2020 BFF Biodiversity Challenge Seminar Workshop

Saturday 22 Feb 2020 – 2020’s BFF Biodiversity Challenge has begun!

For the third year running, the BFF Biodiversity Challenge 2020 was launched one Saturday morning early and bright at the National University of Singapore. Around 50 youths came down to NUS despite the COVID-19 situation looming over Singapore. To keep the crowds small, participants were assigned separate venues (S16 and Lab 7) where our facilitators ran activities concurrently. With ample precautions taken and our speakers running between venues, we were thrilled to welcome our youths in kick-starting the Biodiversity Challenge!

After a hearty breakfast, the day’s programme commenced with Joy Wong from NParks and N. Sivasothi from NUS welcoming our participants. In the first half of the opening, participants attended talks given by Siva, Marjorie and Tina.

Joy introducing the Challenge in Lab 7.

Siva spoke about ‘Landscape Change and Wildlife Challenges in Singapore’, to provide background for the Challenge.

Next, we heard from Marjorie Chong of the Otter Working Group, about her otter-watching experience. What started as a casual hobby became a passion, and led to contributions to wildlife management in Singapore. Her journey aptly shows how everyday citizens can make valuable contributions to conservation.

Marjorie sharing stories of various otter monitoring and rescue missions she was involved in.

We were also excited to welcome back Tina Liow, a BFF alumna who completed the Challenge in 2018. Participants got to hear first-hand how the Challenge developed her passion for biodiversity.

Tina, back for the second time as an alumna.

Participants tried their hand at a series of games, led by our friendly facilitators. In the first game, participants learned scientific terminology to describe animals and their behavioursThis was also used to buy time for our speakers to swap venues!

Participants filling up the answer sheet with the facts they learned.

The remaining games prompted conversations about several issues pertaining to conservation. Participants discussed how green and urban spaces are balanced in Singapore, and explored the OneMap website to identify owners of land parcels. Participants were also introduced to various formal and informal groups in the conservation scene, and talked about mechanisms to engage stakeholders.

Participants categorised various animals found in Singapore by their residency status and learned about their conservation statuses. Some species had different statuses locally and globally, which came as a surprise!
The games encouraged fruitful discussions within groups.

For final admin matters, participants were introduced to the WordPress blog where they would be posting their field trip reflections. We then adjourned for lunch – a great way to conclude our fruitful morning!

At lunchtime, participants and facilitators continued to bond over a scrumptious spread.
Our cheery participants and facilitators in Lab 7!

We hope everyone enjoyed this year’s Seminar Workshop, and wish all participants an enriching BFF 2020 journey!

A big thank you to our facilitators, seniors and other helpers for making this event a success: Anna, Boxin, Cheryl, Chew Peng, Cyrena, Hui Min, Joash, Joleen, Marjorie, Nigel, Spencer, Srishti, Tina, Tze Kwan, Yuke Ling, Ze Ming.

Text by: Anna Low, Joy Wong and Lesley Chng

Photos by: Charlotte Goh

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