20 March 2010

Morning with NParks volunteers at the Wallace Education Centre

This rainy morning, I was at the Wallace Education Centre at the new Dairy Farm Nature Park.
I just love the cows! Besides the big one on the lawn, there's another peeking out from the building!

I was here to attend the NParks Volunteer Dialogue. Fortunately, Brandon was with me or I wouldn't have found the way to the Centre.
Without Brandon, I would also have missed the two drongos that he spotted, as well as the macaques! Later on, I also heard the call of the Straw-headed bulbul! The trail has interesting signs explaining things like "Who was Wallace?"
The Wallace Education Centre is also the location of the Wallace Environmental Learning Lab (WELL) a holistic programme where students discover Singapore's natural heritage through interesting hands-on activities. The Centre is well equipped with audio-visual stuff, microscopes, a reading corner and worksheets.
According to the Nparks website, WELL will enable students to explore the trails of Dairy Farm, and conduct research such as water, soil, rock, and insect studies, and carry out data analysis at the Lab.

And indeed, the Centre had ample displays such studies. Here's some seed pods that were obviously investigated.
And on the walls, the colourful results of some of their study.
With some 'cheem' looking tables too.
I like the butterfly display.
Because it includes caterpillars too! This Centre will be well used in the recent launch of Place-based Education where schools conduct programmes allowing student interaction with our environment!
There is also an interpretative centre where visitors can learn about the changing landscapes of Dairy Farm and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve through various exhibits.
There's a running video highlighting some of the issues impacting our forests and wildlife. Like why we shouldn't feed the monkeys.
And even a stuffed tiger. Oh dear. It is sad to know that we have lost our tigers. And that in Singapore, tiger parts continue to be sold.
There is a regular volunteer guided tour of the Wallace Education Centre every second Saturday. The next one is on 10 Apr.

Before the Volunteer Dialogue started, there was breakfast snacks. Including a 'cow-cake'!
We had exciting and inspiring presentations on some key developments. Karen shared about plans for a more coordinated approach for all volunteers serving with NParks Conservation Division. And here's our cool vision and mission statement!
While James shared the new Sungei Buloh Master Plan. I'm particularly excited about the plans for Kranji Nature Trail (KNT).
There are new themes for KNT which will provide opportunities for more people to learn and enjoy our mangroves and shores.
With a chance to get really close to mud!
Coastal boardwalks to enjoy the view and see our shores at all tides.
And a viewing tower. As well as a mangrove canopy walk, and lots more. A public exhibition of these plans will be launched at Sungei Buloh on 8 May. If you are already a Sungei Buloh volunteer, your views on the Plans are being sought at upcoming feedback sessions.
Then Genevieve shared with us the plans to rejoin Bukit Timah Nature Reserve with the Central Nature Reserve by building a bridge over the BKE. The highway has cut off the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, its wildlife and plants and this is not good for the long term health of the forest there.
So it's awesome to know that plans are going well to reconnect our last remaining rainforests.
Genevieve's cartoon says it all. More about this bridge.
The bridge will be built quite close to the Dairy Farm Nature Park, so this site will become quite an important area.
Then we had a great dialogue session to discuss all kinds of issues.
It's certainly an exciting time to be a nature volunteer!

To join NParks as a volunteer, visit their webpage. Here's some of the volunteer opportunities at the NParks Conservation Division:
  • Reforestation - Lead or join a group to restore degraded areas by removing aggressive weeds or planting native trees.
  • Plant propagation - Lead or join a group to propagate native plants and maintain the plants
  • Educational activities - Design or facilitate activities that create awareness and appreciation of the importance of protecting the nature reserves.
  • Field research/ surveys - Assist in collecting data for research projects and other field surveys.
  • Visitor services - To provide general information to visitors over the information counter at our Parks
  • Publications - Write articles about our parks/gardens/nature reserves and its volunteer activities for NParks newsletter and volunteer blog.
  • Design and artwork - Provide design services for our promotional and educational materials.
  • Photography - Help enhance our digital photo collection on the flora and fauna of the nature reserves for documentation and publication purposes and to take photos during events.
  • Computer work - Data entry.

More links


  1. The 'Cow Cake' is so Dairy Farm ;-) It's delicious too!

    BTW, to make things difficult for you Ria, I am no longer using the name Genevieve. Back to the name my father gave me: Yen Kheng (Yen for short) ;-)

  2. Yeah, I loved the 'Cow Cake' and other cakes too. Alright then Yen! It's good to have you back home again! I certainly missed you.

  3. Awesome event! It is so cool to have such passionate people gathered together doing great stuffs for conservation.

    Well done! We have lots to learn from you.



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