Monday, April 18, 2016

Outing: Venus Loop Guided Walk By NUS Toddycats

Late November last year, I managed to sign up our family for a free guided walk at MacRitchie Forest organised by NUS Toddycats. They are a group of volunteers with the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, National University of Singapore.

The walk is very surreal for me and we learnt much during the guided tour. Do you know our Singapore forests are very well loved by Researchers and Scientists of the world? Not only it has everything to learn about rainforests - the different type of trees and plants, the forest stream with freshwater lives, the birds, the monkeys, the insects and the lizards etc (we encounter all of it in our two hours walk!). The best thing of our forest is we can get out of it within hours and have a cold drink from some shops across the road! Haha, in other countries once you enter the forest, it maybe days later before you can get out of it!

We went prepared for the walk, dressed in light colored tops, long pants and covered shoes, with a big bottle of kids friendly insect repellent, and including ample cold drinking water for all kept in a cooler bag! Although we were covered by shades almost throughout the walk, it's still quite hot in the morning sun and we need to keep ourselves well hydrated, especially the little ones. We also brought along a plastic bag to keep our own trashes until we are out of the forest. It's not nice to leave our rubbish behind and, do remember not to take anything out of the forest (no matter how tempting it is to get some seeds etc home for planting!).

it's important to come dress in long pants and if possible long sleeves to protect your skin from insects or cuts, if any.

This is called the "Batman" leaves, the shape looks like the batman logo isn't it?

While they are cute to look at, they are actually harmful weeds to the plantations in the forest!

I love walking through the shades of layers of trees!

Our guide showed us a tiny tiny snail

We saw butterflies fluttering around too

Fallen Tree will become homes to some insects and later decomposed to return back to nature

Decomposition happening

A seemingly small freshwater stream with so much lives in it

a lizard we came across

2.5 years old Little Brother would squat down from time to time to observe the little ants or insects on the ground

A fallen big tree which is later saw across to show the hollow within the tree trunk

Can't remember what this is called but isn't nature amazing and beautiful?

The walk may take between 2 to 3 hours plus, depending on the size and make up of the tour group and if we are lucky to come across interesting animals or plants. 

For us, we heard the calls of interesting birds and insects, and come across monkeys swinging through the trees and squirrels running up trees super fast. We also saw many different types of trees including durian trees in the forest. 

It was about two hours before my children were exhausted and hungry (even though we had a heavy breakfast before the walk). So with our whiny boys, we said our thanks and bidded farewell to our tour guides and group, before cutting short our tour to make our way out before others. It's an easy trail so it's impossible to get lost if you follow on trail. 

Following our experience, I strongly urged families to sign up for the walks before the construction of the new MRT line which will cut across theses forest! Let your little ones have the experience of walking through a rainforest and the wonders of it.  

Of course, the walk is not just for admiring the beauty of our nature, but also to create awareness of how constructions will harm with nature. You can read more here https://lovemacritchie.wordpress.com/why/ to learn about the "Love MacRitchie" campaign and how you can support the Love MacRitchie movement to help encourage our government to reconsider the alignment of the Cross Island Line through the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. 

If you are keen in joining theses free guided walks, you can follow http://facebook.com/lovemacritchie to be updated of future openings.

MORE INFORMATION

A series of FREE public guided walks at MacRitchie Forest.

Join the NUS Toddycats of Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum in discovering the forest! Learn about amazing plants and animals living in our backyard as part of the Love Our MacRitchie Forest movement.

Map of Venus Loop - http://tinyurl.com/map-venusloop

The MacRitchie Forest Trail at Venus Drive meanders along the banks of a crystal-clear forest stream that is full of freshwater life. Here live dragons and damsels, freshwater crabs and prawns, the Puff-faced Watersnake, Pygmy Halfbeak and Saddle Barb.

Look out, too, for the Green Crested Lizard, Red-bellied Squirrel, Long-tailed Macaque, Blue-rumped Parrot and Colugo. Walk in the cool shade of old trees. Feel a kind of natural peace that only a rainforest can give.

The trail here is a dirt path which is relatively level and suitable for children, the elderly and the physically-challenged. Be prepared for some mud.

Come with us, and learn more about this rainforest. Feel our natural heritage at risk.

https://lovemacritchie.wordpress.com/love-macritchie-walks/

To find out how you can support our precious forest, please do visit https://lovemacritchie.wordpress.com/how/

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8 comments:

  1. It's been a while since we last went for a nature walk and you inspired me to plan hiking on one of the weekends soon.

    We've been to MacRitchie before but our exploration was cut short by the rain. Hope to go back there again.

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  2. Its time to explore nature more, I'm keen to join the free guided walk. Love your pictures

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  3. Maybe it's time to toughen my girls up by taking them for a walk in the nature. My older girl is terrified by birds!

    Michelle @ The Chill Mom

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  4. "have a cold across the road" hmmm? What do you mean? Gosh and how did you manage didi on this trek!

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  5. Thanks for sharing!! It is really a shame if the government is indeed going to build an expressway under macritchie. So much biodiversity will be lost. I think it will be really educational for the kids to attend the guided tour too! Sometimes, we just walk "blindly" and not know what are the amazing life forms we are missing out.

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  6. Good to see such natural reserves still exist in the city and they should be preserved. Kids love such places. So much to explore for them!

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  7. Such an educational walk through our nature reserves! Kudos to you for bringing the boys along, we would love to bring both kids on such nature walks when Buddy is older too! Thanks for sharing. P.S. I love the Batman leaves!

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  8. Love these kind of educational and outdoor walks to explore the hidden gems but believe me I am really going mad to carry my little one walking on these trails.

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