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  wild people: Airani

Tireless and always cheerful and efficient, I have had the pleasure of working with Airani on several projects.

Usually keeping to the background, few people come to know of her tremendous contributions to a successful and enjoyable project.

Airani (in orange cap) guiding at Chek Jawa
before deferment of reclamation
A closer look often reveals that Airani has handled all the tedious, less glamorous but highly critical elements of planning and preparing for projects. These include large scale events such as the Biodiversity Symposium 2003 and many International Coastal Cleanup sessions.

I'm really glad that she is coming to the forefront in her current projects such as Pedal Ubin. We all look forward to being able to enjoy seamless and smooth projects with Airani's steady hand at the helm :-)

Here is more about Airani in her own words...

How did you first get involved in working for nature in Singapore?

I would say Pre-U Environment seminar, where my group had to work on a project on mangroves. David Bellamy was the guest of honour but he also joined us in the mangroves on one occasion. It was quite an experience back then for a 17-year old. Si Gium was my instructor. He made everything very easy and exciting. So, when I came to the University and had the chance to, I spent almost all my holidays working at the Eco lab, (among other things) wading through chest-high waters trying to find fish, getting stuck in the mud for crabs and chankul-ing mud lobster mounds in search of the elusive mud lobsters! Itís hard work but lots of fun! That is also where I met even more inspiring people and one in particular Ė Siva, who encouraged me to get involved with more fun and enriching activities!

What do you get out of working for nature?
Fresh air, mud treatment, exercise. No need to spend thousands of dollars on spas or gyms! :)

What is your approach/personal motto in your work?
Life is short, so make the best of it.

What are some of your current projects?
The main ones Iím involved in is Pedal Ubin and International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS). With Pedal Ubin, trained volunteer guides take participants on a ride around Ubin, sharing stories (history, heritage and nature) of Ubin with them. We hope through this activity, more Singaporeans will get to know Ubin and treasure it even more. ICCS is part of a global effort to study trends of marine trash on coastlines. More details on the activities at http://habitatnews.nus.edu.sg/pedalubin and http://coastalcleanup.nus.edu.sg

Airani works with the Secretariat to the Genetic Modification Advisory Committee (GMAC) She loves to think about cycling, swimming and playing tennis. Once in a while, she will actually get to do them!
More on how YOU can make a difference too...

Posted by otterman Posted on 31/08/04 09:45
Airani was one of NUS biology grads recruited for the Habitat Group. These are an exceptional team and still power the Raffles Museum Toddycats today.

One of the programmes Airani participated in then was Ubin Challenge (1999). It became the Biking in Ubin series and after Chek Jawa, becamee the Raffles Museum's Pedal Ubin! programme. Airani is head honcho with a bunch of enthusiastic cycling and nature guides who work to introduce cycling and Ubin's heritage to the public.

Accolades are streaming in after each session and she is looking to train new guides by year-end - watch out for the announcement in Habitatnews and Wild Singapore!

At Chek Jawa, she was one of the motley crew that first helped with the salvage surveys, then guided thousands, and later handled report submissions, zipping around Singapore on the morning of 2 Jan 2002 to drop off the final feedback reports befoer an eventful meeeting - she even zoomed into the VIP driveway at Ministry of National Development, meant for receiving foreign dignitaries, before getting chased off by security.

With her energetic and sprightly personality, she is more than a match for cheeky and high-spritied students. So she was mentor for the Chek Jawa student guides who were the stars at the launch of Chua Ee Kiam's book and allocated this role everytime we have student guides.

Her excellent Excel skills saw her become the first Data Manager for the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS). Data submission and collation is now done within a week (and up on the internet), and not months!

In the first year, as an example, data at the Kranji-Buloh mangrove site was completed and released within hours! Kate Thome, the former ICCS coordinator was absolutely delighted!

The Data Manager's job continues with collation, verification, web-publication, submission to the international coordinator at the Ocean Conservancy in the US, verification of the international publication etc. This work is taken seriously as it honours the efforts of some 2,000 volunteers who do their bit for the marine environment and Singapore every year.

With data management looked after, other parts of ICCS was looked into and hundreds of students have now heard about marine environment and conservation in Singapore from a school talks team and many more will!

Her most recent guiding exploits was the Pasir Panjang Heritage trail - guide, mentor and trainer to help prepare SAJC Green Club students to be guides for Heritage Fest 2004. It was very successful and a testament to the way mentors like Airani will work for nature in future - pass it on! You can catch her at the next session of heritage walks on Sunday 5th September 2004 - just go to http://rmbr.nus.edu.sg/fos75


these blog entries were first uploaded on MoBlog Singapore! Celebrate Singapore NDP 04
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