1. Description of Our Community
Our community consists of the students and teachers of our school, Raffles Institution, the people of Singapore, and the nature lovers who are currently working together to save the coastal life in Chek Jawa. These people come from the Nature Society of Singapore(NSS), the National Parks Board and the residents of Chek Jawa.
The Nature Society of Singapore (NSS) is a one of the non-government organizations in Singapore. The founding of the NSS dates back to the 1940s. it is dedicated to the study, conservation and enjoyment of the natural heritage in Singapore, Malaysia and the surrounding regions.It currenly has about 2020 members.They were the ones who interceded with the government's decision to reclaim Chek Jawa and help document the organsims there by presenting a full proposal recommending other actions that could be taken. They are currently working with the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research and the National Parks Board to coordinate research and conduct surveys.
In charge of regulating the number of visitors to Chek Jawa are the representatives from the National Parks board. Due to the immense pubicity that Chek Jawa has attracted, members of the public have flocked to Chek Jawa. This has damaged the fragile ecosystem in Chek Jawa. Thus, the National Parks Board has put a cap on the number of visitors per month.
Another important group of people are the Pulau Ubin residents. They have been living on the island of Pulau ubin for a considerably long time and therefore are the first few to know about the valuable wonder. These people are some of those nature lovers who have written to the government for the conservation of Chek Jawa.
2. Summary of Our Project
The CyberFair entry for 2002 features Chek Jawa, which is probably the last natural beach and marshland left in Singapore. Chek Jawa is situated on the eastern tip of the offshore island of Pulau Ubin. Many wildlife enthusiasts often visited Chek Jawa , due to its wide range of marine life. Most of the fascinating marine organisms can be easily observed when they are exposed on the beach due to the low tide. However, Chek Jawa was to be reclaimed to give way to certain land usages.
The main objective of our website is to increase the awareness of our fellow school students in our school about preserving the few remaining rural areas left in Singapore. Our secondary objective is also to educate our fellow Singaporeans as well as the world about the threats which such places face. The government had planned to reclaim Chek Jawa, thus the website may also act as a deterrent to the government. Our website also promotes Chek Jawa to the rest of the world, by introducing the various interesting flora & fauna on Chek Jawa, however, we would like to urge the public not to harm the flora & fauna (Please note that some of the organisms are very fragile and will perish if their habitat is destroyed.)
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:none
C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection
D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:4-6
E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):
Although the computers we used were rather new, they are low RAM (Random Access Memory) and thus our work progressed slowly. Also, the dedicated Internet connection in our school was very unstable and thus our progress in uploading and downloading information was also hindered.
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
We encountered various obstacles during the course of the project. One of them was the unpredictable weather at Pulau Ubin. Sometimes it would rain and we would be forced to abandon our visit. On our second visit, we arrived on the beach at high tide so we saw nothing. However we learned our lesson and always check the tide times before going to Chek Jawa.
As Chek Jawa consisted mainly of mudflats, we had to get off the beach before the tide comes in, which meant that we have only the time interval between low and high tide, which was around an hour.
We also had problems trying to take photographs of the living organisms there without destroying, disturbing or hurting them. Due to this, we had to handle the organisms with the utmost care and try our best not to step on any of them.
We had technical problems too. We had to setup a server to test out and store our website and information, because we could not save our work on our school desktops due to the presence of a protection card in almost every school computer. These cards delete all newly added data from a computer's hard disk when it is shut down.
Other than that, we also had to deal with copyright issues. This was because we had few pictures from Chek Jawa. Fortunately, we enlisted the help of Ria Tan, a nature enthusiast, who had many photographs from her trips there.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
Our project has educated our fellow Rafflesians in our school about their environment, and we have heightened their environmental awareness as to be able to understand the importance of exotic and fragile ecosystems such as Chek Jawa's. We also hope that this project will reach out to Singaporeans and enlighten them too.
Our project can be best summed up by a quote from fellow Rafflesian Liang Kaicheng - "Truly an educational gem for those lacking in environmental awareness.".
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
Our project had made us realize that the wildlife around us is dependent on us, and vice versa; every single action of ours changes the ecosystem. For example, the release of poisonous gases from factories results in acid rain, which will erode the soil. The project has also required us to do research on the many aspects of Chek Jawa.
It also enabled us to realize that we should take the initiative, as every individual can make a great difference to his or hers surroundings. Hence, we were motivated to visit Chek Jawa to learn more about its situation and teach the world what we had learnt from our experiences.
Regarding our curriculum, over the past few years, Singapore's education system has transformed largely from a text-based form of learning to hands-on learning. Singapore's education system plans to equip every single young Singaporean with the necessary skills in life. Students now not only learn in the classroom, they also learn out of the classroom, from field trips, the Internet, and a whole host of enrichment materials. Thus, it had not only stressed on the text-based learning but also the hands-on approach. This CyberFair project gave us experience of working as a group on a large project. Also, it allowed us to learn while working. We learnt about the problems Chek Jawa is facing while working on this large-scale project.