In the early hours on Valentine’s Day, I joined 35 youths together with Mr Baey Yam Keng, Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth, to spend a few hours at the rustic Coney Island. During the visit, the youths were engaged in a SGfuture focus group discussion, facilitated by OBS (Outward Bound Singapore) instructors.
What we did not expect was the “unexpected visitors” during the discussion that nearly spoiled the whole show. More on that later (with pictures).
Here is the map to show the distance we covered using my TomTom Sparks GPS Fitness Watch. We walked about 4km and explored about half the island.
Personally, I think it is a good choice to conduct a guided tour to Coney Island and at the same time, to engage these nature-loving youths on their views on how we can keep Singapore to be environmentally sustainable. Good job for those OBS Instructors who facilitated the discussion.
As mentioned earlier, it was an early event (for me) on a weekend. We gathered at 8am (I was slightly late) and started walking from Punggol Jetty (I still prefer to call it Ponggol End) towards the island which is linked by a man-made bridge. Although I live near the vicinity, it was my first visit to the island. So, this post will be filled with photographs rather than words.
Here is the scenery along the way to the gate. The morning sky was a little misty in the morning.
After a short walk from the Jetty, we reach the gate (Western Entrance).
There are many signboards on the island. You will not have to worry about getting lost.
Our volunteer tour guide of Coney Island for the day.
The youths were so attentive.
In the typical Singapore style of laws and order, rules and regulations, here is a board showing what you CANNOT do on the island.
The first sign I noticed was the “NO FEEDING OF MONKEYS” with a small print stating the fine of up to S$5,000. OK, we got it.
Love the way they made the signboards. Very rustic indeed.
I was actually trying my luck to see if I can spot the famous cow on this island. The only closest thing I could get on the cow is yet another signboard telling us about what we cannot do (and can do). Why do they always tell us what we cannot do? Too much negativity, isn’t it?
Thanks to fellow blogger, Genghui, I managed to catch a glimpse of a woodpecker. Unfortunately, I did not take a good picture of it as it was partially hidden behind some trees and leaves.
Here is my first encounter of an insect, a nicely weaved spiderweb with the spider in the center. Can you see it?
Love the trees on the island. It makes me feel that I am not in Singapore (except for the temperature and humidity).
One of our stops was a beach. Spotted a camouflage shelter for bird lovers to observe, shoot (photograph) the birds. There are a handful of such shelters on the island.
And on the beach, there are man-made steps for you to sit down and watch the sunrise.. and sunset (I think it can be seen from this point).
Here is Mr. Baey with the youths listening to the tour guide.
There are signboards everywhere.
When you are there, do spend some time to spot interesting things like these mushrooms (or fungi) on trees.
Spotted a flower with an ant on it.
The Singapore NParks (Singapore National Parks) has done a good job of paving roads on the island so that we can blend in with nature.
Again, another signboard.
And another signboard.
This is the main road. It reminds me of my army days.
If you love lalang, Coney Island has a lot.
Close up on one of them.
Did I mention there are wild boars on this island?
Did not see one but spotted this pretty butterfly along the way.
Love the wooden broadwalk across the mangrove area.
Here is a perspective of how wide the path is.
Check out the leaves on these trees.
I believe it is the work of worms. Here is a close up.
Finally, we reached the mid-way point where the youths were engaged with the OBS instructors on the SGfuture discussion.
Spotted a monitor lizard (I think).
Here is the beach view. A single heron in the sea.
The youths were gathered in groups for their discussion. Did you notice the intruders or “unwanted visitors” that I mentioned earlier? Did you also noticed that the OBS instructor was armed with an umbrella?
Presenting the “Unwanted Visitors” of Coney Island (Maybe in their mind, we were the unwanted visitors).
I believe they are very used to seeing us. They did not run. Instead, they started to go closer to those with plastic bags and objects that look like food. If you are not careful, they will snatch it away (like this one). Please DO NOT feed them.
I was quite surprised that there are so many of them clustered in this small area with many babies. Since this is the year of Monkey, I shall end this post here with all the monkey pics (quite a number of them). Enjoy.. Thank you OBS and NYC for the invite. Enjoyed myself during the event. If you wish to know more information about the engagement with the youths, scroll down towards the end of this post.
Teaching the baby a lesson?
Better view up here..
I am not hungry, seriously…
14 February 2016
Young nature enthusiasts want more youth to care for the environment at the SGfuture engagement session at Coney Island
From a dedicated ecological literacy programme in schools to a flora and fauna treasure hunt competition, these were some exciting ideas mooted by 35 young nature-lovers, to encourage more youths to appreciate the rich biodiversity in Singapore, at the off-site SGfuture engagement session held at Coney Island this morning.
2 This event was organised by Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) and included a guided tour of the newly opened Coney Island conducted by NParks volunteers, followed by a focus group discussion session facilitated by OBS Instructors.
3 This half-day outdoor classroom session is designed for environmentally conscious groups and individuals who feel strongly about keeping Singapore environmentally sustainable, following the success of OBS’ largest inaugural public outdoor conservation class (Project IsLand-A-Hand) in November 2015.
4 Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth, Mr Baey Yam Keng, trekked 4 kilometres with the young nature enthusiasts and encouraged them to contribute ideas to expand OBS’ existing environmental education efforts to reach out to more youths in its outdoor adventure education programme.
5 “I’m pleased to see many young nature-lovers spending the morning of Valentine’s Day here at Coney Island. Youths are always looking for something fresh to interest them and today’s activity is one of such engagements. As youths are the future leaders who would see Singapore through SG100, it is important for them to be aware and proactive in conserving the environment,” said Mr. Baey.
6 “I chose to participate in this event on a Sunday morning to better understand the biodiversity that’s here at Coney Island. I am passionate about environmental issues and thought it will be a good way to spend my Sunday morning here. I believe that while youth is aware of Singapore’s environmental causes, not many are taking action. This is why sessions like these are important,” said 24-year-old Steven Cheng, President of EarthLink NTU, a youth green group at Nanyang Technology University.