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NSS ESN Inaugural Biodiversity Race 2022: A Teacher's Perspective

Enthusiastic students from Dunman Secondary eagerly scour their surroundings for wildlife.

The Every Singaporean A Naturalist (ESN) Working Group of Nature Society (Singapore) organised the first NSS ESN Biodiversity Race on 01 June 2022 for primary and secondary schools. The race was a fun and friendly inter-school competition for race participants to discover the many fauna species in Singapore and explore Singapore's nature areas. The outdoor race lasted for three hours and students were given two hours after that to submit their reflections through a one-minute video montage.

Collage of the biodiversity spotted during the race.

Getting the students involved in the  NSS ESN Inaugural Biodiversity Race 2022 was a great opportunity for the students to explore Pasir Ris Park and put into practice what they have learnt from the NSS ESN programme’s weekly Urban Biodiversity Monitoring around the school. It was also an opportune time for the students to showcase the five values of a Dunmanite.

The students exhibited the values of ‘daring’ and ‘determination’ as they challenged themselves to spot and identify as many fauna species as possible in the park within three hours. In addition, they were able to showcase the value of ‘discernment’ by using their senses to deduce the identity of the various biodiversity observed in the mangrove and wooded environment. For example, they correctly identified a unique uncommon resident, the Black-crowned Night Heron, which could easily be mistaken for a Grey Heron. Throughout the race, the students worked together as a team and were ‘disciplined’ in executing their various roles and ‘duties’ such as those of a spotter, identifier, and recorder.

Roles of spotter, identifier, and recorder carried out by the students.

We hope that the experience gained from the race as well as the continued weekly NSS ESN Urban Biodiversity Monitoring in school will help to mould the students to have a nurturing and empathetic heart for the biodiversity of the environment that they live in.

They have definitely made the school proud by clinching three out of the four awards in the race.

It is our deepest hope that our students continue to have the joy for learning especially in the outdoor setting and be able to transfer the school values in other areas of their life and scale on to greater heights.

Group picture of organisers and participants.

As teachers of the Sensory Skills Programme at Dunman Secondary School, we are proud of our students who have volunteered to be part of the NSS ESN programme. Not only are they enthusiastic, but they are also self-directed and inquisitive to find out more about and care for the biodiversity of the school environment and beyond.

Text by:
Mdm Norlinda Ishnin and Ms Siti Nur Nadirah Asmadi
Teachers-in-charge of Sensory Skills Programme
Dunman Secondary School

Photos by:
Arul Muruga Netanya Llekha, Dilan Subhu Veerappan, Jeremy Li Hao Ming, and Norlinda Ishnin