opened, Mr Lee walked around the Central Court to visit the booths!

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The Specimen Transport Team at the LKCNHM Loading Bay

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Toddycats engaging the crowd at the LKCNHM booth

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Teaching children about Singapore’s amazing marine biodiversity!

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One of the Toddycats sharing storis with MOS Desmond Lee about plant specimens.

After the official opening, the crowd continued to visit the booths. Toddycats regaled the public with stories about the specimens and answered questions.

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The Common Palm Civet Intern, Claudia Ang, with the juvenile Civet specimen.

The Toddycats also had two Bug Boxes on display, to highlight bugs of Singapore and fascinating visitors with stories!

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Bugs are cool!

At the end of Day 1, as we packed up, some Toddycats were still going strong after 12 hours!

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Sofina Ng talks about the baby dugong to a visitor even as the specimens are being packed away!

DAY 2
Day 2 began with fresh faces arriving to help set-up! Re-energized, the volunteers continued to engage the public. The crowd was large and relentless. Many families and groups approached us with pertinent questions about Singapore’s biodiversity.

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The crowd was relentless, but the Toddycats were up to the challenge!

Once again, volunteers were excited to share stories about wildlife in Singapore. Toddycats were also selling tickets for the Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium IV.

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Lynn Ng, the Toddycats-SG50 Intern manning the BoSS IV Booth!

Many people who were interested to find out more about recent happenings in Singapore’s Green Scene came by to buy tickets, and we look forward to seeing them at the event in a month’s time!

Toddycat volunteers themselves loved the specimens and displays.

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Alvin Wong posing with the Bug Box!

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Erin Tan, holding the massive fruit cluster of the Nipah Palm!

The Festival of Biodiversity was also an opportunity for Toddycats to meet up which one another again.

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A Toddycats reunion!

At the end of the Day 2, the remaining volunteers packed up the specimens and took stock. But not before arming ourselves with a favourite specimen for a group photo.

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NUS Toddycats have been active participants of the annual Festival of Biodiversity. Although always exhausting, it is one of the most meaningful outreach efforts we are part of. We certainly look forward to the Festival of Biodiversity 2016!

Festival of Biodiversity Training!

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Many volunteers, raring to go!

20 June 2015 – In preparation for the massive outreach operation which is the Festival of Biodiversity @ Vivocity NUS Toddycats conducted a training session for exhibition guides at the Learning Lab @ Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum. Specimens for the training were brought out and distributed to the various stations of Freshwater, Marine and Mangrove ecosystem, Herptiles, Mammals and Insects.

Once the more than 70 volunteers were present, Joelle Lai introduced volunteers to the Festival, our operational procedure and introduced the trainers.

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Joelle Lai introducing the Festival

Volunteers joined their station of interest and examined individual specimens, were taught how to share information about it with the general public queries and asked questions. Each volunteer was trained to handle two stations.

After a sumptuous lunch, volunteers tried speaking about a specimen each to the audience of fellow guides and received feedback from trainers about accuracy and technique.

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Time to put what they learnt to the test.

Toddycats at the Faculty of Science Open House (17 May 2014)

There is a good three months or so of vacation between the final exams and the start of the new academic year here in NUS.

Besides taking a well deserved break and pursuing shelved-for-the-holidays-projects, this is also a good time to start preparing for the Festival of Biodiversity! Last year, we participated in two NUS events to warm up before FoB, the Faculty of Science Open House on 18 May and the Faculty of Science Alumni day, dubbed Science on Saturday on 8 June.

For this year’s Open House, the Toddycats were very quick to register our interest with Ann Nee at the Department of Biological Sciences Office – even before details were officially released! As our usual stomping ground, Life Science Lab 7 was not available, we had to look for other venues. Fortunately, Mrs Ang from LS Lab 2 kindly allowed us use of the lab and it proved to be a great alternative.

A call for help saw 25 Toddycats sign up to help out and we spent the previous Monday evening at LS Lab 2 at a training workshop for the event. There were six stations in all, with each station helmed by an experienced guide, ready to share stories and guiding tips with some of the new Toddycats. Each person had to be familiar with two stations by the end of the training session. This will be a useful start and a base to move on to other stations over time.

On Open House Day, we met earlier to organise ourselves and set up the various stations. Tze Kwan and Weiting worked out who was going to demo at which station based on their training from Monday. A short lunch break, some last minute revisions and we were good to receive the first of two groups who had signed up for the Life Science tour!

In total, we spoke to 140 prospective students and parents over two sessions. In addition to speaking about the specimens on hand, the undergrad experiences of the Toddycats came in pretty handy too! We shared with our guests (especially the more inquisitive parents) the various options leading to a Life Science major, as well as personal undergraduate stories in general. I hope we gave our visitors a good perspective and overarching understanding of a degree in Life Science  in the hour they were in the lab!

Many thanks to Oi Yee, Ivan, Marcus, Weiting, David, Amanda, Tze Kwan, Yi Yong, Joleen, Wei Han, Ambert, Kwi Shan Claudia, Mioa Shan, Kar Mun, Letchumi, Bokai, Joanna, Erin, Prab, Joys, Lesley, Hazel and Navneeth for signing up to help, and Ann Nee, Mrs Ang for your support!

