Sat 09 Aug 2008 – Reef Celebrations! Launch of International Year of the Reef in Singapore

Reef Celebrations! Launch of International Year of the Reef in Singapore
Saturday 9th August 2008
Time: 10am-5pm
Venue: Function Hall, Botany Centre, Singapore Botanic Gardens
(above Taman Serasi foodcourt). How to get there.

Schedule of talks and activities

  • 10.30am: “Life and Death at Chek Jawa” sharing experiences of a study of mass deaths on Chek Jawa following flooding in 2007, a talk by Loh Kok Sheng.
  • 11.30am: “Wishing upon a Star” about our Knobbly sea stars, a recent emergence of baby Knobblies and discovery of a large population at Cyrene Reef, a talk by Tan Sijie, Star Trackers.
  • 12.30-1pm: MAD for turtles (make a difference for turtles) : Games for kids about threats to turtles and how kids can help, by Cicada Tree Eco-Place and the Raffles Institution with four stations. Suitable for kids aged 4-8 years.
  • 2pm: “Are there reefs left in Singapore?” lifting the veil to reveal the hidden biodiversity of this almost forgotten realm, a talk by Jeffrey Low, NParks Biodiversity Reference Centre.
  • 3pm: “Southern Haunt” about diving at Pulau Hantu, bringing clarity to the usually murky waters with underwater photos and videos, a talk by Debby Ng, Hantu Bloggers.
  • 4pm: “Green, Mean, Photosynthesizing Machines!” a talk by Yang Shufen, TeamSeagrass and NParks Biodiversity Reference Centre.

Lots more is going on – check the IYOR webpage.

ICC Bintan preparations underway

Our good friend Ranan Samanya from Bintan Resorts reports after their survey – it will be an easier time compared to 2007 as the trash load is now lower. The emphasis will also be on the effort to maintain cleanliness.

The Toddycats are looking forward to sending a team over to provide support and enjoy the camaraderie!

Lim Chu Kang mangrove cleanup w/Miss Earth Singapore 2008

After a flurry of emails the past couple of weeks between Anand (Miss Earth liason), Dewi (LCK Site Captain) and myself, we were really pleased to be heading down at Lim Chu Kang mangroves this morning. It was a pleasant journey spent chatting with the Miss Earth ladies and the nature/environment volunteers who came, including some of the ICCS organisers. We reached Lim Chu Kang road end at about 8.30am, and kept the fishermen and the military boys company for the morning.

The team comprised of Miss Earth Singapore contestants, Eco magazine writers who came long to interview them, and nature and environment volunteers from various groups in Singapore. Everyone toiled with good cheer and industry, working well together and removed more than 250kg of trash and bulky items relieving the mangrove of a considerable load.

Though we had meant to keep to the beach, several of us began venturing into the periphery of the mangroves which the trash line straddles. A lot more trash still persists but we will tackle this slowly and steadily over the next few years.

A large number of plastic bags were half buried in the sand and mud. This is due to the lack of frequent cleanups which allow the accreting sand to bury over time.

Another prominent item were ghost nets. One had trapped a couple of horseshoe crabs and we released the one that was still alive – it took quick work with a scissors brought specifically for such situations.

We were unable to remove most of the nets which had been half-buried. These posed less of a danger than fresh ghost nets so we will return another day with the proper set of tools to tackle these.

The biologists and naturalists present introduced some examples of mangrove life to the group – crabs, onchidiums, drills and other snails, mangrove plants and the horseshoe crab we saved. I took the opportunity to also chat with the ICCS organisers who had joined us that day – it was a relaxing session for them as it was worry free – unlike their ICCS session in September!


The mangrove introduction session also served as a rest and water break before we started hauling out the accumulated trash to the bin site. As we worked, the tide and rain clouds arrived at Lim Chu Kang. However, many hands made light work and the trash was directed out quickly for weighing and a final toss into the bin.





As we waited for the bus, we relaxed, changed and chatted. Major Gene Tan who had dropped in on the SAF guys on duty at Lim Chu Kang complimented us on the morning’s work – and asked us to come more often 🙂 He says the plastic was also a potential dengue threat and was appreciative of cleaned beach. We were certainly satisfied by the our morning’s work!


A bunch of Toddycats returned to NUS with the participant’s used gloves and employed our limnologists’ tubs to remove the excess mud – familiar work for Marcus, Dewi and Dongrong (ICCS-NUS)!


The rinsed and wrung out gloves were laid out to dry in the hot sun and were turned over after lunch to get dry and toasty. And the normally operationally-fixated Toddycats did remember to take a group photo this time!

