The NUS Civet Research Team (NCRT) (yes, Weiting and I gave ourselves a name!) has been keeping ourselves busy speaking up for the toddycats and doing civety work for the past months!
040811 – Civet Diet Talk at Raffles Science Institute
In early August, shortly after my first talk at Ubin, I went back to my alma mater to share my research experiences and findings with the teachers and juniors. I was the first to give this Cafe Scientifique talk at Raffles Science Institute and was warmly welcomed by the people (lots of food and drinks! Yummy!). I had to look around a bit to find the Open Lab as Raffles Science Institute was not present during my time in RJC (now known as RI). I then found out that the RSI was set up to expose interested students to research early and some of the projects are even collaborations with NUS!
RSI Civet Talk
Before I started, Adrian introduced me to the table of audience. He said “When Tze Kwan walked into the Open Lab, she told Abby that she was one of her TAs for LSM 1103! Then I told her that I was Abby’s TA for LSM1103 and her supervisor, Siva, was my TA for LSM 1103!” We all laughed and then I proceeded to give my talk. It never fails to make me happy when I see the fascinated faces of the audience. I was glad that everyone was interested and started shooting questions even before the presentation ended! The juniors asked questions about my materials and methods which I thought was some good questions which may help them in their research projects.
For this talk, I improved on some of my slides and added in a slide on ‘Civet Outreach’ which I hope to convey the conservation message on a more personal note. I was very grateful to Adrian, Abby and other Biology teachers for their hospitality and for providing me with feedback and suggestions for my research.
From left to right: Me, Abby & Adrian (Photo by Adrian)
I then toured around the school and was very delighted that RJ is now much more into Biodiversity! They have the Raffles Biodiversity Pond, Raffles Orchard and many more trees were planted, thanks to the effort of the Biology teachers! It was a great day back to school! I never thought that one day, I will go back to my school to give a talk as a researcher. The feeling of contributing back to my alma mater is so heartwarming, and I really thank Abby, Adrian and Siva for the opportunity! Just to give a heads up – I will be sharing my research experiences at my alma mater (secondary school) in October!
Raffles Biodiversity Pond
100811 – WOW! Civet talks by NCRT at Night Safari Singapore
This day was special – inaugural NCRT talk! This is the first time Civet girl, Xu Weiting and Civet poop girl, Fung Tze Kwan gave civet talks together!
In early June, both of us received invitation emails from Wildlife Reserves Singapore to invite us to present our projects undertaken at the zoo during their WOW (Windows On Wildlife) lunchtime talks. This monthly WOW talk acts as a platform for researchers, staff and others to share their research findings, conservation and zoo-related knowledge with WRS staff. Weiting previously collaborated with Night Safari for her surveys at Siglap/Opera Estate while I collaborated with NS for my gut passage experiments.
WOW Talk - Weiting
WOW Talk - Tze Kwan
Weiting presented first so that it would be a natural flow for our presentations which we worked on after much discussion. The talks were good and the audience included vets, keepers and staff from education department. It was a great sharing session with responses from vets and the staff. This talk has given us the opportunity to be involved in more civety work!
Civet girl did a great job!
Reflection of the day: Every talk is an unique experience. I will learn, improve and do better the next time.
220811 – Civet Diet Talk to fellow Colleagues at NUS
I am currently working as a research assistant in NUS after I graduated (although I sound like a full time civet researcher!). Sharing my civet diet research with my colleagues probably sounds really normal but the interesting thing is we deal with freshwater!
At the end of the July meeting, I was told to lead a discussion or to share a research topic during the August meeting. My team leader and other colleagues knew that I have been giving civet diet talks then encouraged me to present my research findings for that session (they wanted to hear my talk!). A month flew past quickly and I presented before the lunch break. One of my colleagues started shooting questions at my very first slide! But it was a great start as the session became more interactive than I thought it would have been! At the end of the session, one of the research assistants told me that this was one of the most interesting talks that she has attended in a very long time! Wow! That was so encouraging!
I really thank my PI, team leader and colleagues for being so supportive of me all these while. I would not be able to gain so many memorable talk experiences if not for their kind understanding!
050911 – RMBR Toddycats Engage! Our first exhibition planning meeting
Siva wrote on the Toddycats blog,
“Dear Toddycats, We did have one of the most successful exhibitions and guiding natural history teams in Singapore in the past, e.g. see posts on exhibitions. Well now, the civet ladies Xu Weiting and Fung Tze Kwan are reviving an exhibition team in relation to conservation of the common palm civet.”
Yes! Weiting and I (NCRT! Hooray!) are now in charge of coordinating the exhibition team! We had our first meeting on 5th Sept 2011, 6.30pm at DBS Conference Room 2 as planned and met up with old and new Toddycats to discuss the plans for the exhibition events, roles and responsibilities, and possible fieldtrips. Siva gave us a background on the previous exhibition events and shared some stories with us! The highlight had to go to Junius’ 3D papercrafts of our local wildlifes! I really like those and think that they have great potential as children and public education materials!
Wildlife Series 1 (Photo by Xinheritage)
Wildlife Series 2 (Photo by Xinheritage)
It was a really great evening with the Toddycats and I was glad that everyone left feeling really excited! A year 2 life science student was telling me excitedly that she was so glad that there is Toddycats where she can participate in nature related events and that she came for the meeting! Just a note, Siva, Weiting and I visited ACRES in the same afternoon and had a great time in their ‘native garden’!
The first event for Toddycats Engage! will be setting up a specimen exhibition booth at the Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium III on Sat 24 Sep 2011. We will activate the booth for the early morning crowd and during the tea breaks! There will be a briefing and training session next Monday, 19 Sep 2011: 6.30pm @ DBS Lab 7 [Block S2, Level 3]. If you are interested to join us, sign up at: http://tinyurl.com/toddycats-boss3
Other civety work and future civet outreach plans
NCRT is currently working on various civety work. One of which where we had to visit Portsdown, Civet girl Weiting found a civet poop on a grass patch and we then found a second poop around the same area! We are also working on possible future educational musang night walks and other outreach methods such as exhibitions. We are grateful that we have the guidance from Siva and many others who help us in our effort on common palm civet conservation!
It is definitely rewarding. The civets know too and they show it – my friend Hui Lian and I found 2 civet poop right outside our workplace just today! And some time ago, I was treated to a lifer – a civet climbing up a tree! Go NCRT!
Happy Civet poop girl with her finds!