Tuesday, 25 November 2008

《城市生命线》City Footprints - the Marine Champions episode!

It's been a while but it's time for another installation of dj's quick-n-rambly local nature documentary synopsis/review ^_^ This time tackling a Mandarin programme produced by threesixzero productions!
IMG_4167 interview in progress at RMBR

It starts off by introducing the three "stars" (and intertidal veterans) Chee Kong, Sijie, and Siti, as the protectors of our sea. First portion of this episode is spent tracking the Star Trackers on a monitoring trip to Cyrene reefs. SJ mentions a bit about the insanity of intertidal enthusiasts going out in the wee hours of the morning (like 2am at times!) since we can't choose the timing(s) of the tides.

IMG_4197 the filmcrew sure doesn't let up!

Note that this trip out to Cyrene coincided with showers of blessings, and as the show indicates out 1h-or-so wait on the boat, SJ explains the hazards of going out to the intertidals whilst it is pouring. Other than getting a thorough soaking, one would also be risking lightning strikes....

IMG_4205 filming at Cyrene
IMG_4203 orange flatworm IMG_4208 pencil urchin IMG_4202 our star startrackers ^_^ IMG_4209 tagged knobbly! IMG_4256 elbow crab

A quick introduction to Cyrene's locality (middle of all those petrochemical industries and shipping lanes), and how it is still full of biodiversity (e.g. the new seastar record, Pentaceraster mammilatus we had earlier this year), and it's off the boat for a quick hour's worth of star tracking! The challenges faced are certainly highlighted. First, the temperament of the weather... Then the missing transect marking poles (likely washed away with the tides/currents)..... Taking GPS points, measurements and photographs in a race against time as dusk falls and the tide rises..... (Though the episode *did* leave out the sometimes tricky amphibious landing and boarding...)

IMG_0821 seagrass fruit

And as we are treated to the dusky Cyrene, we are introduced to the second section featuring Siti and TSG.... This time with a fieldtrip to Tanjung Rimau at Sentosa. They have a slightly longer working window than the Star Tracking trip but are still pressed for time. TSG is one of the few groups that collects "scientifically sound data" through transect and quadrat studies.... Some useful insights that came up where the concerns of family members on pursuing marine biology in Singapore. Also, TSG work *doesn't* stop at the data gathering (well, for the bulk of the volunteers it probably does) but the data needs to be analysed, and samples of seagrass also need to be identified and/or deposited at the Singapore Herbarium at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

Unlike the Star Trackers who focus mainly on Cyrene, TSG actually covers a number of shores, so for the third, and final portion of the show, we are whisked away to Chek Jawa (situated on the eastern side of Pulau Ubin), where all three of them are out for TSG monitoring session. It's no surprise to see Chee Kong and Sijie there since they are one of the first few that joined TeamSeagrass as volunteers! (Yet again demonstrating the multi-hatted facet of many of the shore enthusiasts. How else do you think we get to know each other? ^_^)

On this particular trip, around half the volunteers were TSG and/or CJ virgins, making it easy to link to the need for sharing and training. Capacity building is absolutely necessary for out local NGOs to continue doing their job of sharing and caring for our marine environment. Saving the environment is certainly not a individual's job. General support from the public is needed to make things happen. Just look at how the planned 2001 reclamation of Chek Jawa was postponed for 10 years (and hopefully indefinitely) from the efforts of a group of nature enthusiasts who created a ripple effect, causing everyday Singaporeans to start speaking up for our shores.

And the episode ends on this note. On how the limitless zeal and love these three young people have resulted in them walking the path of shore volunteers, and that their stories have only just begun!
Click for the rambling...

Friday, 7 November 2008

Liveblogging from the "Star-Studded" Echinoderm Workshop ^_^

dj is making an attempt at live blogging from the first of a series of intertidal guide training workshops organised by Leafmonkey. Ria's certainly not making this easy since she *does* tend to go on rather fast but will try my best-est to update this blog.... All the basic (and at times boring) technical bits being squished into 30 minutes, no wonder!! (Did I just hear Ria say that the seastar tube feet kinda do a ballerina-like thing when moving?)

Adelle is being my photographer since dj is busy keeping track of things here.... *heh* Thanks girl! Anyway, the turnout is a little less than the sign up number of 25. Good that we have a good mix of guides from different groups like BWV, NHC, RMBR, NParks, TSG, etc.... Nice to see unfamiliar faces from RJC in addition to the regulars who also happen to be the multi-hatted folks ^_^

Okies... Need to try and pay attention here. Part 02 of the live-blogging would have more information for those who are unable to join us ^_^ Thanks once again to monkey and Ria for getting this series of much needed training up and running!
Click for the rambling...