The Ocean Connection: Field Trip!
Enough with the classrooms. This week, the students headed out to learn about the realities of Singapore’s marine landscape! A fun-filled and enriching day, they gathered at Marina South Pier and boarded the ferry to our southern islands!
For many of them, it was the first time having a glimpse at our southern shores, and the boat ride gave them an opportunity to truly soak in and appreciate our natural heritage. Who knew Singapore had over 60 offshore islands? St. John’s Island was the first stop of the day, and we were greeted at the pier by the fantastic facilitators from St. John’s Island National Marine Laboratory. They gave the students a guided tour around the island’s diverse marine habitats. From the rocky shores and sandy beaches, to the coastal forests and mangrove swamps, the students engaged the facilitators in questions-and-answers, trying to connect what they saw with what they already knew.
The students learnt about the rich biodiversity Singapore had and its various ecosystem services, as well as saw first hand its immediate threats. The students were treated with a visit to the St. John’s Island National Marine Laboratory, an offshore research facility which houses the Sisters’ Island marine gallery. They learnt about more habitats - like the coral and mangrove viewing pools, and the efforts taken to conserve Singapore’s marine life through the establishment of Sisters’ Island Marine Park.
It was then reflection time! Now, the students have been working on developing their own projects and initiatives to be shared with the rest of the school during Oceans Day. They broke into their groups and discussed what they had seen in the morning, and how they could communicate these new experiences through visual storytelling. Climate change, marine pollution, coral bleaching, and biodiversity were just some of the diverse issues the students dissected and discussed amongst themselves - how impressive!
It was then lunch time, and what better way to enjoy a meal than doing so outdoors, along the beach! The students had a plant-based lunch, and brought their own reusables - it was a great teaching moment where the facilitators shared about how small actions like these could reduce one’s carbon footprint, and collectively make a big impact on our environment. As they bid the island goodbye, many shared that they would definitely be back on their own.
The next stop was the Singapore Maritime Gallery. After having experienced Singapore’s natural landscapes, it was imperative that the students also became acquainted about the anthropogenic processes and pressures facing our waters, and ocean literacy here certainly could not be divorced from understanding Singapore’s importance and development as a trading port - second busiest in the world to be exact. They enjoyed the guided tour around the gallery, learning about Singapore’s history and maritime industries and got to immerse in the many interactive exhibits.
The day ended with a final group photo overseeing the Singapore straits. Armed with new knowledge, experiences and brimming innovations and creativity, we are excited to see how the students will be coming together to consolidate their ideas, create their stories and engage their school in the weeks to come! Indeed, who ever said that learning had to be confined to the classrooms?
© The Maju Collective x Our Seas, Our Legacy, 2019.