09 May 2009

Terrific time at Treasures of our 'Wastelands'

I was really looking forward to Bian Tan's sharing about our treasured 'wasteland' plants during November's latest Leafmonkey Workshop last night.
There was already a beautifully hand-drawn poster of the talk at the classroom entrance when I arrived!
After an introduction by November,It was time to listen to the 'Treasure Seeker' himself! Bian shared lots about about succession and pioneer plants, and we discussed issues like climax plants. With plenty of contributions too from the audience.Bian also shared about alien invasive species. Some were really scary like this blown up photo of a mite. Yikes! He also shared how some of our native plants can misbehave when they end up elsewhere. He described how a tame fern that is a delicate tendrilled creeper at home can turn into something that looks like green slime from Mars. With a photo that was creepy in all senses of the word.
Bian then conducted sharing sessions with some of our favourite 'wasteland' plants. Such as the Simpoh air, a large leaved plant which has been given a very rude name by our NS-serving guys (just ask one such person if you want to know the name).
And the Killer Albizia tree which is actually quite pretty and it's not its fault that it tends to drop a branch or two.
Bian had also brought along a huge variety of these plants so that we could look at them, and touch them.
And sniff them: the Basil-like fragrance of our common Cinnamomum tree.And taste them! Apparently Simpoh air petals have the flavour of coconut.

Bian shared a very inspiring analogy for our 'wastelands' of pioneer plants. Pioneer plants are the first to colonise a disturbed area, affected by natural or man-made destruction. They act like a scab over a wound on the earth to promote healing. What a lovely thought!
Soon it was time to Workshop!! Everyone gathered together to figure out ways to share about these under-appreciated plants.Using the specimens Bian brought to think of new ways to make these precious plants interesting to ordinary people.Sometimes it helps to put on a thinking cap. A green one helps even more.
Then it was time for Action! As everyone sportingly role played both guides and visitors.We explained some of the useful and interesting features of these plants.Simpoh air can be used to wrap tempeh.
The broad leaves also serve as a fan, as Marcus in the role of an elderly visitor demonstrates.Marcus also took on the role of the reluctant Primary School visitor.
Who hesitates when asked to feel the prickly Mimosa plant.November shares about the plight of her Very Hungry but Swine Flu-Free Golden Pig.The Workshops are free but donations are requested to cover room rental and other costs.All too soon, it was time to go home. With many new jokes, analogies, information to share with our visitors on our next walk!

And to look forward to the upcoming workshops!

5 June 2009 . 7pm - 10pm
Get Web with Singapore Spiders
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3 Jul 2009 . 7pm - 10pm
Pulau Ubin Stories: History and Geography
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1 comment:

  1. the beautiful poster at the door is drawn by Bian and Marcus :)



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