Vol 10 No 8
it all starts
More volunteer quotes
A Special Visit by Champion of the Earth, Dr Tewolde Egziabher
Allow me to introduce myself...
More volunteer quotes
Buloh Wetland Reserve
for me and my boys
Allan Teo, self-employed, SBWR volunteer of twelve years
My involvement with Sungei Buloh
began way back when my twins were doing a nature project called Bird
Watching in Singapore . With the help and kind support of the Education
Officer at Sungei Buloh,
we were granted permission to use the library which provided us with lots of
useful information. With the knowledge and information gathered from the
numerous books and outings with Nature Society, my children and I picked up a
lot of information and knowledge about local birds, fauna and flora. With
that we were asked to be Volunteers of SBNP which I have been
till today and for my son, Amos, until he left for Melbourne.
The satisfaction is immeasurable and the wonderful feeling of guiding groups
around SBWR and seeing that I have made their time worth
while, is enough to make me want to come back to conduct more nature
walks for the public.
Thank you for making my association with SBWR so wonderful!
decade of satisfaction
Keith Hillier, Shipping Consultant, SBWR volunteer of ten years
So it must have been ten years ago that I figured out for myself that doing
volunteer work at Sungei Buloh
would match my criteria for an ideal retirement activity - sun, fresh air,
exercise, something interesting every time and no end to the learning.
Every time I conducted a guided walk, there was something new to pick up. I
remembered once I took a party of staff and their families from the National
Library Board (NLB). There was a little old Malay lady - one of the staffs grandmother. I was
pointing out a Bakau putih
mangrove and she asked why it was called putih.
I did not really know but suggested that it might be because the apical buds
were whitish, as distinct from the red ones of the Tumu
(Bakau merah). Her
response was a scathing You are only guessing young man, you should
know for sure. Incidentally, she could not have been much older than
Thoroughly chastised, I went to the library and looked it up and then emailed
the grand-daughter at the library to tell her to inform her grandmother that
the real reason was because it was the wood (timber) that was white. A couple
of days later, I received a reply of thanks and a query if I could answer
some more questions that her grandmother was posing.
Certainly this was one way of constant learning, not to mention the
satisfaction of having someone else interested in nature.
of a feather
Kenneth Kee, Projects Executive, SBWR volunteer
of ten years
I have been bird watching in Sungei Buloh even before it was officially opened in 1993. It
was my favourite weekend retreat to relax, be close to nature and enjoy my
breakfast with the company of hundreds and thousands of waders.
It was during one of those occasions, ten years ago,
when a charming lady approached me at the main hide to become a volunteer
guide at Sungei Buloh.
Why not share your passion of bird watching with members of the public?
I enjoy imparting my knowledge and sharing my passion of bird watching. It
has always been a joy to me when they expressed delight and amazement that
such beautiful birds exists in Singapore. It was my hope that they will be
better informed, encourage their friends to come and slowly spread the
message that this wonderful place is worth preserving. I was overjoyed when Sungei Buloh was officially
announced as a wetland reserve in 2003.
It has been a good ten years. I wish Sungei Buloh and its dedicated staff all the best and every
success in its Volunteer program. Happy 10th anniversary!
the rustic charms of nature
KS Wong, Semi retiree, SBWR volunteer of ten years
My first acquaintance with Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SB WR) started in 1994. It was
then a nature park. I was on a reconnaissance for a nature outing for my
former colleagues. I was awed by the rustic beauty of the Reserve. Soon
after, I made frequent weekend trips to savour its charms. Hence, when SBWR
asked for volunteer guides, I signed up. What better way to help conserve its
charms and share its wonders with others than as a volunteer.
Over the years, I have volunteered in various areas, with varied and very
enriching experiences. I have led guided walks for visitors from different
ages, backgrounds and countries. I have helped out in conservation work and
assisted in various activities, programmes and events organised. I have also
conducted training for new volunteers and green clubs from
schools and organisations.
Through volunteering, I have gained knowledge, skills, experience and much
for the Wetlands
W. Calvin Ho, Attorney, SBWR volunteer of ten years for the wetlands
It was at first difficult to imagine the beautiful but gregarious-looking
kingfishers to be vocal, but their quarrels have since become for me the
audio insignia of Sungei Buloh.
Furthermore, who would have thought huge monitor lizards to be shy or otters
could be so bold! I once witnessed a Grey Heron slurp up an unfortunate
Oriental Whip Snake much like one would a thread of noodle. And one can
hardly underrate the stunning display of coordination in flight as winged
migrants overreact to a disinterested White-bellied Sea Eagle.
Of the many facades of nature, I learnt that rustling leaves could mimic the
sound of rain even as the sensation of it was reconstructed by a shower of
seeds from tall-standing mangrove trees. Looking up, one could not but marvel
at the spectacle of light displaced by shield bugs as dazzling metallic
colours against a moving pallet of green.
Such have been aspects of my education, not only as a volunteer, but also
about being Singaporean. I am delighted to find that we have a natural
heritage that is uniquely Singapore.
In the past 10 years, it has been my privilege, as well as honour, to have
served with a team of wonderful people at Sungei Buloh both past and present. This anniversary is
appropriately a celebration of the dedication, inspiration and vision that
have enriched the Singaporean identity.
Congratulations Sungei Buloh!
vessel for nature
SK Kwan, Manager in a shipping company, SBWR volunteer of ten years
Back in the 80s, one of my well-liked places was Sungei
Buloh prawn farms where I watched the baya weavers. I was very happy when it was officially
opened as a nature park on 6 December 1993, and looked forward to enjoying
the place with more people It was great fun showing visitors that the little
brown blobs on the mudflats were actually birds (usually the Pacific Golden
Plovers which remains quite still). I have seen their amazement when I point
out to them the colours of the kingfisher through the binoculars, or telling
them how smart the Tilapia was in making little ponds to stay in when the
tide went out.
So, when I learnt that volunteer guides were needed, I signed up. I am glad
that Sungei Buloh today
is now designated a Wetland Reserve and is even a member of the East Asian-
Australasian Shorebird Site Network. It is great fun being a volunteer as
sometimes, you could be on the receiving end of a simple guided walk.
Yeo Swee Cheong, Process Engineer, SBWR
volunteer of ten years
In those early days, volunteering was pretty much devoted to the weeklong
event of Birdwatch in November, bird
count/census, bird ringing and some weeding. The volunteering activities have
since evolved much with weekend free guided tours, prawn harvesting
demonstrations, art workshops, coastal cleanup and
lots more to do. With time, my knowledge of mangroves grew and my oratory
skills had improved.
Dispensing nuggets of interesting information of otherwise dull looking
plants, interwoven with the intrigues and dramas of natural behaviours and
interactions made visitors sit up and listen.
It was immensely satisfying when the visitors, after the guided tour, would
come up to me and say that they had truly enjoyed the visit and my
nature talk had greatly contributed to their experience.
I am proud to be a part of this volunteer family in Sungei Buloh, which includes
many volunteers of whom I had known for many years now, and to bear witness
to all that has come to pass, especially in becoming a Wetland Reserve in
2002 that it rightly deserves to be.