COVID-19 lockdown in Asia? Never fear, the marine conservation community goes online as never before!

As Singapore and other countries observe physical distancing, restriction of movement, closure of beaches and access to mangroves  to reduce COID-19 infections in the community, the events calendar for groups in Singapore evaporated. 

Gradually and admirably, a plethora of activity has been offered online, both locally, regionally and globally, such that we can barely keep up! Most news of such events are circulated through Facebook and I tried to highlight these on the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore Facebook page at https://fb.com/iccsg – so do follow that if you are keen. It certainly is a motivational and educational resource which has emerged online as never before.

Many events are long past us, but several are recorded for you to catch up with. Here are some highlights:

“Stories featuring our native wildlife” by Naked hermit Crabs features “Storytelling by Halley and November” [link]. 

Halley  November

 

Gren Nudge interns took to Facebook Live to chat about working at a social enterprise. A great way for youth to learn from their peers, they had many lessons to impart about how they found their internships, the nature of the work, and were cheerful about challenges they face. This recording is something I am pointing my students towards. 

Green Nudge interns

 

ADEX Pixel Virtual Expo’s “Global Vision with Local Social Enterprises – Ocean Plastic Pollution” [link; panel begins after 28:00]: This next highlight was a real find for us in ICCS! I was preparing an advert for another session and realised this was live! It was a lovely session with driven, analytical and hopeful people determined to make a difference, and who spoke with great camaraderie.

I will be sharing this with the coastal cleanup community. There was another session, “Plastic Waste: An inconvenient truth for South-East Asia region – what would work for us?” [link], which I too will catchup with later.ADEX-PlasticPollution

ADEX really meant it when they claimed its the World’s First Digital Dive Show. There are a diversity of offerings on their site at https://www.facebook.com/pg/AsiaDiveExpo/videos/ – if you are interested in marine conservation in Singapore and Asia, you have plenty of exposure to this wonderful community of people!

ADEX_Expo

The Society for Conservation Biology Malaysia celebrated World Turtle Day with an Open House on 26 & 27 May 2020. It was thrilling to hear so many regional experts present on YouTube Live. I especially loved the session of the Malaysian old guard who trotted out to share their experiences frankly. All the advisors to Singapore’s marine turtle conservation efforts were speaking over the two days and the videos are all available on SCB’s YouTube page [link].

SCB-WorldTurtleDay

 

And there is still more to come listen to – this Friday 10th June 2020, scientists in Asia come together to speak about these ancient species on the 1st International Horseshoe Crab Day 2020. Just register at http://bit.ly/HSCsymposium

HSCday2020

 

Amidst the marking of exam papers in May, I responded to excitement over our smooth-coated otters wandering the city during Singapore’s COVID-19 lockdown. It was an opportunity for outreach to a wider audience through print and social media, and the three local radio/online interview sessions were:

  1. 19 May 2020 on One Radio 91.3FM with FD & Glenn [link; 48:30 mins video]
  2. 23 May 2020 on Money FM 89.3 with Glenn van Zutphen & Neil Humphreys [link; 18:29 mins audio]
  3. 27 May 2020 on Mothership.sg with Yeo Tsiu Wen & Zheng Zhangxin on World Otter Day [link; 60mins video]

Otters 91 3

 

These were a sample, there is much more online. The marine community responded wonderfully with these diverse range of marine conservation sessions from technical seminars to interviews, discussions and story-telling for children. While we all miss the sea and our shores, the work does continue – so you can keep learning and share news of relevant sessions with your friends.

Stay safe and stay informed, everyone!

Temp job: Junior Casual Research Assistant (apply by 31 Jan 2020)

Junior Casual Research Assistant for NUS‒NParks Marine Debris Project
2 months position; apply by 31 Jan 2020

The Research Assistant will assist in the NUS‒NParks Marine Debris Project and primarily involve data compilation.

Job requirements:
Essential

  1. Minimum ‘A’ level Biology
  2. Familiar with the use of Microsoft Excel and Word.
  3. Strong written, communication, and oral skills.
  4. Meticulous, good organizational skills and able to focus on detail.
  5. Self-motivated and able to work independently.
  6. Must possess a personal laptop.

Desirable – have some knowledge of marine debris and local environmental efforts.

This is a part-time position, with hourly pay dependent upon qualifications and experience.

To apply, please send a cover letter and CV to Ms Joleen Chan (NUS Department of Biological Sciences) at joleen.chan@nus.edu.sg. Shortlisted applicants will be notified for interview by early Feb 2020.

ICCS on Sat 21 Sep 2019 is cancelled; the 6am 1-hour PM2.5 levels are too high

Update, 7am – your ICCS event should not proceed as 1-hour PM2.5 readings are still above acceptable concentrations. ICCS will not be accepting data submissions for this day; safety first!

Dear Organisers, 

6am – I am suggesting Organisers cancel your ICCS event. As of this time, the 1-hour PM 2.5 levels are too high for sustained or strenuous work. 

