05 November 2011

Community in Nature: an exciting new outreach effort!

Karen Teo tells us more about this exciting new way to reach out to Singaporeans about our very own biodiversity!
Volunteers with NParks gathered this morning to learn and share about Community in Nature; a programme to inspire individuals, community groups and organisations to take part in nature awareness activities. The programme was first launched during the Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium III.

I love this timely and much needed programme. Reaching out especially to ordinary people who may not have been exposed to our wild places yet. The idea is not just raise awareness but also to inspire action. The programme hopes to work in synergy with on-going as well as new action taken by individuals and groups. So there's lots of ways for everyone to take part: whether as a newbie or a diehard nature fan! I'm very excited to learn that the programme will be run in schools!
There is actually already a wide range of activities that achieve many of the aims of the Community in Nature programme. These include guided walks, workshops in nature, habitat restoration, and monitoring programmes. With the Community in Nature framework, there can be better synergy and even more can be done.
The other exciting aspect of the Community in Nature programme is that it will transcend artificial boundaries and go wherever wild places are! Hurray!
After Karen's thought provoking and inspiring briefing, Mendis Tan shared more about a programme to share more about boring brown migratory birds with ordinary people. Pilot tested last year, the Public Bird Census at Sungei Buloh was a great success!
Lots and lots of these shore birds visit Sungei Buloh (and our other shores) during the August-March migratory period. Unlike our more familiar resident birds that live in trees all year round, it's tricky to use feather patterns and colours only to identify these shore birds. All these birds below are of the same species! This is because these shore birds have two different 'dresses'. A fancier one when they just arrive and when they are about to leave, and a plain and boring one the rest of the time when they are here.
And many different species look very similar!!
Mendis gave lots of tips on how to distinguish the birds. From the relative size of the bill (not beak) to the head, to the colour of the bill and legs and feet. These make us look more closely at these awesome birds that fly all the way from the Arctic Circle to Australia and back every year! More about why they do this.
We sure have amazing wildlife! But it takes effort to learn about them, and to share them with others. But once we know a little more, we want to know a lot more. And then we grow to love them! And that's what the Community in Nature programme is all about!

There isn't a web space for Community in Nature yet, but you can learn more about Singapore's biodiversity from the Celebrating Singapore's Biodiversity blog and facebook page. For a list of nature happenings throughout Singapore, see the wildsingapore happenings blog updated every week. And here's more about volunteering for nature in Singapore on the wildsingapore website.

Here's more media articles about the Community in Nature programme from the wildsingapore news blog.

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