Outward Bound Singapore which occupies the western half of Pulau Ubin in north-western Singapore, has been providing “outdoor education and adventure learning programmes to help people realise their full potential” since 1967 (link). I am one of the quarter-million alumni as I did a five-day stint with them back in 1982.
Chua Li Shan, the Deputy Head of Outward Bound Youth/Programmes & Development contacted me on 10th June 2011, and we decided I’d profit from a visit of their beaches and a discussion. So I headed out to “sunny Pulau Ubin” on 21st June and visited their six beaches by boat along with another ICCS Otter, Jessica Ker.
The OBS beaches:
- Kekek Beach (1.4191° North, 103.9545° East)
- Shopping Centre Beach (1.4238° North, 103.9448° East)
- Indiana Beach (1.4199° North, 103.9277° East)
- Hill 31 Beach (1.4181° North, 103.9297° East)
- Camp 2 Beach (1.4155° North, 103.9357° East)
- Machor Beach (1.4127° North, 103.9406° East)
Their trash load is generally low but requires regular work. Besides the beaches, we examined a few mangrove sites which could be adopted in a more mature phase of the programme in future., and we discussed sites in Pulau Ketam which has a high load.
Over the course of the recce, I was heartened to hear that Li Shan had already initiated mini-cleanups in the past couple of years with staff and students groups. Interested in both the year-round cleanups and the ICCS procedure, Li Shan had already examined the information on our webpage and had gone though the powerpoints as well. And I was able to chip in with suggestions about integrating environmental education in existing efforts – the coastal cleanup effort is already embedded as a component in their programmes so this makes implementation easier.
OBS staff are very much into raising environmental awareness and character building of the youth through their programmes. They also believe in small-scale implementation and growing projects with time. They already adopt a “leave no trace” component which they will enhance in future and obviously operational safety is excellent.
We share their outdoor education goals of character building, environmental awareness, sensitivity to surrounding, active citizenry so we are delighted to be working together and its easy to synergise.
Next up – they will try out a prototype programme this Saturday with a school group and I will head back to Pulau Ubin in August to conduct a workshop for OBS instructors.
I told Li Shan, this has been in the works a long time through the suggestions of Grace Lim, Robert Teo and Ria Tan. All of them have been encouraging various aspects of biodiversity awareness with OBS over the years and I’d visited OBS as a result for discussions and site visits. I’m glad its now time for us to chip in comprehensively to this worthy mission.