Wednesday, December 24, 2008




Slender Pitcher Plant (Nepenthes gracilis)

If you’re a kid between the ages of 5 and 10, join us for our…


MAD LESSON ON CARNIVOROUS PLANTS

Can plants gobble insects up? Do we have such plants in Singapore? We will learn some fascinating facts about carnivorous plants and the special ways they grow, where to find them and how to grow them. This MAD lesson will also include information about how you can be part of the solution to protect our environment and wild habitats.

Choose any one of the dates below:

Wednesday, 7 January 2009, 2.30 to 4.30pm
Sunday, 11 January 2009, 2.30 to 4.30pm
Wednesday, 21 January 2009, 9.30 to 11.30am

Cost: $15 per child which includes a lovely badge and poster.
All classes held at the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden.


Registration: Email Celine Low at contact@cicadatree.org.sg

Sunday, November 16, 2008





If you’re a kid between the ages of 6 and 11, join us


UNDER THE KAPOK TREE


This invigorating lesson will involve animal yoga and story-telling and will be carried out right under a large kapok tree ((Indian Cotton Tree). You will hear the story of “The Great Kapok Tree” written by Lynne Cherry and learn yoga movements which represent animals of the rainforest!

When: Saturday, 6 December 2008, 9.15 - 10.15am
Where: Upper Seletar Reservoir Park
(meet at foot of Viewing Tower)
Cost: $10 per child
(minimum 10 kids to run session)
Wet weather plan: If it rains, we will postpone lesson.
In case of rainy weather, please call Celine @ 96932554
or Vilma @ 98254467 to check if lesson is to be postponed.

Registration:
Email Celine Low at leopardcat@pacific.net.sg

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Your thoughts

Charles Windle, who has just turned 6, emailed us yesterday with his thoughts on the MAD About Butterflies and Moths lesson. Here's what he has to say:

'I like mad lesson on butterflies and moths because I can contribute my ideas and learn more about them. I like my "mathematics" moth too. Thank you Uncle Andrew.'


Thank you Charles! We hope you'll keep learning about butterflies and moths.

Hi kids! If you attended a MAD lesson and would like to share with us a story, idea or something which you learnt, please email us here and we will post what you have to say on our blog!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

(Sept 08) Jungle Friends—Kids’ lessons on Ecology


Above: Looking for dragonfly nymphs.

The month of September saw Cicada Tree Eco-Place focus on ecology. Lessons centred on relationships in our natural world.



Above: Uncle Joe teaching about cherry trees and bats.

The lessons began with Joseph Lai, our naturalist-teacher, telling a story about the relationships plants and animals have with each other and with the sun, air, water, and people. Using pictures, Joe started the story with an Indian cherry tree that provides food to its friend, the fruit-loving bat. Returning the favour, the bat carries cherry seeds to other places and drops them in soil so that baby cherry trees can begin to grow. The story continues with friendships between and among birds’ nest ferns, trumpet trees, carpenter bees, simpoh air trees, fish, butterflies, air, water and the sun.

Kids then visited the Children’s Garden to look for bats under bird’s nest ferns and carpenter bees sipping nectar from flowers. After the walk, the kids returned to the classroom to play Cicada Tree’s very own carbon footprint game called “Cool Earth”, which taught them easy daily eco-actions to protect our environment and wild habitats.



Above: Confidence building.



Above: Getting up close with a cherry tree.

Monday, September 29, 2008

MAD about butterflies & moths


Above: Kids with their origami butterflies and moths!

In August 2008, Cicada Tree Eco-Place kick-started MAD Lessons for Wildlife. Kindly sponsored by Intel, and held in conjunction with the Singapore Botanic Gardens, 4 lessons on butterflies and moths were run at the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden.

MAD stands for Make A Difference, and it is hoped that all 63 children who attended this series of MAD lessons are carrying out the simple eco-actions they had pledged to do.


Some suggestions were:

1. Don't kill butterflies and moths, and ask others not to do so.
2. Free butterflies and moths after reared caterpillars have undergone metamorphosis, so they can make friends and have more caterpillar babies!
3. Do not trap butterflies and moths. Observe them in the wild.
4. Protect caterpillars. Do not harm them.



Above: Observing Observing pupae of the Lime butterfly.



Above: Learning about butterfly and moth ecology.


Kids learnt about the diversity of butterflies and moths in Singapore, the differences between the two, and their ecology: life cycle, where they live, what they eat, and what may eat them. There were museum specimens, as well as live caterpillars and pupae, to learn about.