For more pictures, see our flickr set here.

Two photo albums from the Festival of Biology 2013

Joelle and Peter say “Thank you Toddycats!” – for the awesome effort at the Festival of Biodiversity!

As the dust settles over the Festival of Biodiversity and we huddle over debriefs and enjoy the photos, all of us want to congratulate the priceless contribution and enthusiastic performance of the volunteers from various groups who were there.

Debby Ng of Pulau Hantu, who is veteran guide at such festivals, tweeted that she teared over the spirit of enthusiasm and joy which greeted the public there.

In Toddycats, many of the young team served on recent exhibitions at NUS Open House and Faculty of Science Alumni Day. Those smaller events were a warm up to this very large Festival on 14-14 Jul 2013 @ Vivocity by NParks and the Biodiversity Roundtable, which was so much larger, it threatened to overwhelm us at some point.

In the end, several thousand members of public were provided an insight to biodiversity from the comfort of a shopping centre each day. Mission accomplished, and this is just the beginning!

Festival of Biodiversity 2013 Day 2 (14 July 2013) - a set on Flickr

As we reflect on the many people who helped, Toddycats coordinator Dr Joelle Lai who worked tirelessly over two days, wrote to the Toddycats:

“Hello Toddycats!

It has been a hectic weekend, but what a weekend! Thank you all for coming forward and putting yourselves out there to promote Singapore’s wonderful natural heritage to visitors at the Festival of Biodiversity!

Right now, I have a list of special mentions here. Thanks go out to:

The Transport & Logistics team for coming ahead and staying behind each day of the festival to help us set up and pack! Desmond and his awesome Hiace van kept our specimens safe and dry, especially on Sunday when it rained on the way to and back from Vivocity. Marcus Chua drove the the department pick up truck. Between the two vehicles we had plenty of room to transport everything we needed!

Chee Kong, Bin Qi from TMSI happened to drop by to show support for FoB and were arrowed on the spot to help with the show and tell trolley. 🙂 Thanks for being the “Last-minute-kena-nominated” guides. It was much appreciated!

Toddy cats who turned up unannounced to help out – Christopher, Benjamin, November, Airani, Wei Han, and most (if not all) of you for staying way beyond your allocated shifts to help when we were overwhelmed by visitors.

I never thought I’d see the day but Ivan and David talked till their voices were hoarse!

Maxine and Jonathan for anchoring the Microscope Station! It was quite a huge hit with everyone! They just loved peering down the microscope and seeing little copepods zipping about in the petri dishes. Hooray for plankton!

Photographers Marcus Ng, Kenneth Pinto and Andy Dinesh for capturing the action at the festival. Our flickr sets (Day 1 & Day 2) comprises almost a thousand photos.

If you have pictures and want to contribute to the set, please send them to me via http://wetransfer.com.

Chay Hoon, Weiting and Tze Kwan for anchoring the workshops at Kopsia corner. It was very popular with the little ones!

Ria Tan for having generously supplied us with the fun and furry festival mascots which added lots of colour and good cheer!

Siva, Weiting and Tze Kwan for helping out with the planning and logistics involved. The festival would not be possible without you.

You guys did the museum proud and were shining ambassadors for RMBR. We couldn’t have asked for a better bunch of people to represent us. There were plenty of compliments from members of the public who noted the Toddycats made the difference by guiding them through the various specimens on display. The positive energy emanating from you was infectious!

Thanks everyone!”

cheers
Joelle

And Museum director Professor Peter Ng immediately responded,

“Hi Joelle

Please send my thanks and regards to your whole team! They have done a FANTASTIC job … From what I saw, and from what various folks have been giving me feedback – the museum team has had an extraordinarily successful outing. So congrats and a job very very well done!!!!!

Peter”

Recruitment to maintain an energetic frontline of Toddycats @ Festival of Biodiversity 2013!

The second Festival of Biodiversity organised by NParks in conjunction with the Biodiversity Roundtable will be held at Vivocity on 13th & 14th July 2013.

These informal sharing sessions are an important exercise in public education and a great way for Toddycats to come into contact fellow Singaporeans. This has been a tradition for us since Museum Fest 2002.

We have always worked hard to ensure a decent crew of volunteers at exhibitions. This way we present enthusiastic and fresh faces to the public!

It will be an exhilarating time for both the guides and pour visitors, and we talk until hoarse so the constant shift changes ensure our front line is always energetic and ready for action!

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We are a little short-handed in the evenings as well as the early morning setup on Saturday, so Toddycats Coordinator Joelle Lai who is managing this event will continue working hard at recruitment!

If you can join us for a four hour shift during the weekend, sign up here or email us at toddycats@rafflesmuseum.net. Our biology alumni are welcome too – it won’t be difficult to catch up with content and guiding techniques to share your passion with the public that day!

For the undergraduates and newbies, we are conducting a training session on Sat 6th July to prepare the crew for showtime the following week.

These may be some of the most important conversations we’ll have with our fellow Singaporeans, amidst the hustle and bustle of Vivocity!

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