Learning outdoors survival skills @ ICCS Briefing?

“What should you do when you encounter a crocodile?” the national coordinator of the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore, N. Sivasothi, asked.

Has the ICCS Briefing turned into a course in outdoors survival skills?!! Nope, this was just one of the jokes Siva told which generated much laughter (and the answer he gave, by the way, was “You only need to run faster than one person!”)

As you can see, the ICCS Briefing was an informal learning session for the more than 200 participants who turned up on a Saturday morning at 9am at NUS’ LT25.

I thought arriving before 8.30am was early, only to find Siva already in full concentration, checking out the presentation slides. Fellow ICCS Otter and Deputy Zone Captain for North East Zone, Lim Chen Kee, was also around providing his two cents worth.  I guess they were as eager to start ICCS Briefing session as I was!

The turnout was of the responsible individuals from some of the 60 organisations who had signed up wit the programme this year. These individuals, or Site Buddies, would absorb the big picture and help their organisers to run the cleanup operation and motivate fellow participants. The second ‘group’ were highly-motivated individuals who had signed up independently to participate in a cleanup. Either way, they were willing to spend a Saturday morning in NUS with us and we wanted them well briefed and all revved up for the job ahead of all of us!

Attentive participants

Over two and a half hours, participants learnt about the diversity and surprises of our marine environment, the threats to local and international maine ecosystems, the logistics and methods behind a cleanup, etc. The engaging topic of “Is there marine life in Singapore?” reassured and amazed many that there are still dolphins, dugongs, otters turtles and many other wonderful creatures in Singapore waters. The video clip of cute baby turtles being released from East Coast did a great job as usual, drawing a series of “Ooohs” and “Awws” from the audience.

It wasn’t all talk! Like the other ICCS Otters, I had a chat before and after the session with various people who turned up from a variety of sites – this was certainly very useful. I had the opportunity to talk to 5 of the individuals who signed-up with the Independent Team in Pasir Ris Site 6. I could check if email we sent out.

Separately, Wei Siong and I also made arrangements with Pei Hwa for a Punggol recce the next morning.

Having a great chat with the individual participants!

And, for me, the sheer pleasure to meet fellow participants, put faces to names, say hi and exchange a few words before the actual event makes this briefing session extra meaningful! So, here’s a big thank you to everyone who turned up!