22 August 2014

Sharing Chek Jawa with Wheelock College

I learnt more about my favourite Pulau Ubin from Faizah Jamal, who Speaks for the Trees!
And had a great time sharing Chek Jawa with early childhood educators from Wheelock College yesterday!

Here's the happy team leaving the mainland in the morning. Faizah is introducing them to nature and environment issues in Singapore. I'm so glad she's included Pulau Ubin and Chek Jawa as a field trip for them.
We were a huge group of about 40! When we arrived at Chek Jawa, we glimpsed two young wild boar piglets, and we pondered about the origin of rubber trees and the importance of agricultural crops in early Singapore.
Oh! Lots of rambutans on the ground means...
...there are rambutans in the trees. Often, monkeys can be seen harvesting the fruits in the trees, while wild boar follow them below to snuffle up fallen fruits.
Wild Ixora only blooms seasonally and their orange flowers brighten up the forest.
I managed to climb all the way up the Jejawi Tower which has a great view of the mountains of Johor, Malaysia as well as Pulau Tekong. We also saw a white bellied sea eagle, some swifts and had a look at the differences between mangroves, forests and coastal forest.
Of course, the top of the Tower is a great spot for a group photo. Here's the friendly and enthusiastic team that were in my group.
On the way down, the team spotted what looks like a child's poncho that was probably tossed from the Tower. Although heart-breaking such sightings are an opportunity to share about marine litter how we can do our part to keep our environment clean.
We had a great time exploring the back mangroves that I forgot to take photos. As usual, we saw the Nipah palms, the team spotted Tree climbing crabs, a Giant mudskipper, a grasshopper. We pondered about the 'volcanoes' made by mud lobsters and their importance to the back mangroves. We had a look at various kinds of mangrove tree roots as well as their amazing seedlings.
At the seaward side, we saw lots of Fiddler crabs as well as some Sand bubbler crabs. We also saw small Gold-spotted mudskippers, Yellow spotted mudskippers and a Giant mudskipper. Andrew pointed out a Blue-spotted mudskipper!
Uncle Andrew Tay from Cicada Tree Eco Place was leading the other half of the group!
We also had a brief look a the rocky shore. Here, we also had a look at the mangrove tree that makes it possible for us to enjoy durians.
Andrew explains about the huge fig tree that we see towards the end of the walk.
We had a brief stop to admire one of the quarries that dot Pulau Ubin, reminders of the island's key industry in the past.
Thanks to Faizah, we had a brief but educational and thought-provoking stop at an authentic Malay kampung home.
In the background, this is Kamariah Abdullah's home in Ubin Kampung which is about 100 years old and still in use.
Faizah also brought us to the German Girl Shrine to learn more about the unique traditions and stories that have taken root at Pulau Ubin.
While we were there, a little van drove up with a bevy of wildly happy dogs. They left with the van.
We also had a brief stop and look at the microgrid set up at Ubin which since Oct 2013 has been providing electricity to all homes and businesses at Ubin Town. Here's more about it when I attended a briefing by Daily Life Renewable Energy (DLRE) during the Imagine Ubin Leafmonkey Workshop session.

Thanks to all the kind students who listened so attentively and laughed at my lame jokes. And thank you Faizah for letting me be a part of this.

Links to more about Pulau Ubin (thanks to the Leafmonkey Workshop)


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