Venue: Civil Service College
Participants: Nature guides and prospective nature guides
Facilitators: November Tan and Chen Jinwen
Guest Speaker: Ria Tan
"Mummy, I'm tired.. Can we go home?" A girl whined incessantly, plopping herself down on a nearby hard coral. Another man prodded a sea star indiscrimately with his right shoe.
Annoying visitors? You bet. These were but a few of the frustrating people we encountered yesterday - at the workshop, luckily.
Yesterday's Life Between the Tides saw a enthusiastic bunch of nature lovers, all eager to share and get tips on dealing with tough visitors at our intertidal ecosystems.
We started off with usual presentation of pre-workshop questions by November. Many similar sentiments were discovered, such as the one on irritating visitors - which of course included children and 'molestors' of flora and fauna. Amongst the common enjoyments of guiding include meeting people and spreading the love. :)
Ria then took over for an introduction of our intertidal ecosystems:rocky shore, sandy shore, seagrasses, coral rubble, reefs and the tides. The vast spread of these ecosystems that dotted our Southern Islands and Eastern coasts awed many indeed with the rich biodiversity of our tiny urban island. Useful tips on 'selling' our shores were also provided, and participants learnt more on managing their own guiding trips.
How to 'sell' our shores
Unfortunately, most of these habitats are not protected, with some being slated for development or reclamation works. This was no doubt a cause for worry, which re-surfaced when one of the participants querried on how we could protect our shores from the developmental aims of the government. To this, Joseph Lai and Ria gave wonderful personal anecdotes on how change can be inspired, and how advocacy in the shape of nature guides, bloggers or ordinary citizens like you or me can sound the call for (in)action.
Joseph on how Chek Jawa was saved
Imbued with a new sense of purpose, we started our activity. In groups, we had to plan a guided walk to one of the intertidal zones from scratch - choosing suitable timings, the "zone of death" and sensitizing stations - to offer visitors the best possible experience.
The Sea Stars hard at work
Then came the long awaited presentations!
Mindy explaining her group's beautiful illustration
The annoying 'child'
..and an annoying guide?
It was great fun watching and acting in the presentations! But jokes and laughter aside, it was a step for us in becoming better guides and more inspired citizens.