Act for Nature Project: Intertidal Immersion

So…I completely misread the AFN criteria, and instead decided to take my newfound interest and acquired knowledge about the intertidal zone to my family members. As I am the only person in my family who is remotely interested in conservation or local biodiversity, I felt it a personal responsibility to expose my two sisters and mother to one of the most fascinating ecosystems on this island. 

Above is a picture of myself (second to the left) and my three audience members. Apologies for the fuzzy we-fie. 
Above is the presentation that I used for my family members

https://docs.google.com/document/d/12d6SgjVD5kvarZ8_nlGw_Xxksf61tt9IW-BvNKcDKD0/edit?usp=sharing

*Above is the link to the script/research notes that I collated for this project.

While it is quite difficult to comprehensively cover the flora and fauna of the intertidal zone while keeping the audience members engaged, I tried my very best to introduce the ecosystem, its native species, anthropogenic threats, and ways to take action (Intertidal Watch!) using Google Slides. I felt that I could customize my slides most conveniently with this application, and use the speaker notes function at the bottom of each page to guide my presentation. Especially whilst spotlighting the organisms, I felt it very convenient to use the arrows and adjustable text boxes to diagrammatically represent some of the unique characteristics. After asking for some feedback, the audience members indicated that the content and images were pretty engaging and informative (their words, not mine), and was a good springboard to expand their environmental literacy.

**My middle sister, ever the critic, made a couple of comments, which I will write below (verbatim) as improvements that could be made for any subsequent presentations that I may have to create:

“Some of the transitions between the slides were kind of abrupt”

“You used a lot of unnecessary filler words”

“I wished you maintained eye contact with us (not the wall behind us)”

“Some of the text was hard to read (white font on light green slides)”

“I want you to write less on the slides and talk more…you cannot rely on the audience members to read the slides”

“Work on the ending; you went straight to the ending after your call to action slide”

“Find a good balance between the text and image”

“Stop reading off of the slides”

“It would have been more helpful if you introduced (with clarity) the purpose of your presentation from the get go”

Overall, I really enjoyed researching the 6 organisms that I spotlighted in the presentation. From the distinct arrangements of the knobs on the knobbly sea star to the boisterous and haughty sea apple sea cucumber, there is always something new to learn about the flora in Singapore. Having had the incredible privilege of observing octopi, echinoderms, and crustaceans in the intertidal zone of Pulau Tioman, I thought that this project really broadened my knowledge bank and could be a good starting point for me when I participate in the Intertidal Watch (if possible once the program re-commences). 

Beyond expanding my understanding, this project really challenged me to make some of the complex environmental terminology more accessible for an audience that has little to no background knowledge on this topic. Of course, it is wonderful to geek out, but the message doesn’t really travel unless your audience knows what you are actually talking about. Through this project, I really learned to simplify concepts, avoid sounding too pretentious, and making this niche community more exciting for my family members. I am really grateful for the BFF program, as it exposed me to a group of like-minded individuals and such a welcoming community of nature enthusiasts. As we begin to interact more (safetly, of course) with our friends, I hope to spread my knowledge and maybe encourage others to join citizen science opportunities in the near future! 

Thank you to all of the coordinators for such an incredible program amidst the uncertainties of the pandemic! 

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