Chek Jawa - Our Outdoor Classroom
Island wide rain this morning nearly made this event impossible.
But as the seconds went ticking by, the participants arriving one by one and the weather slowly turning for the better, it was the sign that "Chek Jawa - Our Outdoor Classroom" will go on as planned.
In collaboration with the Naked Hermit Crabs (NHC), this was one of the first trips in 2007 that the NIE green club had planned for NIE students for guided visits to one of the natural heritage sites of Singapore, Chek Jawa on Pulau Ubin
Here are some of the happy faces on the boat ride to Ubin as the dark clouds slowly went away. ( I do apologize for the blur photo, as this is the first time i'm using my new camera.)
Reaching Chek Jawa, everyone formed into their different groups, Swimming Crabs, Fiddler Crabs, Thunder Crabs and Vinegar Crabs. Each group was then introduced to their guide from the NHC and very soon, the guide walk began.
The picture below shows a group lead by Ron, the chef NHC.
After some introduction of the plants found along the trail of the trail, the groups soon reached the boardwalk.
Here's Pei Hao (an assistant guide AKA NHC photographer of the day) telling the thunder and vinegar crabs more about the sea nutmeg tree, a once thought extinct shore plant, with the help of some photos.
And as soon Pei Hao completed his introduction of the sea nutmeg tree, he goes on to introduce everyone to the boardwalk at CJ.
"Look at the boardwalk. What do you think it's made of?"
"It's actually not made of wood, the material used to make it are concrete and fibre glass!"
Walking along the boardwalk, you will not miss the coastal forest of CJ, a place where the wild jungle fowl resides and a source of nutrients and minerals for the animals and plants in the waters.
And if you looked towards the Singapore main island, there is this small island, Pulau Sekudu AKA frog island. A legend on how Pulau Sekudu and Pulau Ubin was formed was shared by the guides to all the participants.
Here's Ron introducing one other ecosystem found at CJ, the coral rubble area."Look at that! Can you spot it? There's lots of them around."Ron was pointing to a mudskipper, a fish which is able to breathe underwater and above water, and skip too!As everyone continued looked into the waters trying to spot something, two flower crabs were soon discovered swimming in the water looking for food.
Reaching the mangrove forests, the first plant that was highlighted was the atap plam.
This is the palm where we get the atap chee. Do you know that atap chee is actually the seed from its fruit? Yes, it is!Walking into the mangrove forest, everyone was soon introduced to the aerial roots and different root structures of the mangrove trees.
The picture below shows one of them, pencil roots from the Api-api (Avicennia).
Found soon along the side of the boardway was two vinegar crabs, not the participants , but the real thing. =PThey are called vinegar crabs because of the Teochew. They like to eat these crabs pickled in black sauce with vinegar.
As the sun rose higher into the sky, we climbed the Jejawi Tower, a tower named after the Jejawi tree, a fig.And on top of the tower, everyone was taking photos of this long tailed Macaque as it ate the fruits of the Jejawi tree.Lesson of the day:
It is clear that these monkeys are able to find food themselves.
So please do not feed the monkeys.
Being on the tower also gave everyone a magnificent view of CJ from 20 meters high.And with everyone in high spirits, i went around taking group shots of all the NIE participants plus their guides.
Here's the swimming crabs led by Chay Hoon and Alyce.The Fiddler Crabs led by Marcus and Sijie.The Thunder and Vinegar Crabs led by Ron, Pei Hao and myself.Descending from the tower, everyone was then brought to the House No. 1.A must see thing at House No. 1 would be this rescue tank. In this tank, you can find animals which were found to be either injured or sick around CJ. They will be kept under observation and care and once they are healthy again, they will be released back to the wild.One more interesting thing about this tank is that the animals in it has got names!Finally, after a short debrief and signing of guest sheets for the NHC, the guide walk was brought to an end under a sky that looked very different compared to the morning, a blue sky.
Event covered by: July
Other blogs with entries on this event:
2. Naked Hermit Crabs> Check out the guest sheets done by the participants.
3. Photos by Pei Hao aka NHC photographer of the day> More photos
If you are interested to find out more about our shores:
29 Sep (Sat): Secret Shores of Singapore
Ria Tan shares amazing encounters on the little-known shores of Singapore. From Changi to Cyrene Reef, encounters include 'Nemos' and other surprises. While some shores are remote and inaccessible, many are simply ignored. Find out more about our fragile wild shores and what you can do for them. All are welcome.
Venue: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve Theatrette
Cost: The talk is free but admission charges to the Reserve apply. $1 per adult, 50cents per child/student/senior citizen.