Envirofest Singapore

Archive for the ‘meeting’ Category

A motley crew gathered at Singapore Botanic Gardens, catching up with news about the Draft Blue Plan launch, International Coastal Cleanup and a few upcoming seminars.

The NJC Greenlink students who are co-organising Envirofest turned up and we found the room left unlocked helpfully. So we all settled down and got started after a roll call – it helps that we mostly know each other so we could figured out who was coming and get started.

The NJC students presented the theme for the year – the family, and provided an overview on powerpoint that featured the fringe events, the tagline options and publicity.

In addition to the NJC students, Wenhua has recruited AJC and Cedar Girls Secondary students. Of course, Wenhua was her usual whirlwind self, having just come after her last exams as a student over at NTU. As she rapidly fired information at us, I’d stopped multi-tasking and concentrated like the rest did!

We had 21 organisations on board – with the venue and date changes she has been battling with these past few months (partly due to the depressed economy), it was inevitable that some organisations had other commitments (including an AGM!). recruitment is not over and with some new faces to the scene, a clearly defined lifestyle section looks to be possible for the first time.

With most of the unknowns out of the way, a discussion broke out amongst the biodiversity groups to see if a trail, anchored by NPArks, would be possible. The venue at Toa Payoh Hub posed some challenges due to its porous and crowded nature and we pondered over a rough map to see if a new approach would be possible.

Since we’re (wisely) adopting the “one step at a time” philosophy to Envirofest, after a discussion, we decided to experiment with the biodiversity groups this year and see what we could learn from the experience for future years.

Will it work, will it not work? We’ll see…

Now its down to each of us to recruit manpower, train our guides and get ready with information about the various groups as well as the special free events for the public AFTER Envirofestt. It certainly is going to be a great event to learn about grassroots environmental volunteerism in Singapore!

Our third and final meeting is on 15th May 2009 at Singapore Botanic Gardens at 7.00pm. We should all be ready by then!

Well, we had a first cheery meeting with representatives of various groups who came down for the briefing at the venue Karen (of NParks) had secured for us at Singapore Botanic Gardens. We started off with a few short updates:

  • Wen Hua brought us up to speed with operations (she was excited and spoke very fast),
  • Karen shared how NParks had grown in its exhibition presentation by learning from others and evaluating each effort in order to maximise the impact of outreach,
  • I explained the value of Envirofest we had recognised and how a little preparation and planning might help and
  • Ria explained the significance of the month of July to NYC and SHINE and how Wen Hua was tapped into that.

The community was easily supportive of the practical plan presented about for Envirofest – with everyone struggling with a full schedule in the year, it will be nice to share one major collaborative effort with everyone that maximises our combined attractions.

So the public will get a buffet table of grassroots and governmental efforts in nature and the environment, green products, animal welfare, and hopefully a peek into sustainable living as well. This time there will be an array of trips and events they can sign up for immediately after. Who says nothing in life is free?!

The array of groups and issues on display will also serve as as educational opportunity for green groups in schools and JCs too. A group could pick 2-3 issues that they might to highlight in their own school – at Envirofest they can tap on some very experienced people and material, as well as study the various communication methods in play over the two days. Many of us have already learnt from each other and have been at this for decades, so what better place for mentorship?

Of course, Envirofest will also be an opportunity for the groups to get to know each other well instead of meeting only during the exhibition itself when we are focusing on attending to the public. These early meetings will allow some coordinated effort and I could see wheels already turning that evening about collaboration during the post-Envirofest offerings!

During the discussion that spontaneously interrupted the introductions through out the 90 minutes, a variety of issues were highlighted and evaluated – it was certainly a great delight discussing such issues with a bunch of very experienced practitioners in the local scene! Most have struggled with the issues and so everyone could recognise the value of practical ideas as well as the difficulties of some realities.

But boy, oh boy, does this bunch have the fire burning in them or what? I am really looking forward to meeting them again!

Yesterday many representatives from various eco groups turned up at Botanic Garden at 7.30 pm to discuss about Envirofest.

When I first reached the foodcourt to meet Jamie at 7.10 pm, I already spotted many greenies among the tables. I must admit I was already getting nervous in meeting these veteran green volunteers. I sincerely hope I can garner their support for Envirofest 2009 (and of course various Envirofest in the coming years). Envirofest is really for them!!

Alright, though I was a bundle of nervous energy, I was very amazed at the attendance of this meeting. There were …

  1. Me!
  2. Siva – Toddycats!
  3. Ria – WildSingapore
  4. Karen – NParks
  5. Shawn Lum – Nature Society
  6. Brandon – NEA
  7. Grant – Green Volunteers
  8. Jaki – Sea Shepherd
  9. Gaytri Meriange – Team Seagrass
  10. Yeow – Vegetarian Society
  11. Andy – Team Seagrass
  12. Ann – Waterways Watch Society
  13. James – ACRES
  14. Ley Kun – Naked Hermit Crabs
  15. Debby – The Hantu Bloggers
  16. Eugene – AsiaIsGreen
  17. Grace – SEC
  18. Sherlene – NJC Greenlink
  19. Jamie
  20. Yunus – Kolam Ayer CC
Meeting with friends of Envirofest

Meeting with friends of Envirofest

That was surely an enthusiastic crowd, everyone had some experience to share, an idea to propose and suggestion for improvement!

I forgot when was the last time I had such a dynamic meeting! Hmmm, this was 100% participation from everyone. WOW~

 

This is the summary of what we had discussed and would follow up on:

  • Participating organisations can showcase their works in various creative form. For eg, SEC suggested the very cool Segway (which I’ve always dreamt of inviting to Envirofest); Sea Shepherd hopes to have a huge inflatable shark on display, marine groups can bring diving gears for kids or youths to try on, Toddycats! will bring down their specimens, Team Seagrass has their seagrass on display too!
  • Besides exhibition on the ground, groups which have any public programmes or stage items can use a timeslot on our stage to ra-ra the crowd. 🙂 I am waiting for Dr Vilma to link me up with Woodlands Ring Primary School, heard that they have a skit to share about eco-living. Any organisations which are keen in putting up something, please feel free to inform me.
  • One of the issues we touched on was the giving out of freebies. Some of us were concerned if we could attract crowds without freebies, some agreed that we could use many other forms to entice our audience. We could work more on this in the coming meetings.
  • My own personal objective is to just to introduce the various nature related projects and trips to the public. So I sincerely hope organisations which have exisiting trips or outings could open at least one session to allow public to sign up during Envirofest. This could be one of the freebies we can give out. For those who don’t do trips, I hope we can come out with some post-event activities with our creativity and capacity.
  • I am still in the midst of applying for grant and venue. Will continue to update everyone~
  • Together with NJC Greenlink, we will continue getting more organisations and clubs to join Envirofest.