CyberFair Project ID: 1375

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Sungei Buloh Nature Park
Category: 7. Environmental Awareness
Bibliography: No bibliography page cited

School: Raffles Institution
    Singapore, Singapore, Singapore

9 students, ages from 14 to 16 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 13, 2001. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 1999,2000

Classes and Teachers: Mr. Stephen Lim

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Our country Singapore is a small, urbanized, independent state found at the tip of the Malaysian Peninsula in the South East Asia Region. We are a multi-racial society with a population of about 4 million people all living in a small island of about 640 sq. kilometers.

The first group of people who we consider to be a part of our “local community” consists of everyone we made personal contact with during the course of this project. This would include people we contacted for help and assistance regarding our project as well as the people who gave us support and encouragement like our friends, schoolmates, teachers and family members.

The second group which can be said to be a part of our “local community” consists of all those people who will come into indirect contact with us through our CyberFair webpage. In other words, this group includes the many different people from all over the world who will see and be impacted by our CyberFair Webpage. In essence, it is the broader ”local community” that is not restricted by geographical location or boundaries.

2. Summary of Our Project

Our CyberFair entry for 2001 features Sungei Buloh Nature Park: the only wetland nature reserve in the whole of Singapore. This 87-hectare park is one of the few intact mangrove forests that can be found on mainland Singapore today. It is the home of a large variety of flora and fauna, not to mention the seasonal migratory birds that come form all over the world and stop at the park to escape the harsh northern winter.

Our website on Sungei Buloh Nature Park (SBNP) is first and foremost designed to be an informative and comprehensive guide to the park, which will hopefully be a useful source of information for researchers and nature lovers alike. The second purpose of this webpage is to present to all Internet users both in Singapore and abroad, Mother Nature in all her splendor and wonder, in the hope that they may become more environmentally aware after seeing and appreciating her great beauty. Ultimately, this will lead to an increase in the number of people working to save our precious and fragile planet.

Our entire web project is designed around these two aims which we sincerely hope we can achieve, to do a service to Mother Nature, our community and last but not least, ourselves.

3. Our Computer and Internet Access

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%

B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:2-3

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:2-3

E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):

Our Computers: In school, we use Pentium II computers, while at home, most of us either have Pentium II or III computers.

Our Internet access: In school, all computers are connected via a Local Area Network (LAN) which is on a dedicated line. At home, all of us use 512kbps ADSL connection.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

When we first visited the park, we were overwhelmed by the shear number of things that we had to research and write up on and hence, we did not know where to begin. In other words, we were completely lost as to what we should cover in our project. We managed to overcome this problem by clearly defining our aims for our web project and only focusing on the aspects of the park that were in keeping with those aims. In so doing, we made our project more manageable and realistic by narrowing down its scope.

While in the course of our project, we also encountered many technical problems. One of the most serious of these was that our cameras were inadequate for capturing the intricacies of our subjects that sometimes included tiny organisms such as spiders and insects. Fortunately, we were able to borrow an excellent camera with a powerful zoom from one of our father’s friends and hence this problem was overcome.

Problems also occurred when we found that we did not have many resources to draw upon for information regarding the nature reserve and some of its animals, birds and plants. That problem was easily dealt with when the officials at the park lent a helping hand and provided us with the necessary information to fill up the gaps in our content. In addition to this, we were also able to get bits and pieces of information from nature lovers whom we met in the park.

One of the more unusual problems that we encountered was the protection cards which our school uses for its computers. These cards function by deleting all newly added data from a computer’s hard disk when it is shut down. Though effective in preventing mischievous students from wrecking havoc on the computers, it hindered the writing of our content and building of our webpage as we had to store information on thousands of floppy disks. We overcame this problem by bringing our personal desktops to a friend’s house, and doing the project there instead.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

“While doing this project, I became increasingly fascinated by the great wonders which I saw in Sungei Buloh Nature Park. Now I find I am seeing the world with new eyes; I have suddenly become aware of the great responsibility placed in my hands to preserve and protect the great tapestry of life which is Nature.” - Edward Chua, 15 years of age.

6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

With regards to the CyberFair Learning Objectives: Our project has required us to do research on the many various aspects of the Sungei Buloh Nature Park.

With this research has come understanding; in other words, we have come to realize that nothing in nature lives alone and that all living things are influenced by their environment and each organism in turn influences its environment.

With understanding comes reflection; in other words, we have examined our connection to the ecosystem by looking at the influence of the environment on our lives and the impacts our behaviors have on the environment. With reflection comes action; we are taking positive individual action to change for the better. (For example, many of us are going to volunteer to help out at the SBNP, either with creating related webpages or as student guides to try and play our part in conserving nature.)

With regards to our Curriculum: Over the past few years, Singapore’s education system has been rapidly evolving to accommodate the change in mindset involving education as a whole. Rather than the pure memorization of facts and figures, our education system has moved towards a more project-based system, which allows for more creativity and creates a learning environment that prepares us for the work we will be doing in our adult lives. This CyberFair project has provided us with invaluable experience in handling large-scale projects and creating quality webpages. These skills will certainly come in handy when the above-mentioned change comes into effect.

