Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Semakau shore walk with fun children

My final year project and study load has kept me away from nature trips and it's good that I can finally enjoy one weekday off from today's Hari Raya holiday. Today is also childrens' day! And I can celebrate this day (though I'm old already) because I got to guide my wonderful group, Nobule Volutes, with five younger friends at Semakau landfill. They are Paul, Luke, Shawn, Jean and Gabby (hope I spelt the last name correctly).

This is Paul and Jean. Like kids, they come with inquisitive minds asking me questions like why is the wave white in colour and why doesn't the boat sink though it's so heavy. Good start to be a young scientist because in science, one has to ask questions to learn or discover something new.

They love FOOD and they were munching my seaweed and Mammi noodles happily away. Jean brought a packet of Lays potato chips as well!

Most importantly, they learnt a great deal about our shores and the wonderful creatures living in it! They were most fascinated about the wonders of starfish: being able to extrude their stomach to feed and also regenerate their lost arms. Another portion they could remember well is the importance of seagrasses as nursery for young marine animals. I bet they can remember that seagrasses are the only flowering plants that can be submerged in the sea. Hope they will grow up to love and protect nature :-)

Today's tide was lower than expected and we can see the charming giant clam out of the water. This giant clam is really a must see for every guided tour.

This is my second time seeing this pretty flatworm after about 1.5 years and the first time I get to photograph it properly. Wonderful to encounter this lovely flatworm.

Of course, what's a guided trip to Semakau intertidal without the charismatic knobbly sea stars? After which, our group had a grand finale finding the noble volute which we are named after. The sky dimmed very quickly and we had to walk briskly fighting against the commando mosquitoes at the forest with puddles of mud water in order to return to the road.

Nevertheless, it was a wonderful first evening trip out for Semakau guided tours and the families and participants enjoyed and learnt a good deal of our marine treasures. I had the honour to also have marine biologist Dr. Peter Castro joining my group. He writes the Marine Biology textbook that my module is now using and is a professor at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Glad to be able to share with him our very own Semakau marine life which was his first visit today.

I'll miss the adorable kids. Happy Childrens' Day to all children, and child at heart. :-)

1 comment:

Meilan said...

Hi. Just wondering if you can lead or advise whom I can approach to conduct a tour or for another group of kids to this wonderful place.

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