Above: Colouring and decorating their butterflies/moths.


The children got to bring home an origami butterfly/moth they decorated themselves, a lovely wall-poster on butterflies, a button-badge, and a bookmark on which they could pledge to help butterflies and moths in their daily lives.




Above: Looking for butterflies and moths.


Hi kids! If you attended Uncle Andrew’s session on butterflies and moths, and would like to share with us a story, idea or something which you learnt, please email us here and we will post what you have to say on our blog! Read what Charles Windle has to say here.


Article and photographs by Vilma D'Rozario, edited by M.J. Tan.

M.A.D. for the Nightlife!



On 16 August, Cicada Tree Eco-Place invited experts Mr Fam Shun Deng and Mr Norman Lim to present a slide-show and talk on Singapore’s little-known nocturnal mammals – the slow loris, the pangolin, and the colugo.

Held at the Singapore Botanic Gardens' Botany Centre, the talk highlighted the animals’ characteristics, ecology, the threats they face, and how we can make a difference.



Above: A little girl with her colugo!

The talk was targeted at adults, but kids also had the opportunity to learn about slow lorises, pangolins and colugos. Photos, colugo and slow loris skulls, and even a stuffed pangolin specimen (confiscated from the illegal wildlife trade) helped the kids better understand the physiology and ecology of these animals.

At the end of the lesson, the kids got to make their own paper colugos and let them climb the wall! Here are some photos we took:


Above: Busy with colouring their colugos.



Above: My colugo will glide soon!



Above: The children with their finished colugos.


We would like to thank Nick Baker and Chan Kwok Wai for their wonderful animal photographs, and the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research (RMBR) for specimens. Thanks also to the Singapore Botanic Gardens for the venue.

Article and photos by Vilma D'Rozario, edited by M.J. Tan.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Our Roots & Shoots Day of Peace



On September 21, young people around the world joined Dr Jane Goodall in celebrating the Roots & Shoots Day of Peace by flying giant peace dove puppets in their communities to symbolise their commitment to peace.

“With the Peace Doves, we remind everyone of the truth they sometimes forget—that peace is possible. We celebrate all that is free and noble in the human spirit. And we celebrate all that so many people have done throughout the year—and will do next year—to create a better world,” said Dr. Goodall.



Above: Peaceful doves. Photo by K.C. Tsang.

A UN Messenger of Peace since 2002, Dr. Goodall established the global, annual Roots & Shoots Day of Peace in 2004 to encourage Roots & Shoots members and other interested individuals to promote peace in their communities and around the globe.



Above: Kids with their lanterns!

In Singapore, September marks the month of the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Traditionally celebrated on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month in celebration of a bountiful Autumn harvest in China, Chinese families typically gather in the evening to drink tea, eat mooncakes, and carry lanterns.

To celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, Roots & Shoots member, Cicada Tree Eco-Place, a non-profit environmental education organization, marked this evening of nature, culture, and peace on September 12 with 15 children and their parents and teachers, drinking orchid tea, eating vegetarian mooncakes and making lanterns.

At this event held at Orchidville, an orchid farm in Mandai, children learned about native peaceful doves which symbolize peace. We talked about how one could make peace by not fighting, and making friends. The kids learned about bats, which in Chinese culture symbolise blessing. Each kid then made his or her own lantern with Chinese papercut-style motifs of peaceful doves and bats.



Above: Kids learning about the various animals.


Above: Beautiful Chinese papercstencils by Andrew Tay.



Above: Busy stencilling...



... and paper-cutting!


When night fell, everyone went for a walk with their lanterns and watched insect-eating bats take to the night sky in search of food.
Apart from bats, other animals spotted included a nightjar as it flew into the nearby forest. With the aid of Vilma's bat detector, the kids were introduced to the concept of echolocation, in which insect-eating bats use sound waves to hunt for food.

A bat detector works by converting bats' echolocation ultrasound signals, which are normally too high-pitched for us to process, to frequencies audible to the human ear. Echolocation is primarily used by insect-eating microbats (as opposed to the larger fruit-eating macrobats) to hunt for flying insects.



Above: Kids lighting their lanterns.






Above: Bat-detecting at dusk.

It was our Singaporean way of celebrating the Roots & Shoots Day of Peace!



Article by Vilma D’Rozario, edited by M.J. Tan. Photos by Vilma D’Rozario and M.J. Tan, unless otherwise stated.

