A passion for birds – NJC the bird paradise

Flipping through my WITs project folder for the Bird Awareness Project 2004, brings back many memories.

It’s the passion and drive of a child that I see. I was a fringe member of Greenlink in NJC, when I decided to take up the challenge of leading a team for this project. It appeared very important to me. The things I collected in the folder shows it. There are email conversations with the teacher-in-charge and Ding Li, the ex-NJC student, an ardent birdwatcher, photocopied notes on WIT (Work Improvement Team), MSN conversations with Bing Wen, another ardent birdwatcher who joined our team, contact lists of my team members, the survey we made, the photographs displayed at the exhibition, my meeting notes and mindmaps.

What kick-started this passion was my awareness of these colourful birds flying and roosting about NJC. My jaw will drop at the sight of these magnificent beauties. To see birds like the Red Lory, Rainbow Lorikeet, Tanimbar Corella and Brahminy Kite just blew my mind away. However, what disturbed me more was that the bulk of my fellow NJCians were unaware that we studied in a bird paradise. There were 64 different species of birds in NJC alone according to Ding Li’s preliminary bird list from 2000 to 2001.

I remember frantically catching students attention at the Roti Prata stall at the canteen, when a flock of Rainbow Lorikeets were playfully roosting at the tree next to the canteen. They were noisy and hanging upside down. And I just wanted people to see them and know they existed, even as they enjoy their game of bridge or plate of prata. Another favourite time to watch birds was during the flag-raising ceremony. The “couple” Red and Green Lorry loved to pay us a fly-0ver visit when we sing “Majulah Singapura”. And once the ceremony ended, I can be found frantically pointed to the sky, asking, “Did you see that!?”

The bottomline of our project was to “make the school population aware of the bird species found in the school preises and to get them interested and give them the resources and opportunities to be able to identify them and enjoy them.” To chart our progress and whether our project was successful, we aimed to conduct a pre-post-survey, which didn’t go quite through in the end due to the lack of time.

The climax of our project was during Earth Week 2004, where we had a Bird Sanctuary at the Oasis, this study area with many benches, where we displayed laminated bird species posters; the inter-class Bird Quiz where answers could be found on the posters at the Bird Sanctuary; a guided bird tour conducted by Bingwen and we used the televisions in the Atrium to broadcast information powerpoint slides.

I’m just so surprised that I actually found so much energy to do all that!

Miss Sharon Phua wrote in her email that “You have shown much initiative and passion in Greenlink. Mrs Tan has spoken very highly of you, & I’m sure you & your team will continue with the good work of your seniors & Mrs Tan.”

Just really grateful for this opportunity and appreciative of my supportive team members – Tan Wee Boon, Yeung Jian Sheng, Benjamin Lim, Wee Hong Yuan and Low Bing Wen.

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