Wednesday, September 08, 2010

A quick update for the past months

I would like to convince myself (and you) that my packed work schedule has prevented me from posting anything since the end of May. I know it is a shame but I am also sure that inertia has played a large part - not having posted for so long propagates the said behaviour :-)

In part to prove that I am really "busy" and to update you on the past activities, here is a summary of my "work".

June - July
Conducted "Freshwater quality and biodiversity" course for Crescent Girls, Henderson Sec Sch, Clementi Woods SS, Queensway SS. It was back to a tributary (sort of a naturalised drain) of Sg Ulu Pandan for more water quality testing and bug hunting.

Figure: The group hunt (for bugs)

Figure: Don't forget the water quality parameters

Figure: Sorting out the spoils of the hunt

Figure: A rare find - freshwater eel - too small for unagi though

Figure: The common Dragonfly nymphs though perhaps not so commonly seen by the students

Conducted a round of 6-day intensive AEM (advanced elective module) "Water quality and pollution".

Figure: On first sight, nothing wrong with the scene. But if you look closely enough, lots of people are looking down on their pants and shoes. This is what happens when you venture out in the wilderness in the rain and through knee high vegetation. All manner of creepy-crawlies are out their homes, latching on to the hapless passer-by (i.e. us).

Figure: Part of Ngee Ann Stream. Looks like another canal except that this used to be a natural stream with thick secondary forest on both edges. See next figure.

Figure: The same part of Ngee Ann Stream as the figure above but a year back. Note the vegetation stretching right to the edge of the secondary forest stream

Figure: An unusual find - a catfish struggling against the current in the "canalised" Ngee Ann Stream. Why was it doing so? I have no idea. Perhaps it should have just flowed along with the tide of change as what the rest of the stream did when it gave way to "development".

Figure: Due to the earlier heavy rain (what else is new in Singapore?), the whole canal was flooded, preventing the students from sampling the water (too dangerous).

Figure: The same part of the canal as the figure above but in drier times and more than a year back.

Figure: I simply can't resist putting in this routine group photo. Must show that the participants are in good spirits, right?

Singapore International Water Festival (27 Jun 2010)
Once again, I was roped in to organise the event "Amazing Greenviron Challenge" - an environmental quiz of sorts with indoor and outdoor components at the Marina Barrage. Weather was terrible in the morning so the outdoor part has to be moved indoors. (Right, rain was indeed heavy in June, giving rise to the shocking floods in downtown Singapore.)

Figure: Only 1 photo to show you here - the super group photo with organisers, student helpers and participants.

(Are we not done with the summary yet??? Afraid not... Did I mention that I had a tight schedule then?)

Water Quality Monitoring (WQM) (19 Jun 2010)
Amidst the tight schedule, I managed to sneak in a round of WQM with Team Seagrass at Chek Jawa.

Figure: On this rare sunny June morning, my students prepared their equipment for WQM.

To top it off, I attended the 4-day Wilderness Medical First Responder (WMFR) Course by OBS (Outward Bound Singapore) on Pulau Ubin. More on this in a later post.

Figure: WMFR participants and our dummies

WQM at Pasir Ris
Ah yes, the problematic kid on the block with regards to water quality - Pasir Ris Beach. (The latest advisory on its "fair" water quality is found here.) We checked out this notorious locale on this rainy July morning. Perhaps unknown to most people, this stretch of sand hosts 2 significant patches of seagrasses even though they are not monitored by Team Seagrass. (Some of the Team's members do however check out the seagrasses here in their own capacity.) And since there are seagrasses here, my team will of course be interested in the WQ.

Figure: 1 patch of seagrasses near Sg Loyang

Figure: The 2nd patch of seagrasses near Sg Tampines. I was told that there is a smaller patch further west near the end of Pasir Ris Park. We did not check this one out though.

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