Click here to learn about the Roots & Shoots Day of Peace and how to make giant peace dove puppets.

If you’d like to know how to make peaceful dove lanterns, email Andrew Tay of Cicada Tree Eco-Place.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Events Calendar

Want to view upcoming CTEP lessons, talks and other events? Click here to have a look at our new events calendar!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Gardening for Native Wildlife


Above: Black-veined Tiger Butterfly and Plain Tiger Butterfly feeding on nectar from the Indian Turnsole, a wildflower. Photo by Angie Ng.


Did you know that a pretty garden pond with a fountain tends not to be the ideal habitat for our native fish, frogs and toads? A naturally “messy” eco-pond overgrown with pond weeds is more what these animals consider their ideal home, and where they will likely build their nests and rear their young ones.



Above: Grow Torch Ginger (Bunga Kantan) in your garden and Crimson sunbirds will visit to sip nectar from the ginger flowers. Photo by Y C Wee.


Many ornamental and hybridised plants are bred only for their showy flowers, not for their natural nectar-producing capabilities. Thus butterflies, moths, sunbirds and honeybees that survive on nectar depend on native wildflowers for their food.



Above: Common Palm Civets will visit Cherry Trees for their ripe berries. Photo by Chan Kwok Wai.


How can we make a difference for native wildlife?
• Grow native plant species in your garden, below your windowsill, along your corridor and in your balcony. Native wildlife will naturally recognise them as food sources and will visit.
• Be generous, allow a portion of your garden to grow wild. Wildflowers will naturally colonise this patch and wildlife will tend to stop by and stay.
• Create an eco-pond. Water is life for our native species of frogs, toads, dragonflies and damselflies and where they complete their life cycles. It’s also a source of clean drinking water for thirsty wildlife.
• Go organic! Do not use chemical pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilisers in your garden. They kill wildlife and their toxins are harmful to you and your family. Do choose to use more natural, herb-based options available.
• Always go for a non-chemical option. For instance, instead of fogging with chemicals, have fish in your pond to eat up mosquito larvae. Many herb and spice plants such as Citronella Grass and Tea Tree repel pest insects.



Above: Common Fruit Bats love to roost under fan palms. Photo by Chan Kwok Wai.


How Cicada Tree Eco-Place can help you make a difference:

We provide eco-gardening services like
• Creating an eco-garden for your home, office or school
• Creating herb, spice, fruit and water gardens.
• Conducting native plant identification guided field trips.
• Conducting native plant propagation and gardening workshops.
• Conducting kids’ fun Flora Exploration sessions.


For enquiries and program registration, please email andrew.tay@pacific.net.sg or call 9 856 2262.


Monday, September 1, 2008

‘Grow Things’ Program

Click here to view our events calendar!

One sure way to lessen our carbon footprint is to grow a plant.

Learn all about plants and how to grow them in this creative, hands-on fun flora lesson for kids!





Lesson structure:
* Introduction to plantlife and their importance
* Our native species (Photos & live specimens)
* Where they live, their habitats, how they adapt to their environment.
* Observing floral specimens, both live and preserved, e.g., ant plant, orchid, vegetable, cactus, wildflower, seeds, fruit, etc.
* Learning about plant & animal symbiotic relationships.
* Introduction to soil, pots and other planting materials. How to grow a plant.
* Demonstration on various ways to grow a plant e.g., in soil, in water and pebbles, growing epiphytes on bark.
* Demonstration on how to do propagation.
* Distribution of a cutting to take home to sprout in water first then pot up themselves later.
* Distribute planting materials (coco-pot, soil).
* Distribute eco-pledge bookmark & fun plant worksheet.
* Conclusion: Global warming, conservation of plant habitats, Make A Difference!


Details:
Class length: 2 hours
Suitable for: kids 5 to 12 years old
Venue: Your school or other suitable venue
Cost: S$15 per child participant, for a maximum group size of 20. No minimum group size. A minimum cost of $300 per session applies.


For registration and enquiries, please email leopardcat@pacific.net.sg .

Click here to view our events calendar!

Friday, August 22, 2008

12 September 2008: Lantern Festival


The Lantern Festival is well-loved by children, especially for its colourful lanterns. Cicada Tree Eco-Place invites children to come together to promote peace by making peaceful dove lanterns as part of our Lantern Festival celebrations. Traditionally celebrated on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month in observance of a bountiful Autumn harvest in China, Chinese families typically gather to relax, drink tea, eat moon cakes, carry lanterns around their neighbourhood and pray for peace. Upon this occasion, the legend of the Moon Goddess, Chang-Er, is often told to children.