20190921-haze

Although the 1-hour PM2.5 has been declining between 4am – 6am, it may still be relatively high for the rest of the morning. And the NEA Haze Forecast states that “The 24-hr PSI is forecast to range between the high end of the Moderate range and low end of the Unhealthy range, and depending on the wind conditions, may enter the mid-section of the Unhealthy range”. See: https://www.haze.gov.sg

With this available information, we are cancelling the event. 

If you wish to participate on Sat 19 Oct 2019 instead, let us know at: http://tinyurl.com/iccs2019-haze
 
Or you may contact your zone captain directly. 

All the best and look after your health, everyone!

Cheerio!

Sivasothi

International Coastal Cleanup Singapore
c/o Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum &
Department of Biological Sciences
National University of Singapore

Haze advisory for coastal cleanup Organisers: monitor the 24-hour PSI forecast and the 1-hour PM2.5 hourly levels

Dear Organisers,

Do read and understand the information in these links:

Do adopt these NEA recommendations.

Screenshot 776

Individuals who are unhealthy or sensitive to smoke should be advised to opt out of the cleanups even at moderate levels.

If your participants are all healthy individuals,

  1. Examine the 24-hour PSI forecast the previous night to decide if you ahould attempt go ahead.
  • The two paragraphs of the forecast are provided under the headings, “Air Quality” and “Health Advisory”.
  • If forecast is that the levels will be moderate, i.e. < 100 PSI, you can plan to go ahead.
  • On the event day, refer to the 1-hr PM2.5 readings.
    • Only if levels are normal, i.e. < 55 ug/m3, would you consider going ahead.
    • Otherwise, call off the cleanup. 

    The haze is here for sure. The 1-hour PM2.5 readings in the south today were already more than 55ug/m3. If we had a cleanup scheduled, I would have had to cancel it.

    These might be conservative levels at which to cancel an event. This is because a coastal cleanup can be strenuous event, and not all individuals use an N95 mask securely whilst conducting strenuous work. We will not risk a person’s health for coastal cleanup data. As we explain during the workshops, the first principle an Organiser exercises is that of safety.

    Let’s hope for good clear weather!

    Stay safe and all the best!

    Cheerio!

    Sivasothi aka Otterman
    Coordinator, ICCS

    ICCS Workshop for Organisers (Final Session no. 4)

    We are please to offer a final Workshop for Organisers session on Tue 27 Aug 2019: 7.00pm – 9.30pm. Please register at http://tinyurl.com/iccs-27aug2019workshop by this Friday.

    Workshop topics include:

    1. Marine life in Singapore & Impact of marine trash
    2. How to organise a coastal cleanup
    3. How to use the Data Card and submit data effectively
    4. What Green is your cleanup?
    5. Videos and graphic to share with participants.

    We have 20 places for this workshop; priority for ICCS Organisers but all are welcome – including anyone who is just interested to learn.

    Venue: Seminar Room 2,
    Ridge View Residential College,
    National University of Singapore
    See: https://rvrc.nus.edu.sg/contact-us/

    All the best!

    Cheerio!

    Sivasothi aka Otterman

    ICCS Workshop

    International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (Sat 21 Sep 2019): Registration for Organisers is open!

    Greetings Organisers!

    International Coastal Cleanup will be conducted around the world on Sat 21st Sep 2019

    The International Coastal Cleanup is the annual data-gathering exercise held on the 3rd Saturday of September. It is coordinated by the Ocean Conservancy globally and it has been conducted in Singapore since 1992. This year, the tides are suitable for us to conduct the exercise with the rest of the world on Saturday, 21st September 2019.

    iccs2019reg
    Organisers, register here

    Invitation to Organisers to register

    We invite Organisers to register and indicate your preferred sites and dates.

    The ICCS team will review applications in end-May, end-June and end-July. All sites have limits to participants based on terrain, size and impact. Sites are allocated based on the site difficulty level, the Organiser’s familiarity with the site, experience at managing cleanups, their volunteer’s age group and preparedness, and the date of your registration.

    Organisers will be notified of the results by email.

    Registrations will close at the end of July.

    Workshops for Organisers in June and July

    Workshops for Organisers and their assistants will be conducted by ICCS Zone Captains at NUS in July. These 2.5 hour workshops will provide Organisers with a grasp of marine life and marine trash issues globally and in Singapore, discuss the various steps in organising a coastal cleanup and allow Organisers to arrange for site recces with their zone captains.

    Anyone who needs help in reviewing the site, conducting the safety assessment checklists must attend. While critical for new Organisers, the workshops can serve as a refresher for veterans who would contribute to the group discussions with peers.

    The workshop registration options will be sent to registered Organisers in May. We will offer a sufficient number of sessions for all to attend.

    Organising coastal cleanups on other dates, without data collection

    If you are interested in conducting a year-round cleanup at other times of the year (without data collection), please examine the options listed at this page with several wonderful local groups: http://coastalcleanup.nus.edu.sg/yearround/

    Thank you for your interest in caring for the environment!

