Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Celebrating our Marine Park volunteer guides!

Introducing the newest volunteer guides of the Sisters Islands Marine Park!
It was a busy year end for the Marine Park volunteers as they helped train new volunteers, held their first volunteer retreat, all while carrying on with the usual public walks.

Training new volunteers began in October. With a series of public talks which included hands-on interactive sessions. The first series of talks began with an introduction to the Marine Park, some history of the Southern Islands, and a general overview of the coral reefs of Singapore.
The second series of talks covered and introduction to Singapore's marine life, threats and actions for them, Marine Flora of Singapore and a brief introduction to guiding at the Marine Park and safety of our shores and ourselves.
In both series, experienced volunteer guides helped share in the exciting interactive sessions where we got to play with specimens.
Then it was time for two classroom workshops which allowed everyone to brainstorm ideas on how to conduct fun and meaningful walks for visitors. The training is held under November Tan's Leafmonkey Workshop and put together with Ria Tan of wildsingapore. Here is November kicking off the classroom workshop session.
Experienced volunteer guides helped facilitate the small group sessions.
The workshop featured collaborative real time online notetaking and sharing!
The highlight was workshopping various ways to keep our shores safe, our visitors happy and for a fun and meaningful trip to the Marine Park.
Thanks to wild intern Mui Shan for taking care of the mountain of admin details for a smooth training programme! Here she is with November Tan. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the support and patience of NParks.
Here are the happy volunteers from the first workshop.
And more enthusiastic volunteers from the second classroom workshop.
The training ended with a field orientation session at Sisters Islands Marine Park. Once again, the experienced guides helping new guides develop their stories, got familiar with the walk route and practiced 'seeking' for special animals to share with the visitors.

More about the training programme

Volunteers Retreat

The Marine Park volunteers also organised the first Volunteer Retreat after the training. An overnight stay at St. John's Island, which is also part of the Marine Park!
Photo by Johnson Ong.
Here, they had lots of fun with games!
Photo by Adriane Lee.
Photo by Johnson Ong.
 And exploring the shores and other natural areas of St. John's Island.
Photo by Adriane Lee.

MORE photos of the Retreat

Public walks

All the while, the volunteers were conducting fun walks for the public. Despite the monsoon season, most of the trips missed the lightning and wet weather!
Photo by Kok Kwan Siong.
Helen Edmonds' family had a great time at one of the walks. Thanks for sharing the photos on the Sisters Islands Marine Park facebook group!
In addition to doing the walks, the volunteers and NParks staff also squeeze out time during the short low tide window of the walk to remove this abandoned net which we first saw during the training field orientation. The data on this net will join data collected on other abandoned nets in Singapore as part of Project Driftnet.
There is a lot to be done for the Marine Park and for Singapore's shores! Bravo to the volunteers of the Marine Park for making a difference.

More information about the Sisters Islands Marine Park

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