03 October 2009

Nature guides get sluggish at a naked workshop

Chay Hoon our super slugger, who can not only spot miniscule slugs but also knows lots and lots about them, shared about slugs at last night's Leafmonkey Workshop: "The Naked Truth and Other Sluggish Affairs"
Wow, we sure learnt a lot about these curious creatures!

What a treat! Chay Hoon had meticulously recreated models of our favourite slugs for the session! And they were anatomically correct too. Well, except for those with cute googly eyes...haha.
The participants are fascinated by them!
We sure had a great crowd at the workshop! November, who runs the workshops, kicked off the session.
Chay Hoon shared lots of details. First, what are NOT slugs!
Then, lots and lots about what slugs are, especially our favourites: Nudibranchs. Their parts, what they eat, how they reproduce, how to find them. Yah, finding them can be tricky and no one can do it as well as Chay Hoon!
Chay Hoon provided plenty of information and useful tips, which was well noted by the participants.
As nature guides, we also face some tricky situations. Should we handle slugs? When and how? We had an interesting discussion of these, with participants sharing about some issues.
Then it was time for the WORKshop. Participants put up a great show for the first activity. Focusing on charades of slug behaviour.
We act out the behaviour and the rest have to guess what it is.
Nudibranchs of course have rhinophores, which is why many of the groups had 'horns' on their heads. This is a tricky charade of nudibranch sex. Haha, you had to be there to see this.
And slugs eat stuff too!
After a fun warm up, we settled down for MORE work. This time to role play sharing slugs. We used Chay Hoon's wonderful models. Here's the group discussing how to share about the pretty orange spotted slugs.
Another group dealing with sea hares. It was great to have many sluggy books brought in by Chay Hoon for everyone to look at.
The groups were also assigned types of visitors to share the slugs with, focusing on some 'problem' groups we typically face as guides.

One challenging type of visitors include RC groups. Mr and Mrs Tan here, put in a great show as the persistent aunties and uncles often found in such groups. And we discussed how to share effectively with them. These visitors are often lively and can be great fun!
And Ivan sharing the giant Melibe with primary school kids. The rest of the participants had fun being annoying primary school kids.
We also talked about sharing with groups of 'foreign marine biologists' - who are actually usually not as scary as they seem; 'three generation group' and 'marine aquarium enthusiasts'.

The activities get scored by the participants. And today, the groups found exciting names for themselves. The Nembrothus group choosing theirs because these nudis eat other nudis. Scary.
We were very fortunate to have Ivan Choong of Divebooks to provide nudi and marine life books for sale at a special discount to participants. Thanks Ivan!
All too soon, it was time for the session to end. Alas, I forgot to take a group photo.
This activity is based on donations by participants. And November's money pig has shrunk today! It needs more feeding.
It was a great session as usual. With a fabulous talk by Chay Hoon and hearty participation by everyone. And those so-cute slug models! Having books on sale was a special treat too.

The Leafmonkey workshops are run by guides for guides. It is non-denominational and does not represent and is not restricted to any group. It focuses on sharing and learning together. Sessions are usually held on the first Friday of the month.

Visit the Leafmonkey Workshop for upcoming sessions, including a blogging workshop in November and I got the arrow to do the mollusc workshop in December.

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