Friday, November 26, 2010

Launch of the Survey! (26 Nov 10)

A very large group of enthusiastic volunteers gathered for the official launch of the Comprehensive Marine Biodiversity Survey of Singapore!
It was really exciting to learn more about how the Survey came about, and the plans for the months ahead!

Linda Goh, Assistant Director (National Biodiversity Centre) NParks begins the session by introducing Jonathan Ngiam, Senior Project Officer who will be managing the Comprehensive Marine Biodiversity Survey.
Mr Wong Tuan Wah, Director (Conservation) NParks shared about some of the supporters and contributors of the Survey, from the volunteers to the sponsors and partners in this unique historic effort. It will be first time we will be attempting to find out what is out there in our waters from the high water mark to the seabed!
How fortunate we were to have Mr Francis Lee, Chairman of the International Year of the Reef 2008 Singapore Organising Committee, who led the effort to come up with the Singapore Blue Plan which was eventually submitted and accepted by the government. In particular, Minister Mah Bow Tan supported one of the Blue Plan's proposals, which was to have a comprehensive survey of our marine biodiversity. And here we are today, embarking on this great effort!
Francis encourages us to read the full Blue Plan which can be downloaded here.

Linda then proceeds to explain in great detail the objectives of the Survey. Here's some of the highlights of her presentation.
NParks will lead the survey with many partners and supporters.
Of course volunteers are an important part and the Survey provides a unique opportunity for ordinary people to make a difference and contribute to a better understanding of our marine biodiversity. It's a great chance to learn and share about our marine life and be a part of a community who cares about our shores.
And we now already have more than 80 volunteers registered with the Survey! From all walks of life, but joined by a passion for our marine life!
Then it was time for Dr Tan Koh Siang of the Tropical Marine Science Institute to tell us more about our first effort in the survey, to check out the mudflats!
Dr Tan also shares why we are so interested in mudflats. Although we have a lot of mudflats, we don't know all too much about them. Mudflats are also an important marine ecosystem.
And here's our objectives on the mudflats.
It will be hard work, but we hope to find out more about what is out there! Besides field work, there is also a lot of work to be done in the lab, and in essential support work such as data entry. Volunteers will most definitely be able to make a difference in many ways!
We will be looking at about 20 different sites in Singapore! Wow, we sure have a lot of mudflats!
Field work will involve some back-breaking work, and getting really muddy. But I'm sure lots of volunteers can't wait to get out there to see what we will find!
Of course, safety is a priority. I really like Dr Tan's advice about what to do when we get stuck in the mud!
Dr Tan then outlines, literally, more about how we will actually conduct the work on the mudflats. It sounds exciting!
Earlier on, we enjoyed some refreshments before the briefing! And took the time to catch up with old friends and meet new ones.

The slides given at the launch will soon be uploaded on this blog.

Don't worry if you missed this presentation. There will be on-the-job training during the actual survey dates and dates of other activities.

What's next?

The first Forays into the Mud are below
  • 2 Dec (Thurs) 12.30pm - 3.30pm at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
  • 15 Jan (Sat) 1pm at Kranji Mangroves

To join the Survey, please first register via this form. You will then get an invitation to join the Mega Marine yahoo groups mailing list. You can then sign up for the event on the yahoo groups database. Updates and other information will also be sent via the yahoo groups mailing list.

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