11 exciting events happening in Singapore for World Wetlands Day.

Here is a handy guide on how you can participate in the conservation of wetlands and increase your knowledge about them throughout the year. 


According to worldwetlandsday, wetlands are land areas that are saturated or flooded with water either permanently or seasonally. Examples include lakes, mangroves, coral reefs and yes, even fish ponds!

Wetlands worldwide are highly endangered – they are being lost three times faster than forests and more than 80% of all wetlands have disappeared since the 1700s. Of course, this also means that the species inhabiting such places are facing extinction, with 25% of all wetland species facing extinction from the decline in wetlands. 

Singapore is no exception to the decrease in wetlands and its native species. That’s why Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve has been internationally recognized as a site of importance and awarded the title of ASEAN Heritage Park – it’s important to migratory birds and a home to some of the world’s rarest mangroves.

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is celebrating World Wetlands Day on 4th Feb 2023 and the National Parks Board (NParks) has arranged a wide variety of free activities for everyone to participate in. If you have time this weekend, why not join them for some wetlands fun? The only thing required is to register for these events!

celebration at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

1. NPark’s Nature Photography Workshop 

Founded in 2000, The Nature Photographic Society of Singapore (NPSS) was formed by a group of nature photographers who aim to preserve nature’s beauty through photography. Daryl Yeo is an award-winning photographer who acted as the president of NPSS from 2018 to 2022. Rather than simply documenting the animals he photographs, he hopes to convey a story of animal behaviour and the ecosystems they live in. Join them both as they conduct a talk and field workshop about the different approaches to nature photography one can achieve. 

Date: 4th February 2023, Saturday
Time:
10am – 12pm
Location: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Visitor Centre, Meet at the Information Counter
Who: Anyone above the age of 10.

Registration for the event can be found here

2. What’s In My Water? 

Early risers, this activity is the one for you! Find out more about the wide variety of biodiversity inhabiting the water edges of the reserve. All the different kinds of migratory birds, insects, animals, creatures and plants are waiting to be discovered! 

Do note that the walk will be cancelled if it rains. However, NParks will be hosting this activity throughout the year, like on 18th February

Date: 4th February 2023, Saturday
Time: 9.30am – 11am
Location: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Visitor Centre, Meet at the Information Counter
Who: Everyone is welcome!

Registration for the event can be found here.

3. Wader Watch

Learn how to identify the vast amount of birds found at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve in this two-hour workshop. Keep an eye out for migratory shorebirds who’ve travelled about 10,000km across mountains and seas from spots like the Siberian or Tibetan plateaus, or any of the 200 species of birds found here year-round. 

Wader Watch will first begin with an introduction to the birds found in the area and end with a birdwatching session for you to practise what you’ve just learned. While binoculars will be provided, participants are highly encouraged to bring their own if they own one.

Date: 4th February 2023, Saturday
Time: 9am – 11am
Location: Theatrette, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Wetland Centre, 301 Neo Tiew Crescent
Who: Anyone above the age of 10.

While registration for this event has closed, sign up for the waitlist is still open. Otherwise, join them for the same workshop conducted on 4th March 2023.  Look at the full list of events conducted by NPark here

4. World Wetlands Day Wetland Family Adventure

Photo by Mohammad Azry on East Asian-Australasian Flyway.

Are you a parent unsure of what to do this weekend with your children? Well, this is the perfect opportunity for the both of you! Bring your child aged 5 to 12 down to Sungei Buloh for a guided tour of the wetlands and a hands-on activity at the specially designed “Junior Wetland” for young children. Sounds like a good time to learn about the wetlands and have some quality bonding time at the same time!

Date: 4th February 2023, Saturday
Time: 9am – 12pm
Location: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Visitor Centre, Meet at the Information Counter
Who: 1 parent-child pair 

Registration for the event can be found here.

5. World Wetlands Day Craft And Booth Activity

Photo by Mohammad Azry on East Asian-Australasian Flyway.

Not enough space in the other workshops? Don’t worry, for there is still the Craft And Booth Activity that doesn’t require any registration! Simply go down to the visitor centre to take a look at the booths they have set up – previous years have included the making of animal masks and upcycling and decoration of tote bags.

Date: 4th February 2023, Saturday
Time: 9am – 1pm
Location: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Visitor Centre
Who: Everyone is welcome!

Find out more about the event here.

other upcoming events.

6. What’s In My Mangrove?

Take a look at the other guided walks NParks has to offer at the reserve – activities are not limited to just the World Wetlands Day Celebration! What’s In My Mangrove? is a great opportunity to find out more about the unique wetlands located between freshwater and saltwater, giving birth to species like the Mangrove Horseshoe Crab or the Estuarine Crocodile. This is important considering how Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is one of the few mangroves left in Singapore as a majority (over 90%!) has been lost to coastal development.

