wetlands
a publication of Sungei Buloh Nature Park

Vol 8 No 3
Dec 2001


chek jawa's
wet wonderland

aqua-tion for life roles of
water in life

where water
meets the lands
fishes of the Park

dispersal by h2o
seeds dispersed by water

some interesting notes on the pacific golden plover

10th international coastal cleanup 2001 and 5th mangrove cleanup

young ecologists@
sungei buloh nature park

an ode to a turtle
 
aqua-tion
text and illustration
joseph lai
conservation officer
for life


The wisdom of Lao Tzu, a 6th century Chinese philosopher, is as fresh as the morning dew that formed today.

Water (Latin—aqua) is indeed ordinary yet extraordinary in nature.

The strength of water is unmatched. All the world's landscapes is sculpted by water in one way or another.

Drops of water can split rocks with time.

And where forested hills are denuded by man, upsetting the ecological balance of nature, we have observed time and again, the force and fiery devastation of landslides and flash floods that belie the gentle rain that falls on our heads.

Similar scale of destruction is akin to the removal of mangroves by man also, causing massive coastal erosion, retreating shorelines and loss of natural barriers that had sheltered coastal communities from the lashing waves of tropical monsoon storms.

However, water is the very essence of life. Life flourishes on earth simply because we are blessed with an abundance of water. Without water there can be no life at all.

The Visitor Centre at Sungei Buloh Nature Park is nestled among several restive and picturesque ponds. On one side flows the wide expanse of Sungei Buloh Besar, our main river. Water features here are everywhere.

The opportunity to reflect and to learn about water should not be missed.

We cannot fully undertake nature conservation (of plants, animals and habitat) without recognizing water as a dynamic and contributing element in our living environment, especially in a wetland like Sungei Buloh.

Nothing on earth is
so weak and yielding
as water,
but for breaking down
the firm and strong,
it has no equal

—Lao Tzu

Here is a list of things that you can discuss and reflect on regarding some of the fundamental roles that water plays in our equation for life here on earth. Rediscover for yourselves interesting facts and find out more about the undesirable impacts arising from abuse of natural processes of water.

The windows to learning are many and surprisingly easy to find if one has keen eyes to observe and learn at Sungei Buloh Nature Park ....

Biology—Body Matters
Do you know that water is two-thirds of your body weight, ninety percent of the blood in your body is water, and that before birth you lived in water in the embryonic sac of your mother's womb? Discuss why living organisms need to consume water.

Physical Science
—Standard Measures

Do you know that water had been used as a standard for the measurement of weight in the metric system, i.e., one-kilogram is equivalent to the mass of one liter of water? Discuss what other measurements use water as a standard.

Geography
—Wetlands Wonders

Do you know that wetlands are areas where water is the primary factor controlling the environment and the associated plant and animal life? Discuss what areas are categorized as wetlands and where they can he found in Singapore, especially the mangroves and freshwater swamps.

Human Geography—Tanah Air
(Homeland—in Malay language)
Do you know that the first civilizations arose in areas where water was a dominant feature, e.g., the Hwang Ho (Yellow River), Ganges, Indus, Nile and Amazon? Discuss why people chose to live near water, and who are the people who had lived in mangroves of Sungei Buloh in the past.

Ecology—Mudflat Challenges
Do you know that the life in the rnudflat is very demanding, and the living organisms within the low and high tide marks have to cope with changes in temperatures, humidity, and salinity, etc.? Discuss how this is so, and what other challenges the organisms face.

Environmental Science
—Drowning Islands

Do you know that ice at the Poles is melting gradually and increasing in the sea levels around the world, and that some low islands are in danger of disappearing under the sea? Discuss a hypothetical question: In what way will Sungei Buloh be affected if the old Causeway is removed for a clear water passage through Johor Straits?

Agricultural Science
—Precious Rice

Do you know that the rice we eat grows in water, and that rice is a grass? Discuss about rice cultivation, find out where we get our supply from, and plan a trip to see paddy fields and water irrigation channels in a neighbouring country.

Anthropology
—Arts & Culture

Do you know what is the common medium in four of the finest art forms in Chinese culture, namely, Chinese painting, calligraphy, ceramics and tea drinking? Water, of course! Discuss about local or East Asian art and cultures where water plays an important role.
   
© Sungei Buloh Nature Park