Urban Tropical Ecology in Singapore

Check out Chek Jawa!
by -- February 17th, 2010

A bad pun to describe an amazing wetland habitat!

You know, this course really feels like a study abroad program. In a way it is, just not long enough to be considered one (Study Abroad in Singapore… A possibility?). The idea is the same though; learning by living and experiencing, through hands on interactions with another country and environment.  Also important is learning more about oneself, about a different culture and respecting different rules, expanding one’s comfort zones.

Since my last post we’ve met some amazing and animated people (Ria, Chay, Siva and many others) and visited some beautiful natural habitats, the last of what is left on Singapore.  It’s actually quite interesting being in a place where two far ends of the spectrum, a concrete jungle and a mangrove jungle, are juxtaposed.  The setting is Chek Jawa, a wetland on Pulau Ubin island.  The only way to get there was this exciting and traditional form of transportation called “bumboats.” Sadly, we learned that once the current drivers move on, there will be no more bumboats as newer, ‘safer’ modes of transportation move in.  I think this is an example of an argument that is constantly being examined; what do people classify as traditions? Which ones are worth keeping? Are we losing culture or creating new ones? Singapore moves very quickly, and even the wetlands that we had the honor of visiting were different than they were a couple of years ago, according to people like Dr. Dan.  There is a huge effort by some to protect it but also no laws to do so.

Still it was a rare privelage, and during our visit we saw a variety of cool creatures.  This was Sunday, Feb. 14th. Internet’s a bit slow for me to be uploading many photos, but here are some of my favorites from that day!

Mud Skippers

Mud Skippers - Group Hug!

Peacock Anemone

Peacock Anemone - Most were white but this one was neon green!

Sea Cucumber

Sea Cucumber

Dr. Dan inspects some beautiful snail egg capsules.

Dr. Dan inspects some beautiful snail egg capsules.

Fishing Eagle

Fishing Eagle - It flew overhead too fast for me to make proper adjustments to my camera settings, but if you look closely you can see the fish it caught!

Huge Crab

Huge Crab

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