Saturday, August 6, 2011

MAD for Reptiles, 21 Jul

On 21 July 2011, 19 eight- to ten-year-old students from Zhonghua Primary School attended the Making A Difference (MAD) for Reptiles workshop at Jacob Ballas Children's Garden, conducted by our nature educator Andrew Tay.

This "Kids Study Nature" project is generously sponsored by the Rotary Jurong Town Club. Singapore Botanic Gardens kindly sponsors the lesson venue. Voluntary Welfare Organisations, Self-Help Groups, and primary schools may email contact[AT] for information about these free nature lessons for kids.

The 2 hour long program kicked off with a couple of warm-up jigsaws featuring mugshots of famous reptiles - both local and foreign - such as the elegant Oriental Whip Snake and the slow-paced Tuatara.

Andrew does his best impression of a puffed-up Oriental Whip Snake; the kids play with reptile jigsaws.

Andrew then brought the class through a highly informative and entertaining slideshow of some of the different scaly species that can be found in Singapore, from beneficial household geckoes to elusive and deadly spitting cobras.

The kids got the chance to see and touch actual reptile samples, which really got them excited. Andrew came prepared with a huge number of exhibits - a taxidermised baby saltwater crocodile (below) and a confiscated reticulated python skin just to name a few, as well as numerous specimen jars containing preserved local reptiles.

The students were particularly fond of Andrew's preserved baby Hawksbill Turtle - an unlucky little turtle who had traveled inland after hatching on the East Coast Park Beach, rather than making its way back to the ocean.

The students spent the last half hour decorating and cutting out their very own Mangrove Snake spinning mobile or Flying Draco wall-hanger. The students brought their new friends home as a little memento of the MAD for Retiles workshop, as well as a reminder that all wild animals should be treated with respect.

We hope our students will help to spread the message of conservation and love of nature throughout their communities, and grow up to be part of Singapore's next generation of eco-crusaders.

Photos and Writeup by volunteer Aaron Toh.