May 2, 2009

Seagrass Watch workshop: Level 1 field session (2 May 09)

We're back bright and early on Pulau Ubin for the field session of level 1 of the Seagrass Watch workshop!
And the Ubin jetty is colourful with banners put up for Vesak Day! Here's Rudi and Len with the Team in front as we head out for Chek Jawa.Today, Len shows us how a monitoring session is set up and prepared. To begin, there is a serious risk assessment briefing, outlining the many risks that we should be aware of and take steps to avoid. I think even Max the CJ Dog is also paying attention.Then we're off to the Chek Jawa seagrass meadows. Siti shows Len the beautiful growth of Smooth ribbon seagrass (Cymodocea rotundata) which grows in abundance on Chek Jawa.Then Rudi and Len set up a small demonstration site to show us how to select a site and set it up. This is done away from our usual monitoring site. We thought it useful to set it up near the boardwalk so that visitors can also learn about how monitoring is being done. This area also has firmer ground so that less damage is done to the seagrasses.Len briefs everyone thoroughly on the steps taken to conduct monitoring.Among the most important steps is proper recording. It's quite straightforward, but good to understand why and how to fill up the sheet properly.Then it's time to actually set up the transects. Here Siti is showing us how to get the tape aligned properly with the compass readings through simple arm signals. This is very useful in windy conditions where yelling doesn't quite help.It was then time to start monitoring! The first team shows how it's done.Then everyone gets started!It does take careful attention to note down all the important details.Here's the last transect near the boardwalk. Later, Siti shared how she explained the processes to some visitors on the boardwalk.Meanwhile the Chek Jawa public walk was being set up. This approach means visitors get to see lots of marine life without having to trample all over the shores.Some of the Chek Jawa volunteers come a little earlier to find stuff and place them in natural pools and in small containers.Siti takes the opportunity to brief some of the first visitors about TeamSeagrass and our work.Some of the more experienced Team members also share interesting marine life that can be found on Chek Jawa, even on the pontoon legs!

After the first batch of new Team volunteers finished their monitoring, I had a quick look at the mangroves on the boardwalk, and then the special Beccarii's seagrass (Halophila beccarii) on another side of Chek Jawa. While some of the other more experienced Team members did other monitoring work on the shores. Kok Sheng spotted lots of colourful crabs on the mangrove boardwalk!

Thus unfortunately, I missed the final briefing at the end of the session. I heard Len and Rudi presented the best volunteer prizes to Nor Aishah and Anuj!
Before we left Ubin, we had a funky group photo! Thanks to Kevin for sharing the photo.

Thank you once again to Len and Rudi for patiently sharing with us how to do monitoring effectively.

Thanks also to everyone for coming for today's session!

Team members who came for the field session were: Jerome, Hannah, Edwin, Kah Ming, Sean, Suryati, Jinwen, Cheng Puay, Andy, Helen, Liu Jia, Saurabh, Nor Aishah, Cornie, Jeremy, Sunshine, Joo Yong, Hassan, Mohammad Rozaimi, Ben, Yuet Hsin, Anuj, Kok Sheng, Jocelyne, Marcus Ng, Vyna. And it was great to have Mr Wong join us too!

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