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NSS ESN Inaugural Biodiversity Race 2022: A Student's Experience

Our NSS ESN Inaugural Biodiversity Race 2022 adventure started in school. As my groupmates and I waited for the excursion bus, we exchanged the latest news on animals.

Upon arriving in Pasir Ris Park, the first thing we saw was a hen with a chick following behind her. All the photographers, Kosei, Brendon, Faris and I whipped out our cameras, but just before we clicked the shutters to take a photograph, our teacher told us we were still early, and photographs taken before the allotted time would not be considered in the race.

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En Qi focusing on getting a photograph for the NSS ESN Inaugural Biodiversity Race 2022.

Moving on to the bridge, we saw a monitor lizard on the shore! This time, we could take a photograph of it. As I walked with my groupmates, we would occasionally tell a joke or two related to living things. The ‘spotters’ of my group were very sharp, so Kosei and I repaid them by snapping good quality photographs of the animals they had spotted. In just thirty minutes, we had taken varied species of birds, butterflies, and lizards. My personal favourite so far was the Oriental Pied Hornbill, but to everyone’s disappointment, not one person got a good shot of it.

Then, we proceeded to the Butterfly Garden, which despite the name, there was not a butterfly in sight, at least while we were there. Turning the corner, we were greeted by a lovely Oriental Magpie Robin, then an Asian Glossy Starling.

After a while, it began to drizzle. Thinking fast, everyone took shelter. Since we were already halfway into the allotted time, we took the opportunity to have a quick snack. At the same time, our teacher uploaded our photographs onto the iNaturalist App. Once the rain had stopped, we made our way back to our starting point, using a different route of course! As we walked, we saw a female Crimson Sunbird! As soon as we had journeyed on, we spotted another hornbill! And then, there were a pair. This time, we were happy that we could capture good shots of the pair of hornbills. Just as we were taking photographs, I saw a baby hornbill in a hollowed-out hole of a tree. I managed to take a few photographs of it. I motioned to everyone else to come near. But it had already flown away when they approached.

Just as we began walking again, there was a downpour! With our raincoats worn snuggly, we continued to walk on. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a Collared Kingfisher. I informed the others, but as they did not want to wet the cameras, they did not budge. Hence, I was the only “successful” person who managed to take a photograph of it. Alas, the time was up, and we made our way back to school to make the video montage. Many of us thought the female Crimson Sunbird was their favourite, but of course, my favourite was the Oriental Magpie Robin!

After the event, I am sure it was memorable for all!              

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Collage of En Qi and her friends at Pasir Ris Park during the NSS ESN Inaugural Biodiversity Race 2022.

Text by: 
Tan En Qi
Primary 4 Respect
Yumin Primary School

Photos by: Cheryl Lao