Category Archives: training

Toddycats’ prepare for Festival of Biodiversity 2017 – this time, a forest walk at the MacRitchie forest!

NUS Toddycats hit the trail again, in preparation for the Festival of Biodiversity 2017. The annual celebration of Singapore’s biodiversity by members of the Biodiversity Roundtable of Singapore with NParks will present a two day event of talks and exhibitions at Serangoon NEX on 27-28 May 2017: 10.30am – 10.30pm.

Toddycats’ seniors conducted the second of three training sessions (two field trips and a lab session) which last saw them at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. With the exams over, 21 joned the training today which was conducted by Sean Yap, Joleen Chan, Erin Tan, Marcus Ng, Alvin Wong & Claire Jonquieres.

During the training, seniors shared stories about insects, mammals, birds and reptiles, and about themes such as flight and gliding in the tropical rainforest, forest fragmentation, human-animal conflict such as the macaque culls and the recent year of the rooster red jungle fowl fiasco and invasive species introductions.

Animal life helped out with a Draco gliding to a tree, a flatworm everting its gut to digest a snail, ants tapping mealybugs for honeydew, barklice spinning a silk layer around tree trunk like cling wrap, and a stalk-eyed fly chasing off another fly with a dramatic display. And they were bedazzled by a colugo, resting just three metres above the ground!

Chloe is mesmerised!

Shhh, a resting colugo (a nocturnal forest denizen)

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Training in small groups along the trail

Thanks to Chloe & Weiting who organised this session, and Alvin for highlights!
For photos from the walk, see Toddycats’ Flickr album and Alvin’s Flickr album.

Otters and crocs @ Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve – Toddycats gear up for Festival of Biodiversity in May

We are counting down to Festival of Biodiversity 2017 which is a month away! This annual celebration of Singapore’s biodiversity by members of the Biodiversity Roundtable of Singapore with NParks will present the two day event at at Serangoon NEX on 27-28 May 2017: 10.30am – 10.30pm.

To prepare our crew, Toddycats’ seniors are conducting three training sessions (two field trips and a lab session) which fittingly began on Earth Day last Saturday 22 Apr 2017 at our precious mangrove reserve, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. The field trips will help bring the magic of our natural areas to the shopping centre to encourage

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With undergrads slogging away for the exams, the cosy session of 12 Toddycats was split into four small groups, each led by an experienced Toddycats senior – Amy Choong, Alvin Wong, Marcus Ng, and Theresa Su & Xu Weiting.

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What’s in the water? Theresa sharing form & function stories of halfbeaks and archer fishes from the main bridge.

Some groups were really lucky in the post-drizzle and saw the elusive black spitting cobra, a family of six smooth-coated otters and an estuarine crocodile.

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A family of six otters having their brunch at the Main Pond. Photo by Alvin Wong

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The two hours were filled with many observations and personal stories about the mangrove denizens, reminding us of the importance of mangroves , which we will share with the FOB2017 visitors.

Bring family and friends to FoB2017. Toddycats alone have recruited 50 volunteers to ensure we always have fresh faces eager and ready to share stories with visitors on the 27 & 28 May 2017. And there will be many nature groups there, with talks at the library by various working groups. A wonderful way to discover biodiversity in Singapore. See you there!

Festival of Biodiversity 2015
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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.

Kent Ridge Heritage Trail Walks – PART 2!

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Despite the rain forecast for Monday evening, 27 participants (and 7 guide trainees) joined us for our monthly walk along the Kent Ridge Heritage Trail!

Oi Yee set off with the first group, flanked by three trainees, Sankar, Ingsind and Becky. Right off the bat, Oi Yee wows the crowd by talking about a commonly seen but rarely noticed plant – Simpoh air

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As we walked along, we saw some red seeds scattered on the road. “Does anyone know what these are?” Oi Yee asked. One of the participants piped up, “Saga seeds!” Excitedly, Oi Yee explained how she used to play with the seeds as a girl.

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The participants walked around, picking up the seeds to get a closer look at them! DSC06952

Soon, we encountered Nepenthes gracilis, or slender pitcher plants, growing on the side of the road. These carnivorous plants trap insects in their pitcher-shaped modified leaf tips.

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Oi Yee also reminisced about how she used to walk the ridge in her younger days. She recounts how she used to sit on the stone wall and stare out to the sea. The wall itself was built by the British and still stands by the side of the road today!

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Oi Yee playfully talked about the Hibiscus, another beautiful plant that can be found on the Ridge.

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The walk ended at the Gap where we took a photo in the fading light, where the commemorative marble plaque marking the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Kent was laid.

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The third group led by N. Sivasothi aka Ottoman consisted of guide trainees Lynn, Cherry, Hui Zhen, and Zong Xian – eagerly started along the trail as Otterman describes to us the techniques of guiding on the ridge.