Date: 11 Feb 2023, Saturday
Time: 9.30am – 11am
Location: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Visitor Centre, Meet at the Information Counter
Who: Everyone is welcome!

Registration for the event opens on 3rd February, 8am here.

7. NSS’ Dragonfly Walk at Lorong Halus Wetlands

Traverse the water filtration ponds found at the wetlands and appreciate the vast array of dragonflies you can find located here! Some examples include the Dancing Dropwings, Common Scarlets, Blue Perchers and Variegated Green Skimmers – join Lena Chow, author of NSS’ A Field Guide to the Dragonflies of Singapore, in identifying and admiring the colourful insects situated there.  

Date: 11th March 2023, Saturday
Time: 9am – 10am
Location: Lorong Halus Wetlands
Who: Everyone is welcome!

Find out more and register for the event here.

8. NSS’ Birdwatching at Lorong Halus Wetlands

Photo by TK on Zoopicker.

Guided by experienced birder Jimmy Lee, this three-hour session of birdwatching will provide multiple chances to see all kinds of feathered creatures. From sunbirds, bulbuls, waterbirds, and raptors, to even migratory birds of all kinds since the migratory season will be ending then.  

Date: 25th March 2023, Saturday
Time: 7.30am – 10.30am
Location:
Lorong Halus Wetlands
Who: Though the session is reserved for NSS members only, non-members may be accepted if there are leftover slots by the closing date. 

Find out more and register for the event here.

volunteering opportunities to help in wetlands conservation. 

9. Restore Ubin Mangroves (R.U.M.)

Photo by Vincent Choo on their blog.

With the help of NParks and other corporations, this ground-up community initiative brings together people from all walks of life – experts from tertiary institutions, NGOs, individual enthusiasts and others that are dependent on mangroves. They all share the same goal of restoring mangroves at the abandoned aquaculture ponds of Pulau Ubin through the Ecological Mangrove Restoration method.

Instead of focusing on planting mangroves, creating the right conditions for mangroves to naturally take root in the area is more important. This way, many different types of trees and plants will be able to settle into the area, allowing a richer diversity of wildlife to be established. So rather than just one or a few kinds of species in typically planted mangroves, the variety of wildlife helps ensure that the wetland is more resilient to diseases.

A wide assortment of volunteering opportunities is available: from helping out with monthly mangrove walks for families, participating in a mangrove clean up, assisting fieldwork researchers with mapping surveys, to joining experienced naturalists and scientists in finding out more about the flora and fauna located in these areas. All that’s required from you is the passion and interest to help our wetlands!

Location: Pulau Ubin
Who: Those who are 19 and above who are comfortable working outdoors in a muddy environment, can walk 3km and stay under the sun for a minimum of 2 hours. No experience is required.

Sign up as a volunteer here or find out more about the initiative on their blog.

10. Citizen Science Programmes

Photo by Cheo Pei Rong on Facebook.

Run by NParks, this programme engages the community by having them participate in organised research endeavours and learn more about the flora and fauna surrounding us. Gather data on common dragonflies and damselflies, monitor seagrass or the biodiversity of intertidal habitats – there is something of interest for everyone! Data gathered will also help in informing decision-makers about the biodiversity of the area, helping to formulate more comprehensive conservation strategies. 

Location: Dependent on the program.
Who: Anyone interested in participating.

Sign up as a volunteer here or find out more about the initiative on their website.

11. ReefX

Photo by ReefX on their website.

ReefX allows scuba divers to contribute towards local reef conservation work in Singapore by gathering all kinds of data about the kind of animals they might see underwater. Get to participate in first-hand marine conservation work by measuring sea cucumbers and depths of fish, to collating other kinds of information like behaviour, coral health, and conditions like visibility and currents. All of this will go towards NParks’ marine database to improve their knowledge base and management of dive sites and marine resources.

Location: Dependent on the site of the month.
Who: While anyone is welcome for their land volunteering, you have to meet a set of requirements for their on-site expeditions. Check out their website for a full list of what’s required of any recreational scuba divers interested in signing up.

Small steps are still steps regardless – wetlands conservation might sound like a hard topic at first, but it can be as easy as making water-friendly and ecosystem-conscious decisions. 


Enjoyed this article? Why not check out 12 mangrove and wetland trails in Singapore to explore or 12 easy spots to check out the wild marine life in Singapore?

raeanne

The copywriting intern who likes spending way too much of her free time looking for small trinkets and watching two hour long youtube video essays.

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