As Anand, Airani and I flipped through the photos over a cup of coffee later at the Science Canteen, we agreed that the Miss Earth contestants we had worked with were a cooperative and enthusiastic bunch who were not afraid to get their fingers dirty – literally, for we had to remind them to keep their gloves as we were hauling trash out at the end!

Its good to know we have them out there as environmental ambassadors and the Toddycats wish them all the best in the year of activities ahead of them!


Photos by Airani.

Lim Chu Kang Mangroves cleanup, Sat 19th Jul 2008: 8am-12pm

The Mission:
Lim Chu Kang mangroves is a beautiful and unique patch of unprotected mangrove in Singapore, facing the Western Straits of Johor. It is adjacent to a Police Coast Guard base and offshore, kelongs and fish farms unload their produce at the jetty to send to markets in Singapore.

During a recent research trip, the amount of marine debris observed has reached an intolerable amount – plastic bags are hanging off trees and mudskippers are resting on plastic. A bunch of environment and nature volunteers have responded to the call and are intent on making a dent to the debris load on the beach.

The Team:

  • Nature/Environment volunteers (20): Cheng Chee Hoew, Alison Wee, Robert Heigermoser, Teo Kah Ming, Nicholas Koh Yong Zhi, Joelle Lai, Marcus Ng Fu Chuan, Zhang Dongrong, Marcus Tay Guan Hock, Laurine Wong, Airani, Esther Clews, Steve Ong Choon Siong, Tan Mei Jun, Janice Lee, Dew Anggraini, Anand Ramchand, Kelly Ong, Rain Siow Xiu Juan & N. Sivasothi.
  • Volunteers from Ms Earth Singapore (Finalists, 13): Alethea Jane Seet, Loren Xue, Lynn Lim, Silver Zhang, Swati Dhir, Leow Yi Jin, Kang Zilei, Jas Chu, Lin Siqi, Wendy Chong, Yen Wu Ling, Yun Tang and Ivy Leow.
  • Ms Earth Organisers and Photographers (4) – Vivien, Kelvin, Chia Hsien & Thomas.
  • Eco Magazine (4) – Yihan, Ibnur, Gavin and Tiffany.

Itinerary (approximate):

  • 0745 – bus pick-up from Clementi MRT
  • 0830 – reach LCK, distribute into sub-groups, apply insect repellent, collect gloves and trash bags.
  • 0845 – Briefing, Trash Loading Point (TLP) and bus shelter pointed out, wet weather plan (carry on unless lightning threat)
  • 0900 – cleanup begins.
  • 1000 – Loading teams start moving trash out to TLP
  • 1030 – clean-up ends, weigh trash and discuss the most common items found, Q&A
  • 1045 – participants clean themselves up – note no washing point!
  • 1100 – Bus returns to Clementi, NUS – help needed to wash gloves in NUS so join us if you can!

What we will provide:

  1. Transport to site.
  2. Gloves.
  3. Trash bags.
  4. Weighing scales.

What you should bring:

  1. Covered shoes with hard soles.
  2. Water bottle (at least one litre of water).
  3. Hat and/or sun block.
  4. Raincoat/ponco (we’ll carry on working in rain)
  5. Towel in a bag – to wipe off any sand and mud off you.
  6. Suggestion – dry fit clothes are suitable for this work. If you prefer cotton, a change of t-shirt will come in handy after a sweaty workout.
  7. Light pants will help protect your legs from insect bites (if you re the sort that gets bitten) as well as from the debris.

Transport:

Registered participants are to meet us at either

  1. the NUS bus stop outside Science Drive 1 (7.30am; meet Siva) or
  2. the bus stop AFTER Clementi MRT Station heading west (7.45am; meet Dewi and Anand).

See below:

7.30am Pick Up Point – Meet N. Sivasothi

7.45am Pick up Point – Meet Anand Ramchand
& Dewi Anggraini.

Tides:

Bus route

SBS 95 bus stop from Buona Vista MRT  to Lim Chu Kang Rd - Google Maps

Driving?
Meet us at Lim Chu Kang Road end
Parking available

“Junk” – California to Hawai’i on a raft of plastic!

‘Junk is a Kontiki-style raft built from plastic bottles which is sailing to Hawaii on 15,000 plastic bottles and a Cessna 310, to raise awareness about plastic fouling our oceans.’

Read their blog at junkraft.blogspot.com

Thanks to Emily Schaller, Save the Sound via the International Coastal Cleanup mailing list.

Keep Oceans Clean – fun webpage game!

Kate Sherman from the Ocean Conservancy just pointed this out to us on a mailing list:

Check out the website www.keepoceansclean.org! It has a fun interactive game and facts about keeping the ocean clean and healthy.

On the link “help the ocean,” the ICC is mentioned as a way to get involved. I thought the site was cool so I wanted to share it with you all!

There are links to several other games and webpages; go check it out!