In addition to this, our CyberFair project has also acted as an enrichment activity that has served to complement and enhance our school curriculum. For example, many a time we found ourselves flipping through our geography and biology textbooks to verify information on vegetation and animals which we had learnt about from our visits to the park.

Project Elements

1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?

For this project, we used a total of 7 computers, 3 of which were desktops and 4 of which were laptops. Of the 4 laptops, 3 were Pentium II’s while the last was a Pentium II. As for the desktops, all were Pentium III’s. All of the desktops were equipped with 512kbps ADSL connections while the laptops were not connected to the Internet.

For the actual building of the webpage, Macromedia Dreamweaver 3 was the most commonly used tool. This program sped up the process as we did not have to do manual coding which is a long and tedious process. Adobe Photoshop 5.5 was the graphics program we used to edit the scanned images and create the graphics for our page. Both of these programs belonged to one of our team members.

Throughout the course of this project, we communicated with our fellow team members via Email, ICQ and the telephone.

Lastly, we conducted face-to-face interviews where we personally met officials from the park and used a tape recorder to record their responses to our questions. We later typed these responses out from the information that was stored on the tape.

One unusual way in which we used Email was to send questionnaires to people whom we were keen to interview but could not meet up with due to clashing schedules.

2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.

Our Method of Contacting People: First of all, we normally started off by sending an introductory Email that described who we are and what we were doing.

The person would normally then Email us and give their telephone number.

We then called the person and fixed a meeting time to discuss whatever matter was at hand.

At the meeting, we would use a tape recorder to record the person’s responses to our questions.

We would then go home and type up the information stored on the tape.

You can view our interviews in the People Section of our Webpage.

Reaction: Many of the people we contacted were very enthusiastic about our project and offered us much assistance in the way of information, resources and pictures. We are very grateful to them indeed.

An interesting Story: On one of our visits to the park, we were in one of the observation hides watching the plovers and sandpipers pecking at the mudflats when a gentleman approached us. This gentleman said he was from the Nature Society of Singapore (NSS) and we struck up a conversation. From this conversation, we learnt how the NSS played a role in the setting up of SBNP and hence, we managed to learn much about the history and evolution of the park. This was extremely useful as until that time, the park’s history had been somewhat of a mystery to us. This chance encounter certainly enlightened us!

3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

Intended Impact: When we started out on this project, our main aim was to raise environmental awareness and appreciation in our local community through an informative and educational page on Sungei Buloh Nature Park that showcases the wonders and great beauty of nature. Throughout this project, we have taken great pains to ensure that our webpage and all of its content are consistent in keeping with this aim. Therefore, we sincerely hope that our page will impact our local community in a manner that will fulfill this aim.

Relationships: This project has seen the building of an excellent working relationship between the Raffles Institution CyberFair team and officials of the Sungei Buloh Nature Park. In fact, we would even go so far as to say that we have become friends. It is our sincere hope that this working relationship will be a long-term one that will continue even after CyberFair 2001 has ended.

Also, this CyberFair project has helped the members of our team to build closer bonds of friendship with each other, our teachers, our families and our friends as it required all of us to come together and share our knowledge and experience, so as to produce a quality CyberFair entry.

4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

Mrs. Ria Tan – A Volunteer Guide at SBNP: We met Mrs Ria Tan quite by chance as she happened to be the guide on duty when we visited the park one Saturday morning. When we told her about our project, she was very enthusiastic and offered us much help and assistance in the form of information and pictures. Patiently, she taught us precept upon precept, line upon line, about mangroves and their wildlife. She gave us the address to her website, and the information at her website answered most of our queries. Besides that, she promptly replied our questionnaires as well as our queries through email. She often encouraged us to strive for excellence, and thus, she became our source of inspiration.

Ms. Linda Goh – Senior Education Officer at SBNP: We got to know Ms. Goh when we contacted the Sungei Buloh Nature Park officials to ask them for permission to use several of their photos. She arranged a meeting with us to further discuss our project and helped us by providing information and photos. She also had a look at our site and gave us valuable feedback on how to improve our content and webpage.

Mr. N. Sivasothi – A lecturer at the National University of Singapore (NUS): We got to know Mr. Sivasothi, who helped us publicize our page to the nature-lovers of Singapore through Miss Ria Tan.

Mr. Tan Kiat Choon – A photography enthusiast: We got to know Mr. Tan through one of our parents. He was kind enough to lend us his powerful camera for the duration of this project.

We would like to thank all the above people for their help and assistance.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

Discoveries: We have learnt a lot about mangrove forests and their flora and fauna. We have also learnt much about migratory birds and local birds of Singapore. We have come to a greater appreciation of nature and her many wonders.

Lessons: Besides being a very educational experience, this project has also taught us many invaluable interpersonal skills. We have learnt how to work together as a cohesive team, accepting each other’s differences and making full use of our strengths. Ultimately, the independence and initiative of each group member had to go hand in hand with functioning and cooperating as a team unit.

Surprises: Before we did this CyberFair project, most of us regarded Singapore as an “urban jungle” with very little to offer in the way of nature reserves and the like. Therefore, we were all extremely surprised to discover that an ecological gemstone such as Sungei Buloh Nature Park existed in urban Singapore, right under our very noses! It was, I must say, a very pleasant surprise indeed!


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 1375)

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