Nature Society (Singapore) Volunteer Guides Field Training Course (VGFTC)

Mangroves by N. Sivasothi

Sessions will be conducted at the Volunteers Workroom and environs of the Sungei Buloh Nature Park Visitor Centre, courtesy of the SBNP management. The two-day course will be based on a route in the park usually conducted for NSS members in the first Sunday in December (close to the park's birthday of 6th December). Session I - Session II - Preparations for Session II - Packing List - SBNP walk for NSS

Requirements of participants
1. Attend all sessions - or have a very good reason (and inform me in advance) for skipping the first lesson.
2. Browse the BP/Science Centre
Guide to the Mangroves of Singapore Volumes I & II.
3. Have both guidebooks on hand at all times.
4. Maintain a nature notebook with notes and drawings - submit for inspection.
5. Attendance at a post-workshop training session.
6. Help out at a guiding activity for NSS members in Dec 2001, and a session for the public in 2002.

Session I - Sat 18th Aug 2001: 6.30pm - 8.00pm
Introduction to mangroves and SBNP
What is the mangrove? Where are mangroves found - which part of the world, in what geographical conditions, and how it is found. Zones in SBNP. Why it is relatively easy to identify mangrove plants and some examples.

Introduction to the aim of the course
Outline of the route, stations an topics we will study at SBNP. Stories to tell - topics and method; Rhizophora as an example - how to identify by unique characters, similarities and differences, uses, where you can find them.

Techniques for the guide
Why the public may know the common Malay or dialect names. Attention span limitations in explaining a topic. Alternating guiding styles to suit specific group dynamics.

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Session II - Sun 2nd Sept 2001: 9am - 5pm
Objective: To be able to organise, coordinate and guide an introductory walk for NSS members at Sungei Buloh Park.


1. Review
Role of NSS and nature appreciation in relation to education, conservation and the public. Your role and how this course will help.

2. More on ecology
Zonation (in general and in Singapore), food webs and tides - gravity at work, tide-tables, trends and links to ethnic calendars, extreme examples in Sungei Buloh (look for tidal marks) and Singapore - how to explain and use them. Correlation with faunal ecology.

3. Fauna and flora and other stories
Familiarity with the most common organisms - five species each of plants, insects, other invertebrates, crabs, molluscs, fish and birds. And stories about the park you should know.

4. Route in the park
Guiding the layman at the specific stations: Visitor Centre, Mangrove Boardwalk, Bridge over Sungei Buloh Besar, Main Hide & Sluice Gate, part of Route 1, Western Straits of Johor.

5. Techniques for the guide
Outlining your objective. Using familiar names and products. Use of analogies. Attention span limitations. Generating a response, direct and indirect. SBNP is more than mangroves. More than nature during a walk. Why you have to read newspapers. Teaching concepts and content - which do they walk away with?

6. Public performance - Strategies for a guide
The class will be guiding a session for Nature Society members which will be announced in the November - December issue of Nature News. The walk is conducted annually for NSS members in the first week of December. What dfo you include in a write-up? Who is the target audience?
Review examples of write-ups for this walk in Nature News listed here.

7. Internet resources for the guide
A variety of resources that are available on the internet, both public and private.

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Preparations for Sesssion II

I - Questions to answer
Where can mangroves be found in Singapore?
What zones can you see along the route?
What do you think is the knowledge base and objective of NSS members who come for the 'Lazy Sunday' walk in SBNP in November and December?

II - Topics to present on

Aurora & Raymond - Plants
Rhizophora, Bruguiera, Avicennia, Sonneratia, Acanthus, Acrostichum, Hibiscus

Beng Chiak & Bee Leng - Insects
Pneumatophore moth, Shield bugs, Cotton-stainer bug, Tide-watching moth, Mangrove longicorn beetle

Han Bin & Maureen - Others
Tetragnatha josephi, Barnacles, Argiope mangal, Polychaetes, Anemones

Marilyn & Lee Yng - Crabs
Episesarma, Portunus, Scylla, Aplheus, Chiromantes

Andrew & Alan - Molluscs
Cerithidea, Telescopium, Ellobium, Sphaerassiminea, Onchidium, Thais, Isognomon

Juggi & Daphne - Fish
Halfbeak, Spot-tail Needlefish, Archerfish, Mullet, Green Chromide, Garfish

Ria & Wang Yee- Birds
Kingfisher, Egret, Heron, Water hen, Sandpiper, Munia

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Pack the following:
Classroom attire
Field attire (shorts/t-shirt, shoes with laces)
Complete change of clothes, including a change of shoes/slippers
Pen, nature notebook
Mangrove guidebooks
Snacks for tea
A sunny disposition
Lunch - cantten has food these days
Minimise the valuables you are bringing.
Locker services are available at SBNP; just have a one dollar coin ready.

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