At this event held at an orchid farm, you will learn to make lanterns out of recycled material and hear about the Lantern Festival and the Roots & Shoots Day of Peace. As night falls, we will admire the moon, drink orchid tea, eat mooncakes and watch for bats that take to the night sky in search for food. Come to also find out how bats are symbols of prosperity in Chinese culture.


Date: Friday 12 September 2008
Place: Nature's Niche @ Orchidville (click for directions)
Time: 4.30pm to 8pm
Cost: $20 per child (includes lesson notes, craft materials, floral tea and mooncakes)

SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN 6 TO 10 YEARS OLD.

Registration: Email Celine Low at leopardcat@pacific.net.sg

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

16 Aug 08: M.A.D. About Nightlife!



Ever wonder what lives in our forests at night? Well, join us and find out!

Cicada Tree Eco-Place, an environmental education NGO, in conjunction with NParks, is happy to present a talk for adults and, concurrently, a kid’s workshop on Singapore’s little-known nocturnal mammals – the slow loris, the pangolin, and the colugo.

Presented by Fam Shundeng and Norman Lim, the talk for adults will highlight the animals’ characteristics, ecology, the threats they face, and how we can make a difference.

Kids will learn about slow lorises, pangolins and colugos too, and make mammal art & craft. All kids will take home their craft.


When: Saturday 16 August 08

Venue: Function Room, Botany Centre, Singapore Botanic Gardens

Time: 10am to 12 noon

Admission is FREE for both adults and kids!


Kids' registration is necessary: Please email lim_wei_ling@nparks.gov.sg by Thursday 14 August to let us know if you are coming.


All are welcome!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Nature Culture Guided Walks






Kampong Ubin Walk
A stroll through parts of rural Ubin. We will look at what the locals grow in their backyards, from the herbs used as traditional medicines, to vegetables, wildflowers and fruit trees. Many of these are ‘old-fashioned’ plants no longer common, such as Sawtooth Coriander, Ceylon Spinach and Rambai. Durian trees abound on Ubin, with two fruiting seasons a year.

Duration: 2 hrs
Trails: Mostly level earth paths and tar road. Suitable for all.
Walk fee: $13 per person, 6 years and above, excluding bumboat ride, for groups of 20. For groups of less than 20 pax, the minimum fee is $240. The bumboat ride is $2.50 per person one way.



Chek Jawa Walk
We go on the extensive boardwalk at Chek Jawa on Pulau Ubin. Here we shall see a diversity of unique flora and fauna. At low tide, exposed seaweeds used to be collected by locals to feed their pigs. From the mangroves, Attap Palm leaves were harvested for thatching while durable Nibong Palm trunks were used to build kelongs. The shallow sea here was also a rich hunting ground. Many natural resources were depended upon, and used in sustainable ways by the kampong folk who lived at CJ.

Duration: 3 hrs
Trails: Wooden boardwalk. Earth paths, some parts with gentle slopes.
Walk fee: $15 per person, 6 years and above, excluding the bumboat ride and mini-bus ride to Chek Jawa, for groups of 20. For groups of less than 20 pax, the minimum fee is $280. The bumboat ride is $2.50 per person one way. The mini-bus ride is $4 return per person to and from the main village.



Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
This wetland reserve is now a resting and feeding spot for migratory birds. But it also hosts a fantastic diversity of native fauna and flora. In the past, the area had several kampongs (villages) with the locals tending to vegetable and fruit tree plots. Many of these fruit trees and traditional herbs still survive and may be encountered along the trails. The people also constructed fish and prawn ponds in the mangroves. These are now used by the birds.

Duration: 2 hrs, preferably in the morning.
Trails: Level dirt paths and boardwalks suitable for children, the elderly, disabled or participants using wheelchairs.
Walk fee: $13 per person, excluding park entrance fees, for groups of 20. For groups of less than 20 pax, the minimum fee is $240.
Park entrance fee is $1.00 for adults, 50 cents for children and students during weekends. Free entrance on weekdays.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

OOH Program





Eco-Living Now!

Cicada Tree Eco-Place is proud to bring you Eco Living Now!, a roving exhibition for schools. This new program promotes eco-living for a greener and more sustainable future. Eco Living Now! is an attractive and comprehensive poster exhibition which seeks to impart important information on eco-living, carbon footprint and how to make a difference! Suitable for students, this exhibition contains simple and practical green tips for daily eco-living, written in easy-to-read text with attractive native wildlife pictures.






