The school holidays meant outdoor time was beckoning! We joined the Wildlife Wanderer Camp at Jurong Lake Gardens to observe wildlife – both in microscopic and big forms.
The Wildlife Wanderer Camp is a one-day programme that focuses on the ecology around and on the lake. This included a session on making our own paper microscope (wow!) and then honing our bird-watching skills with a kayaking session.
We had a great mother-son bonding time at the camp and here’s what we learnt.
5 Lessons We Learnt at the Wildlife Wanderer Camp at Jurong Lake Gardens
1. Big Lessons from Microscopy
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We started with the importance of microscopy. Why is this so important? Microscopes help us see what the naked eye is unable to see, down to the atomical structure. It is amazing to look through the microscope to discover microorganisms in everything. We learnt about the different parts of a microscope and this helped us to make our own.
2. We can make a Microscope Out of Paper!
Most of us would think that microscope are expensive laboratory equipment we don’t have access to frequently. But what if I told you there is a paper microscope you can DIY? Yes! We made our very own foldscope – a paper microscope. Most of it was paper, with lens included. It worked very well to our amazement. It has a magnification of 140 times, which is mind-blowing given how simple it was to put together.
A compound microscope might have a magnification of 400x but too heavy to be portable. The foldscope is a very portable and light microscope that can be used anywhere, especially when you are up and about exploring the great outdoors. All you need is a light source, and plenty of samples.
3. Micro-organisms are everywhere
It has been a long time since I’ve stepped into a laboratory. I must say it was invigorating getting the opportunity to learn with my child again! We were asked to pick samples – both dry and wet at Jurong Lake Gardens for a closer look with our foldscope and compound microscopes.
Aside from flowers, petals, leaves, we also collected water from the lake. Nature is always the best teacher given how rich in life it is. Seeing the different cellular structure with the foldscope was an enriching experiential lesson. We could see the movement of the microorganisms, structures of pollen grains and the different shapes and sizes at the microscopic level. I hope this expanded the worldview of my child as he examined everything up close.
4. Kayaking is a good test of teamwork
While it was not the first time we have gone kayaking, it was the longest kayaking session we have had. The duration lasted an hour. It was a good test of teamwork coordinating our movements and our rest-time. This part of the programme was what my 9 year old appreciated the most and it made us want to go for even more kayaking sessions.
5. Jurong Lake offers great views of wildlife
Being on Jurong lake kayaking means we had the best seats to observing wildlife at Jurong Lake Gardens. We could see raptors, herons, egrets, kingfishes, bee-eaters – some perched on branches, others looking for food. We also saw monitor lizards swimming leisurely by our kayaks. Given how we were pretty close to the trees, we could get a good view of the animals without scaring them away since we were deemed harmless.
Besides a Animals and Plants identification booklet, we were also provided with binoculars to help us look at the animals and plants even more closely.
Wildlife Wanderer Camp
Taking part in the Wildlife Wanderer Camp was an ideal way to bond with loved ones, and certainly an enriching one observing wildlife up-close. While the session could have gone more in-depth on cells and micro-organisms as well as the biodiversity at Jurong Lake Gardens, it was an eye-opener that would spark many other adventures in discovery. You can find out more about future camps and programmes via this link.