It’s not as corny as it sounds.
Despite knowing my distaste for Valentine’s Day and early mornings in general, my editors decided to throw me on Coney Island last Sunday morning for a “blind date”.
Our leisurely walk on Sunday morning was actually part of a ‘Nature-Lovers’ outdoor classroom organised by Outward Bound Singapore (OBS).
The event, held to encourage youths to appreciate Singapore’s biodiversity, also included a casual engagement session by SGFuture. Over 30 volunteers, aged between 17 to 37 years old, showed up for the outdoor classroom.
Together with OBS alumni and nature groups Earthlink NTU, Ground Up Initiative, Habitat For Humanity and Green Drinks, we began by trekking about 4 kilometres around the island, stopping at checkpoints to learn about the island’s flora and fauna.
I found myself at the back of the group most of the time, partly because Chengz was perpetually taking snaps for her Snapchat. We were trying to spot Coney Island’s resident cow too.
During our walk, our guide Joo Kek shared interesting facts about the island with us. For instance, we learnt that birds were the main inhabitants of the island. Certain species, such as the bald sea eagle, adapt their migratory patterns just to visit Coney Island.
Throughout the trek, we were also taught how to appreciate our surroundings without disturbing the animals there. For example, lalang grass is actually used by the birds there to weave nests for their mates.
We were advised by Joo Kek to stick to the island’s man-made roads and not venture off into the forest by making our own trails, as doing so will destroy the lalang grass. A single nest requires 3,000 to 4,000 threads of the lalang grass; the birds will need all the resources they can get.
Our trek around Coney Island ended at one of its beaches, where we broke off into groups to discuss ways to preserve Singapore’s environment for future generations.
One of the more interesting ideas that came up was a flora and fauna treasure hunt competition. The idea was well-received, as it was an activity where youths could have fun while learning about nature.
Throughout the discussion, we were joined by a family of monkeys who seemed more interested in the contents of our bags.
Our guest of honour Baey Yam Keng, Parliament Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth, wrapped up the event by saying that we should not only celebrate our love for each other on Valentine’s Day, but our love for mother nature as well. #deep
After four hours of walking and talking with Chengz, I realised Coney Island is not a bad place for a date. In fact, we saw many couples spending their Valentine’s there.
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