Otterman speaks... (2003-2007)
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Otterman speaks...

Cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore - Archives

List of Categories : travel * museum * cycling * Singapore Naturalist * science * kakis * mangroves * movies * mac and the internet * meow * NUS * life in Singapore * lit * world *

Wed 27 Aug 2003

A forest walk in hope of a BSS revival

Category : Singapore Naturalist

Many graduate biologists active in nature conservation or education today were part of the Biological Sciences Society during our undergraduate years in NUS. The NUS biology student cohort was made up BSS members in the late 80's and early 90's!

The society had its origins in the Zoology Society, formed in 1966 with Prof Chou Loke Ming, now Singapore's famous marine biologist at the forefront. It became an independent society in 1973.

At its popular peak in the 90's, BSS organised freshmen orientation workshops with 200+ students signing up for nature trips, regular games of Captain's Ball and mud swamp walks. The numbers dropped until they were a handful of students in recent years despite all efforts at recruitment in NUS. At its lowest point, just three students turned up for the annual orientation mud crawl surprise!

This year looked a little promising so the current president roped me in to lead a walk last Sunday, 24th August 2003. I brought a few other willing alumni. The group of 25 guides and participants included 7 nationalities - Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, CHina and Turkey. Graduate students from Bizad and Engineering were also amongst the lot of them.

This very slow walk begun at the incredibly late hour of 9.15am instead of the usual 7am. But we were still lucky, we saw a few snakes including the Elegant Bronzeback and interesting birds including the Chestnut-bellied Malkoha.

The stories I told were varied as usual, as my mind was triggered by things we saw, so I spoke of nature, battles, the communist insurgency, and we took one and a half hours to clear MacRitchie Nature Trail. It was really hot and I was tired and hungry but we would only finish 3 hours later! Luckily Alvin Wong was tag-teaming me as we used to do in the good ol' days.

Amongst the lot of us we saw poaching of aquatic water plants, dogs and mountain bikes in the nature reserve. All no-nos. By the time we saw people feeding the monkeys, we just had to explain the problem to the group doing it. They were agreeable once it was explained to them, so one out of four wasn't too bad, I hope. Poaching was reported to NParks with the photographic evidence we collected.

Photos of the trip at the BSS webpage and at Alvin's webapge.

The BSS AGM was held on Tuesday, 26th August 2003. I hope the society witnesses a revival.

Posted at 1:43PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .