Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Kids Enjoy Our Living Forest at MacRitchie

Text by Lynette Lim (volunteer with Cicada Tree Eco-Place)
Photos by Lynette Lim and Vilma D'Rozario


A bunch of 10 year olds gathered at the car park at Venus Drive and participated in an educational nature walk that spanned about 200m into the forest. Nature educators Andrew, Vilma and Susanna guided them through the fruitful 2–hour journey.

They were urged to use senses—listen, observe, smell and touch (selectively) as they walked through the unfamiliar terrain. 

We started at the stream just right at the entrance and saw giant pond skaters as the children learnt about the importance of the forest in the maintenance of clear water that flow through the streams that eventually forms part of our water supply.

Along the trail, Andrew pointed out interesting flora like the Zanzibar Yam that has leaves shaped like bats. He also poured a little water to demonstrate the extreme water proof characteristic of the Wild Yam plant. Everybody got to feel the softness of “toilet paper” leaves and coarseness of skeleton leaves. The children were enthusiastic and curious about everything, constantly firing questions to Andrew.

Long-tailed macaques

In addition, a variety of native animals were spotted. We saw groups of long tailed macaques having fun, a sun skink- a charming lizard basking under the sun, a green crested lizard hugging the column of the fence, various species of dragonflies hovering around leaves and a flatworm (a surprising find, spotted by a sharp-eyed kid).

Green crested lizard


Orb web spider

But these are only a small fraction of what’s out there. That said, even if we can’t find the animals, our ears tell us plenty-- We heard the calls of the Rachet-tailed Drongo, White breasted Waterhen and Tailor birds in addition to the chirpings of crickets and cicadas.

Forest gecko

All in all, the walk had been a positive experience as everybody got to take a break from fast-paced urban Singapore and discover something about nature that would hopefully be the start of a life-long relationship.

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