We started off revising self-introductions and giving a brief history of the ridge before learning more about the ecology and significance of some plants along the ridge! From the bright yellow flowers of Simpoh Air, to the sweet scent of crushed Smilax, the group of us strolled along Kent Ridge Road feverishly scribbling notes while pondering how best to describe the plant to future walk participants.

Otterman recounted his experiences with guiding the Kent Ridge Road and shared tips on how to engage the audience, with eight pairs of ears listening intently to his stories. It wasn’t long before the enjoyable walk ended at S2, and the group of us lingered by the stairs listening to his stories and getting poked to answer questions by his handy umbrella.

At the end of this impromptu training, we were left in awe at the rich history of the Ridge as well as the budding biodiversity of this small green patch in NUS.

More photos of our walk can be found on Flickr!

Would you like to find out more about this amazing trail right in NUS? Do keep a look out for our next walk!

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Brought to you by NUS Toddycats, volunteers with the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum as part of SG50 celebrations.

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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See, feel & experience biodiversity at Festival of Biodiversity

The long wait is almost over! The first ever Festival of Biodiversity is happening this weekend, on 26 & 27 May 2012 at the Botany Centre, Singapore Botanic Gardens, from 9am to 6pm. The Raffles Museum Toddycats have spent a fruitful evening preparing hard for this event, and now it’s your chance to come down to show us your support and learn more about Singapore’s fascinating biodiversity!

If you still have no inkling of what to expect at the Festival of Biodiversity,  this post will bring you a sneak preview of one of the most prominent and important exhibition booth – the Raffles Museum Toddycats booth! With a myriad of over 50 specimens on display, ranging from rarely-exhibited birds such as the collared kingfisher, barn owl and white-breasted waterhen to mammals such as the baby dugong, a pangolin and a taxidermized leopard cat, you will certainly be awed! Other interesting specimens such as the small-clawed otter, crabs and fishes will also come under the limelight during the festival.

Wondering what these are? Then check out our booth during the festival!

Our signature specimens are waiting to welcome you at the Festival of Biodiversity!

The training session this evening has successfully equipped our volunteers with  information on not only our specimens, but also on the general history of the Raffles Museum Toddycats! and other Toddycats activities, to better engage the public this weekend. So come on down to listen to what we have to share!

Our experienced Toddycat volunteer Oi Yee giving her take on specimens!

Our bird enthusiast, David sharing his insights on birds in Singapore

Besides our amazing array of specimens, there will be a line-up of exciting activities during the event, suitable for families and nature enthusiasts. Check out the Festival of Biodiversity blog and sneak video of “Singapore Got Wildlife, Meh?”. So what are you waiting for, do not miss out on this weekend’s nature bonanza! We look forward to seeing you at the Festival of Biodiversity!

Raffles Museum Toddycats at Singapore World Water Day @ Lor Halus Wetland (Sat 24 Mar 2012)

Be a part of the Raffles Museum Toddycats’ Exhibition Team this March! Join us on Saturday, 24th March 2012, as our team engages the public at the celebration of the Singapore World Water Day.

Singapore World Water Day will be commemorated over 13 Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters sites, Marina Barrage, and NEWater Visitors Centre on the same day. The excitement begins at Lorong Halus Wetland from 8am to 12pm, and the guest of honour for the event will be Deputy Prime Minister, Teo Chee Hean.

Raffles Museum Toddycats will showcase local freshwater and marine biodiversity. To name a few, do you know we have still have dugongs, crocodiles, dolphins and small-clawed otters in Singapore? We also have endemic freshwater crabs in our forest freshwater streams! In addition, we intend to interact with the public via other activities, such as a self-made magnetic board game (matching diet/habitat to animal) and wildlife 3D paper crafts (http://xinheritage.blogspot.com).

Toddycats will be having two shifts on Saturday 24 March 2012:

  • 0730 – 1000 Shift 1 (including booth set up)
  • 1000 – 1230 Shift 2 (including booth pack up)

What better way to spend a Saturday morning teaching about biodiversity than in the premises of nature itself? Come visit the Raffles Museum Toddycats! booth on the 24th March to learn more about Singapore’s aquatic biodiversity.

We will be bringing along our iconic dugong specimen!

Briefing and training
In preparation for this fun-filled event, a briefing and training session will be arranged on Thursday, 22 March 2012: 6.30pm @ DBS Lab 7 [Block S2, Level 3; map].

Volunteers will learn about the biology and other stories behind our museum specimens, paper crafts and activities while interacting with like-minded volunteers who share a passion for nature! Check out our previous training session, for an idea of what we do.

New Raffles Museum Toddycats volunteers learning about museum specimens

We are looking for people with the passion to share the wonders of nature with the masses and we will train those without the necessary background. We seek as much help as we can get, so if you are interested, please sign up with this form – http://tinyurl.com/toddycats-wwd24mar2012

Do join us this coming March and have a good week ahead!

For more information about the Singapore World Water Day, please visit: