Hi! It’s Lucy and Imogen here, we’re two of the nine new interns from all around the globe that started this month at Ecofieldtrips. This is our first time in Singapore and it’s been a whirlwind of emotions and experiences over the past few weeks. Even though we both come from large cities in the UK, Singapore is very different from where we grew up. England and Scotland are so cold and rainy, so we’ve been taking every opportunity to be outside with visits to Gardens By the Bay, the Botanic Gardens and Sentosa. We even tried to sleep on every beach in Sentosa! Not only did we explore the sights, but we’ve enjoyed the flavour explosions of mangosteen, langsat, laksa (thanks to our “professional chef” Jack), carrot cake and enjoyed the experience of trying durian (but will certainly not be trying it again any time soon) and, of course, the many wonderful marmite filled meals from our amazing live-in cook, Mariel. We’ve also had a glimpse into the nightlife of Singapore, with visits to karaoke and gaming bars - but the best entertainment of all is that provided by fellow intern Luiss, who frequently performs various choreographed dances and sings a wide repertoire of songs ranging from Disney to Ariana Grande. It’s been really amazing to be welcomed into the EFT family and getting to know all of the other staff at home with dinners and movie nights.
With the first 2 weeks of training having flown by, us and the rest of the new EFT staff have had some time to collect our thoughts on the intense yet thrilling experiences of our new life in an exciting city and the many ecosystems we have managed to explore. The Ecofieldtrip’s staff training equipped us with the skills we need to teach and inspire the many students that will join our fieldtrips in the coming months.
Training kicked off with a quick trip to the local rainforest of MacRitchie National Park where we spotted long-tailed macaques, strangler figs, and monitor lizards. Neither of us had ever seen these animals before, so it was really exciting! The next day we set off to explore the mangroves of Sungai Buloh, where we encountered the extremely cute mudskippers and the elusive mud lobster mounds. We also learned about how horseshoe crabs are basically living fossils and are more closely related to spiders than crabs, these were so cool to see in person. This was followed by a very early start to Changi beach to examine the wonders of the intertidal zone, finding sea cucumbers, sea stars, and even a feather star – a first for many of our new cohort.
Fresh with our new knowledge and fun facts about the ecosystems, we left for Sedili Besar, Malaysia for the first part of our field training. We trekked through the dense a biodiverse secondary rainforest, encouraged by the echoing calls of gibbons. Later we went into town where we had the chance to compare its culture to that of our own. It was interesting to see how this town, like where we grew up, developed along a waterfront. I guess the need for water for transportation and food is universal!
Both of us are looking forward to putting our new knowledge into practice on our upcoming trips. We really want to inspire these students to fall in love with the rainforest and coastal environments in Singapore and Malaysia as much as we have the last few weeks! That’s all for now, can’t wait to see you on one of our trips!
Curious to learn more about our new Ecofieldtrips staff? Check out their bios here!