06 December 2010

Volunteers Day with TeamSeagrass

5 Dec was International Volunteer Day and it was one of those days when I wished I could have been at all the exciting events going on at the same time.
But I was glad to spend the day with a very special group of volunteers, TeamSeagrass!

We had a glorious sunny afternoon at Pulau Semakau! Just as at Tanah Merah the day before, Tape seagrasses (Enhalus acoroides) on the vast meadows of Pulau Semakau were blooming! Everywhere, the water was dotted with floating tiny white male flowers.
Sadly, large areas of the shore were full of a fuzzy hairy slimey growth. It smothered seagrasses, corals and other life on the shore. Oh dear.
A closer look at the icky fuzzy growths.
The fuzzy growths forms mats and this patch of branching coral is totally smothered under such a mat.
A closer look at the hard coral under the mat of fuzzy growths. Besides corals affected by such mats, I didn't see many other bleaching corals on the shore.
There was still much life among the fuzzy growths. Such as this well camouflaged Hairy crab.
There were also many colourful sponges.
And other kinds of marine life.
Another sad encounter was a long abandoned driftnet.
These abandoned nets not only continue to trap animals such as crabs and fish, but also rub against and kill hard corals.
There were also abandoned fish traps on the shore. We didn't have enough time or hands to clear these things on our trip. But we have plans to make a special effort focusing on these threats.
Also noticed on the high shore were scummy films on the water which remind me of the scum I see on the oil-slicked Tanah Merah shores. Oh dear.
All too soon, the sun set, the tide turned and the volunteers headed home.
Also on at the same time on Pulau Semakau was a guided walk for the public led by Robert Heigermoser with long-time experienced guides such as Joseph Lai and KS Wong. It is only with the passionate services of such nature guides that more people can experience our shores.

Meanwhile on Sunday, another dedicated team of volunteers lead by November and Abigayle were manning two exhibits at the 100th anniversary celebrations of the Singapore Scout Association at Sarimbun Camp. They represented the volunteers from the Leafmonkey Workshop, the Naked Hermit Crabs and the Blue Water Volunteers! Andy had helped out at the event before he joined the TeamSeagrass trip. Here's his montage photo of the exhibit.
Other exciting volunteer events on Sunday included the special annual Sungei Buloh Anniversary Walk led by Sivasothi with the Raffles Museum Toddycats volunteers. In fact, Sean had guided at this walk before coming for the TeamSeagrass trip. Sean said they saw otters during the walk! Wow!

Also on Sunday was the big annual event for all NParks volunteers with guided walks and other celebrations at Chek Jawa and Pulau Ubin!

There sure are a lot of nature volunteers in Singapore, and many opportunities for ordinary people who want to make a difference for nature in Singapore. More about these volunteer opportunities on wildsingapore.

Others who posted about the trip to Cyrene Reef:

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