The Eco Living Now! exhibition includes 5 sections:

1. Introduction to Eco-living
2. Eco at Home
3. Eco in School
4. Eco at Work & Play
5. Eco with a Passion for Birds

Charges: $200 for the whole exhibition or a choice of parts of it, for 1 week at your school, including delivery to your school.



Eco-skit option:
We can train 2 teachers and/or a small group of 15 students to perform an eco-skit based on information from the exhibition. This eco-skit aims to make learning about eco-living fun and meaningful. The skit may be performed by students at as assembly or in the classroom in conjunction with the exhibition. Training is 3 hours, over 2 sessions. A script will be provided.

Charges: Add $100



Registration and enquiries: leopardcat@pacific.net.sg

Make A Difference! MAD lessons on wildlife




Click here to view upcoming MAD lessons and our other events!


Make A Difference! MAD lessons on wildlife by Cicada Tree Eco-place and generously supported by Intel will be conducted at the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden.

This environmental education program is suitable for kids aged 5 to 10, from kindergarten to primary school.

Through MAD lessons for wildlife, kids will learn about “OOH--Our Only Home” (Planet Earth) by learning about animals, plants and ecology in a session of 1.5 hours. They will also learn about our “warming world” and our carbon footprint and how this affects the lives of plants, animals, humans and our environment. Kids will learn easy eco-actions to make a difference for earth.

Kids pay $15 for a 1.5 hour session at the Children's Garden. Maximum number for a group sign-up (e.g. school groups and groups from organizations) is 20 and minimum fee to run is $300 (even if a group is less than 20 kids). For weekend individual sign-ups, kids pay $15 each.
A button-badge and an information pamphlet will be given to all registered kids.

Enquiries and registration: leopardcat@pacific.net.sg


Current Programmes for 2008:

  • MAD lesson on Butterflies and Moths

    In this hands-on lesson on butterflies and moths, kids will learn about the diversity of butterflies and moths we have in Singapore, the differences between butterflies and moths, their ecology -- life cycle, where they live, what they eat, what may eat them. Get to know how to easily attract butterflies and moths to gardens at home, in school or in neighbourhoods! This MAD lesson will also include information about global warming and our carbon footprint and kids will leave the lesson with a pledge to do easy eco-actions daily in their lives so as to be part of the solution to protect our environment and wild habitats.

  • MAD lesson on Jungle Friends

    Everyone needs a healthy planet to live on. Our jungle friends share Earth with us. This lesson will focus on the relationships plants and animals have with each other and with us. This MAD lesson will also include information about global warming and our carbon footprint and kids will leave the lesson with a pledge to do easy eco-actions daily in their lives so as to be part of the solution to protect our environment and wild habitats.

  • MAD lesson on Frogs and Toads

    Singapore has 25 species of frogs and toads, 19 of which live in our forests. If our forest is degraded due to un-natural climate change, we may easily lose some of our amphibian species. Kids will learn about the diversity of frogs and toads in Singapore, the differences between frogs and toads, learn about their ecology —- their life cycle, where they live, what they eat, what may eat them. Get to know how to create amphibian habitats that will attract native frogs and toads to breed! This MAD lesson will also include information about global warming and our carbon footprint and kids will leave the lesson with a pledge to do easy eco-actions daily in their lives so as to be part of the solution to protect our environment and wild habitats.

  • MAD lesson on Wild Toys

    Seeds, leaves and other parts of plants may be used creatively to make engaging toys and games. Make toys from plants in this lesson! This MAD lesson will also include information about global warming and our carbon footprint and kids will leave the lesson with a pledge to do easy eco-actions daily in their lives so as to be part of the solution to protect our environment and wild habitats.


Click here to view upcoming MAD lessons and events!

For enquiries and registration, please email leopardcat@pacific.net.sg.

About


Hello and welcome to the blog of Cicada Tree Eco-Place!


Cicada Tree Eco-Place is a new non-profit NGO which promotes nature, culture and eco-living through environmental education.

Founded in Singapore in 2007 by volunteer educators and environmentalists, our organisation is named after a native freshwater swamp plant called Ploiarium alternifolium (cicada tree or riang riang) whose habitat is locally endangered.

Our organization aims to:
• provide affordable and quality environmental education for all;
• promote local and regional flora & fauna; and
• demonstrate and encourage adoption of an eco-lifestyle by individuals and organisations