Monday, July 27, 2009

World Envronment Day 2009

5th Jun 09 was World Environment Day. The bank celebrates this day with a chain of activities, including an excursion to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve with 100+ children, led by 20+ GVs, to learn more about nature and conservation.

As early as 8am, Seraya room was filled with excitement (and noise) . In fact the parents were probably more excited (and worried) than the children.
We set off at about 930am and soon arrived at our destination. Together with 4 colleagues, our day with our Malayan Water Monitor Lizard group commenced with a video presentation of Sungei Buloh, followed by a guided walk.
Many plants were blooming that morning, including the Sea Hibiscus (Hibiscus tiliaceus). We can expect the yellow flowers to fade to dull orange-red if we return that same evening/ next morning.
The Simpoh Ayer (Dillenia suffruticosa) whose flowers also open and fall within a day, was also fruiting and flowering. The children who initially thought that its flowers were pink, were amazed that thats actually the fruit. Not sure why all my pictures are predominantly of plants, I'm quite sure we met the other residents such as Mudskippers (f. Gobiidae), tree climbing (episesarma spp.) and fiddler crabs ( uca annulipes). Its always a challenge to take photos while I'm guiding, can't multi task very well, can I?
Heres a picture of team members resting at the mangrove boardwalk, looking quite tired and certainly very hungry (noticed the food?).
After lunch, the mangrove amazing race/ adventure began. Teams were tasked to visit 5-6 stations for hands-on activities in addition to completing worksheets. While it tested the group's team spirit, the key objective was really to help them understand the importance of conserving the mangroves, and environment.
For eg, at one station (see pict below), teams learnt that mangroves protect the coast and is home to many marine animals. This station also highlighted the medicinal uses of mangrove species as teams had to match the medicinal uses to the respective parts of the mangrove species (with the help of very comprehensive guidesheets, of course).
Back at the HQ office, teams then had to prepare for a group presentation on the team's mascot.

Our group were able to relate better to our topic, because they had more than 1 encounter with their mascot, the Malayan Water Monitor Lizard (Varanus salvator) that day.
Our group members were rather shy though, but I must agree that it can be really daunting for a 7 year old to speak in front of a crowd (100+, for that matter). In the end, the volunteers helped to piece some information together for them to narate:
- The Malayan monitor is the one of the largest lizards in the world
- They eat basically anything - from crabs to fishes to even carcasses
- Excellent sense of smell thanks to its fork tongue
- Often bask in the sun as its cold blooded
- Generally not dangerous, so don't throw stones at them 'cause they are just basking in the sun

I was exhausted at the end of the day, and as usual, am amazed with the amount of energy in a young child (days like this, I really feel old!). Nonetheless, it was heartwarming to hear their positive feedback (less the hot weather). One of my colleagues' girl wrote in her diary, reflecting on W.E.D:
"I learnt that my every small effort can help to save the Earth"