May 1, 2008

Dugong Ambassadors at Chek Jawa (1 May 08)

Today was a fabulous gathering of folks from the Naked Hermit Crabs, TeamSeagrass and more at Joseph Lai's amazing Dugong Ambassadors at Chek Jawa! This May Day outreach is also to celebrate International Year of the Reef. Here are some of the volunteers on the way to Ubin, checking out Siti's spiffy new educational materials fresh out from International Seagrass-Watch.The event involves the homeschool families. Here is the ever gentlemanly Andy making sure everyone gets on the jetty safely. It is also sponsored by Intel and their volunteers also turned up for the event.

The event started off with a very quick tour of the Chek Jawa boardwalk. TeamSeagrass members helped out.
Siti shared about mangrove trees.
Andy shared about the critters in the mangroves.While Marcus enthralls with stories of civet cat poo ... in white circle.

Of course, what is the event without dugongs!Where do these come from? Well, as I explained to those who asked, Australia has the largest number of dugongs and there are also dugongs in ... (at this point I would usually get cuffed on the head). Sigh. These fibreglass dugongs come from Ubin Lagoon Resort, now renamed to Kampong Ubin.

It's almost impossible to resist a photo with the dugongs.Shortly, we gathered for an inspiring launch by Joseph Lai.And immediately went on to the three simultaneous events!

First, there were designated Dugong Ambassadors who would set up at stations throughout Chek Jawa to explain to visitors about dugongs.Here's Joe explaining how to be a Dugong Ambassador.
And here's a very effective team of Dugong Ambassadors delighting a visitor with more information about dugongs!

While a homeschool family shared at House No. 1 and the Dugongs.Siti, November and young friend formed the Ambassadors who shared about seagrasses.They did a great job until Prof Teh Tiong Sa and Dr Raju turned up.Here's Siti, Prof Teh, Dr Raju, Dr Chua Ee Kiam and friend.

The ladies got distracted by Dr Raju's very manly super-Trimble.This is a way cool thing that can do not only x-y coordinates but also z coordinates. You have to be a shore researcher or geography person or just plain crazy about GIS to know why this is a Big Deal.

The ladies abandoned their young colleague to manage the seagrasses all on his own (tsk, tsk).Other simultaneous events included Beach Cleanup.And kids painting a mural at House No. 1 the Chek Jawa Visitor Centre.As well as general art expressions. Here's some of the masterpieces.Intel provided a fabulous lunch. Not only getting it but also hauling it all the way to Chek Jawa.Now all is well with Siti, as long as there is food. Especially banana muffins.

And all too soon, we had a group photo and it was time to go home.What a fabulous event and a great opportunity to raise awareness about dugongs, seagrasses and Chek Jawa!

More about the trip on the wildfilms blog

If you'd like to learn more about seagrasses and our shores, come for these upcoming talks!

3 May (Sat): Secret Shores of Singapore by Ria Tan
2pm at the Botany Centre, Singapore Botanic Gardens

6 May (Tue): Seagrasses are not just for dugongs by Siti Maryam
11am at the Botany Centre, Singapore Botanic Gardens

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