Sunday, October 7, 2007

Sharing Nature with Ordinary People

Apart from our expanding guided walks to various shores under threat in Singapore, the Naked Hermit Crabs have now sprung a new arm focusing on training workshops for nature guides, nature lovers and all interested public.

Our first workshop in the series was held on 29 September 2007 at Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve. The workshop was initially the brainchild of Sheila, the NParks staff at Sungei Buloh and Ria, who thought it would be good to have a session on stories to share with visitors to nature areas but the numerous ideas soon evolved into a full workshop on "Sharing Nature with Ordinary People". In attendance were volunteers from SBWR, Naked Hermit Crabs and just about everywhere else! Several toddycats were also present, especially familiar faces from my Pedal Ubin group.

The workshop was held shortly after Ria's talk on the Secret Shores of Singapore at the Theatrette in Sungei Buloh. Although we only anticipated 24 people for the workshop, almost 40 turned up! There were a total of 39 people including Ria and myself, the lovely assistant monkey for the day. It was an excellent sharing session where guides of all experience level comes together to share problems and solutions for different type of situations a guide encounters out there in the "wild". Mainly with different type of visitors.

I couldn't capture everybody in the room with my camera but it was a huge crowd!

The workshop started with a general overview of where everybody are from - at least those 24 who preregistered - what their favourite and least favourite aspects of guiding were and a short discussion of each aspect. Discussions really got on the way with animated conversations and contributions from everybody when we broke out into smaller groups. Each group was tasked with a different type of visitors.

Group 1: "School Children" group

Group 2: "Photographers" group

Group 3: "Foreigners" group

Group 4: "RC" group

Group 5: "Mixed Families" group

We overran the time a little towards the end because there were just too much to share. I guess I forgot to introduce to the group that I was actually the note taker for the workshop so I guess people were wondering why I'm walking around taking photos of them! My job was to "instantly" transcribed the points discussed into the round up slides and other general miscellanea. All in all the sharing session had its share of laughter and good ideas! I think we all took away something useful from the workshop. We were expecting some role playing from the groups but darn, none gave us the pleasure of watching them play out the situations prescribed to them. I think next time we'll have to give specific instructions! *grin*

Feedbacks are still coming in from the participants but so far it's been very encouraging and we definitely hope to do this again for the other guides who were actually out on our shores and forests while we were at the workshop! We have not forgotten you - more workshops are definitely in the works.

Photos can be seen at my flickr set.

This is not the end of our workshops but only the beginning! In fact, there are a series of 2 workshops coming up next in the month of October on "Blogging for Nature" which is kindly hosted at NIE @ NTU by the NIE Green Club.

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