Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Field Day at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) (28 Mar 09)

A perfect day for water quality monitoring - the morning weather is bright with a good tide coming in - no lack of water for monitoring and sampling.

Students are all fired up for half a day of field work though they seem more interested in the surroundings than in their tasks of water quality monitoring. This is understandable considering that most of them have not set foot on SBWR. Neither have they ever set their sights on the insects, fishes, plants of a mangrove swamp. In a way, it is lamentable that our youth does not have the inclination or time to visit such natural areas but it also presents a great opportunity for Nparks and schools to work harder on their environmental education programmes.

Amazingly, some students confessed that they prefered a wilder area for a field trip e.g. "Ngee Ann Stream" where you have to bash your way through tall grasses and hurt your butt through slipping on mud. SBWR? "Too civilised for us"

As the day wore on and the sun reached its zenith, weariness grew on their faces... one started to see the standard "too tired to talk, too tired to think" behaviour. Perhaps the route we took has passed the point of diminishing returns. This is something to review for the next run of this module.

But something unexpected showed up to bring them back to full attention - a full blown shower with accompanying thunder with us stuck at the last sampling station and the visitor centre clearly out of sight. I consider this the highlight of the trip as it reminds us to respect nature. Nature does not care for your plans and to-do lists, it just does what it does but offers an exciting environment very different from the controlled conditions in a lab or classroom.

Figures (L-R, T-B): Checking out the resident fauna at the main bridge; clambering among the trees to get a good spot at the water edge; "environmental couple" at work; grand finale - sprinting back to the visitor centre, then the bus in bone drenching rain.