12 December 2009

Tall tentacle tales and superb snail stories

It was time once again for nature guides to get together at the Leafmonkey Workshop.
This time to share about our marvellous molluscs!

November gives an introduction to the event to a rather small but enthusiastic group of volunteers.
I was very lucky to get some help in gathering some mollusc parts so that participants could get literally get a feel of molluscs. From Mei Lin, we had some tiny Giant clam shells! These were the unfortunates that did not make it in her project to rear Giant clams. Read more about these and see great video clips of them on her blog. And Chay Hoon kindly saved some squid pens (the internal 'bone' that looks like a sliver of plastic) when her mum cooked some sotong for dinner.
There were also some other shore bits that were not molluscs, just to share what is and isn't a mollusc.

I had a great time sharing some basic facts about molluscs. Then we had lots of fun doing a critique of guiding styles and walk participant reactions in this hilarious Monty Python video clip.

It was the perfect video clip to illustrate some of the difficulties guides have in engaging visitors. As well as some pitfalls encountered when we try to make things too interesting.

Then it was time to break out and workshop some ideas to share about molluscs with some of our less 'favourite' types of visitors. For this session, November cooked up some challenging visitors. This group had to deal with a bunch of seafood lovers whose every second question is "Can eat or not?"
While another group had to deal with first time visitors to the shores who are sure to be squemish about everything and complain about all kinds of other things.
While the most challenging visitors were primary school students: being tackled by this group.
And here are the rest of the participants enthusiastically role playing primary school students to give them a hard time.
Wow, we sure had a great time and learnt all kinds of new jokes and analogies from one another. Many were marvellously made up on the spot! Fabulous!

This is the last of the workshops for 2009. But fear not, November has already come up with an exciting line-up of new monthly workshops for 2010!

And the first one in January is on our crabs by Tan Swee Hee, the crabbiest person I know. And I mean that in the nicest way. He is a scientist who studies crabs, but sadly is allergic to eating them. So his love for crabs is purely non-gastronomic. I can't wait for his workshop!

Check out the Leafmonkey Workshop and sign up for the mailing list or the facebook group for updates on these workshops.

More about Singapore's marvellous molluscs on the wildsingapore wild fact sheets, with links to lots of photos and stories about our molluscs, and special pages for nature guides.

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