precious planet
Reasons to "Love MacRitchie"
Second Free Public Guided Walk on 30 Jun 2013
Text by Teresa Teo Guttensohn
Photos by Andrew Tay and Teresa Teo Guttensohn
Map of Central Catchment Nature Reserve (MacRitchie): Singapore's main forest reserve with primary forest, mature secondary forest and pristine freshwater streams.
We love Singapore's rainforest for its many amazing wildlife. Clouded Monitor Lizards are surprisingly adept at climbing up rainforest trees, searching for prey.

A light Sunday morning drizzle did not deter families from enjoying "Love MacRitchie", a free public guided nature walk to Central Catchment Nature Reserve (MacRitchie) at Venus Drive, conducted by Cicada Tree Eco-Place.

Two groups of walkers were led by volunteer guides from Cicada Tree Eco-Place: Leong Tzi Ming, Andrew Tay, Vilma D'Rozario and Teresa Teo Guttensohn. Experienced freelance nature guide Chuah Ai Lin came by to lend assistance.

The second "Love MacRitchie" walk had attracted a total of sixty registrants. However, some participants were held off by cloudy weather, and others perhaps from illness related to recent heavy haze from raging fires in Sumatra.

Entering the forest trail quietly to better spot shy wildlife and simply loving the green peace.
Lovely, gorgeous fronds of Tree Ferns lining pristine freshwater streams at Central Catchment Nature Reserve (MacRitchie).
Hidden within are many animals like soft-shell turtles, freshwater crabs, terrapins, fishing spiders and amphibians that depend on clear, unpolluted freshwater streams for survival.
Loving the excitement of not knowing what fishes, reptiles and amphibians one might spot in a crystal clear forest stream.

The walk took children and adults along banks of a crystal clear forest stream full of local freshwater life. They saw many interesting native flora and fauna, and experienced a kind of natural peace, awe, wonder and respite in the rainforest.

Families of Long-tailed Macaque depend on forest fare such as figs, fruits and berries. A young individual looks down warily from the safety of vines and trees where it was feeding.
Kids love outdoor classrooms: learning about forest fruits that birds, squirrels, treeshrews and monkeys feed upon in the forest, and why we should not feed wild animals human food.

Wildlife spotted along the short walk included a rare Emerald Dove, Black-bearded Flying Dragon, Treeshrews scampering across branches on bank of a stream where Harlequin Rasbora and Forest Snakehead were swimming, families of Long-tailed Macaques, songs of Racquet-tailed Drongos and other forest birds, beautiful Branded Imperial Butterflies and diggings of Banded Wild Pigs.

What's not to love about a colourful and perky Crimson Sunbird and other forest birds out for a morning song?

It was fun to spot unusual insects, bugs and spiders such Tree Hugger Dragonflies, White Handed Fly, Hover Fly, "Wedding Gown Bug", and a fast moving Ant Mimicking Spider.

Nature guide Andrew Tay and participants love the fun factor of searching for interesting bugs and insects on plants, and if lucky, perhaps an elusive snake or two in the bushes!
We loved the way this pretty Hover Fly hovers it was just like a tiny, cool flight machine!
Kids and adults were fascinated by the deceptive Ant Mimicking Spider, which cleverly imitates the look and movement of ants.
Volunteer guide Teresa Teo Guttensohn showing a live specimen of an Ant Mimicking Spider, which was quickly released after close study of the fast moving, tiny animal.

Various plants and trees that were home and food for our forest fauna were spotlighted. These included huge Terentang trees, fig trees, tall bamboo groves that housed small bats, attractive Bracket Fungus, amusing "toilet paper leaf" tree, amazing Strangler Fig tree that "strangles", and exotic Tree Ferns.

The nature guides shared about rainforest habitats, and impact of any disturbance, pollution and fragmentation on our fragile natural heritage. Although it was just a short hike, everyone found many reasons to love our MacRitichie forest. Afterall, the wild rainforest is an open science museum and a living house of biodiversity.

Rainforest recyclers: Bracket Fungus helps in decomposition of fallen trees, returning nutrients to the earth.
Lovely homes: small insectivorous bats find homes in cracks in bamboo. These bats help to control insect populations.
Volunteer guide Leong Tzi Ming told a captured audience the life cycle of Strangler Fig Tree that starts off as a single small seed dropped by a bird or animal on top of another host tree.
Nature guide Leong Tzi Ming pointed out a tree that was an important home for unique Tree Hugger Dragonflies.
Checking out diggings of Banded Wild Pig, our native wild pigs at MacRitchie forest; rooting and foraging for food are part of natural behavior of wild pigs.
We loved discovering nature's gifts in our own rainforest, and experiencing a kind of natural peace, awe and wonder which cannot be replicated in urban settings or man-made gardens.

To show their love for MacRitchie forest and its wildlife, participants signed a petition appealing to LTA (Land Transport Authority) to re-route proposed Cross Island MRT Line that was intended to run under Central Catchment Nature Reserve, potentially and irreversibly damaging our country's precious last remaining natural heritage.

Help Save Our MacRitchie Forest - located within Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR).

Sign online petition now:
http://tinyurl.com/LTA-CRL

MORE INFO:
http://lovemacritchie.wordpress.com
https://www.facebook.com/lovemacritchie

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Teresa Teo Guttensohn is an eco-artist and co-founder of Cicada Tree Eco-place. She has a love affair with coconuts and strives to explore these wonderful nuts in many ways. Read more about her coco-nutty nature and culture exploits in different places.