    N. Sivasothi
    Coordinator,
    International Coastal Cleanup Singapore
    http://coastalcleanup.nus.edu.sg
    c/o Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum
    & Department of Biological Sciences
    National University of Singapore

    Call for Volunteer Zone Captains for ICCS (briefing on Wed 8th May 2019)

    Dear friends,

    We are assembling a new team to coordinate the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore, the annual data-gathering exercise in September which involves some 3,500 volunteers led by more than 70 organisations who will fan out to sites all around Singapore to collect, categorise and dispose of marine trash.  

    Our hardworking Volunteer Zone Captains conduct site recces, recce reports, lease with Organisers, site allocations, training workshops  and public education through roadshows. We are briefing interested individuals to explain the process and details of how we organise this annual data-gathering exercise on Wed 8th May 2019: 7pm – 9pm.

    We are looking for enthusiastic and responsible individuals who are keen to help coordination as Zone or Site Captains. For an idea of the commitment required, please see the tentative 2019 calendar.

    Please sign up with this form by Friday 3rd May 2019 and we’ll get in touch!

    All the best!

    Cheerio!

    Sivasothi aka Otterman
    For the ICCS Otters
    Iccslogo

    Job: Full-time Research Assistant for NUS‒NParks Marine Debris Project (6 months; deadline 31 Oct 2018)

    The Research Assistant will assist in the NUS‒NParks Marine Debris Project, which involves establishing a national baseline data of marine debris. The role involves mainly assistance in the marine debris monitoring programme, volunteer management and processing of microplastic samples.

    The is a 6-month full-time position with monthly pay and remuneration depends on qualification.

    The job responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

    • Assisting in marine debris monitoring programme and workshops.
    • Laboratory-based work involving sorting and identifying of microplastics from sediments.

    Job requirements:

    • An undergraduate degree in Sciences/Biology/Environmental Studies or a biology-related field.
    • Able to work on weekends to carry out marine debris monitoring programme.
    • Meticulous, responsible and careful with samples and data management.
    • Good organizational skills and excellent attention to detail is essential.
    • Strong oral, communication, and interpersonal skills.
    • Self-motivated and able to work independently.
    • Any experience in sorting (e.g., macroinvertebrate) is desirable.

    Desirable:

    • A good knowledge and experience in marine debris and microplastics.
    • Experience in volunteer management.
    • Good at data management and experience with data analysis.

    To apply, please send a cover letter and CV to Ms Joleen Chan at joleen.chan@nus.edu.sg by 31 October 2018. Shortlisted applicants will be notified for the interview by mid–Nov 2018.

    Join us for a VERY tough cleanup on Sunday 14th October 2018 at Sungei Mandai Kechil mangrove!

    Dear Friends,

    Sungei Mandai Kechil mangrove is an important but unprotected mangrove forest in Singapore. Part of the Mandai Mangrove and Mudflats (MMM), this is a 15.4 hectare patch of mangrove swamp in the northwest of Singapore.

    On Sunday 14th Oct 2018, with permission from SLA/PCG, the ICCS MMM team (Germaine, Adriane, Airani and Otterman) will be conducting a year-round coastal cleanup in the back mangrove there. We are calling out to experienced, hardy and dedicated coastal cleanups volunteers to join us on this mission!

    This site is difficult: we have to be very careful to prevent impact, and a lot of trash is trapped in the thorny and dense vegetation of the back mangrove. There may be snakes, hornets and glass pieces. We will be careful patient and tenacious!

    Participants will work as a team to help with the safety, site allocation, site security and coordination of trash transfer.

    You must have appropriate footwear to join us as your safety is important.
    Details and registration here: https://tinyurl.com/SMK-ICCS2018

    All the best!

    Cheerio!

    Sivasothi


    Coordinator,
    International Coastal Cleanup Singapore
    c/o Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum
    & Department of Biological Sciences
    National University of Singapore

    Join us for a VERY tough cleanup? Sat 9th June 2018, the Sungei Mandai Kechil mangrove cleanup

    Dear Friends,

    Sungei Mandai Kechil mangrove is an important but unprotected mangrove forest in Singapore. Part of the Mandai Mangrove and Mudflats (MMM), this is a 15.4 hectare patch of mangrove swamp in the northwest of Singapore.

    Midday of Sat 9 June 2018, with permission from SLA/PCG, the ICCS MMM team (Germaine, Adriane, Airani and Otterman) will be conducting a year-round coastal cleanup in the back mangrove there. We are calling out to experienced, hardy and dedicated coastal cleanups volunteers to join us on this mission!

    Sungei Mandai Kechil mangrove trash

    This site is difficult: we have to be very careful to prevent impact, and a lot of trash is trapped in the thorny and dense vegetation of the back mangrove. There may be snakes, hornets and glass pieces. We have to be well protected, very patient and tenacious!

    Participants will work as a team to help with the safety, site allocation, site security and coordination of trash transfer.

    You must have appropriate footwear to join us as your safety is important.
    Details and registration here: http://tinyurl.com/mmm-09jun2018

    All the best!

    Cheerio!

    Sivasothi


    Coordinator,
    International Coastal Cleanup Singapore
    c/o Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum
    & Department of Biological Sciences
    National University of Singapore

    2018 03 24 11 37 53