2021’s BFF Biodiversity Challenge has begun!
For the fourth year running, the BFF Biodiversity Challenge 2021 started with an opening seminar and workshop. This year, the session was held on two separate days, one Saturday and Sunday morning. A total of 75 participants, made up of 60 students from JC and Polytechnics, 3 NS recruits and 12 working adults attended the event on Zoom. Our mentors from the Biodiversity Roundtable also joined the sessions to provide very inspiring insights later on in the breakout rooms.
As the seminar/workshop sessions were conducted online due to the COVID-19 situation in Singapore, our organising team found creative ways to welcome the crowd – participants were asked to come prepared with a virtual background of an animal that best represent them, which they would then use to chat about as ice breakers in the breakout rooms. With that, we were thrilled to welcome our youths to the Biodiversity Challenge!
For both sessions, the programme commenced with Joy Wong from NParks welcoming our participants and sharing a background of BFF and the BFF Challenge. The session continued with N. Sivasothi from NUS sharing stories and changes in Singapore’s conservation to provide our participants with little to no background some context before embarking on their field trips during the challenge. The participants on Saturday also heard from Tina Liow, a BFF Challenge participant from 2018, who has gone on to co-found her own youth group, Biodiversity Youth Mentors (BYM).
Participants then went into breakout rooms where they had the opportunity to get to share their own stories and encounters with nature. Our Biodiversity Roundtable mentors also joined facilitators in saying hi and sharing their own stories and encounters with nature and conservation. Our facilitators then guided their groups to play a game which encouraged fruitful discussions within each member. The game provided an introduction to some iconic animals, which participants categorised them by their residency status – native, non-native and not found in the wild in Singapore. Our facilitators and mentors shared their fond memories of encountering some of the animals, which we hope will excite our participants when they observe them out in the wild during their field trips!
It was inspiring to hear from our participants who came from many walks of life, some are in their professional working careers, some are entering or serving their National Service, while others are studying in diverse fields, ranging from environmental studies and life sciences, to physics and architecture. Together, they are united by their interest in getting to know more about Singapore’s nature and meeting more like-minded people.
We hope everyone enjoyed this year’s Seminar Workshop. The participants will now be embarking on their journey where they have to accomplish 3 Field Trips and also an Act for Nature. We wish all participants an enriching BFF 2021 journey!
A big thank you to our facilitators, seniors and other support crew for making this event a success: Tina Liow, Jeff Tan, Chang Yu Xin, Muhd Izzdanial, Chloe Foo, Karyn Lee, Yap Bao Shen, Cheryl Yong, Shawne Goh, Exley Yun, Tan Teong Seng, Quek Chui Qing, Yin Ling, Margarette Chang, Edric Wong, Yi Zhen.
The BFF Challenge team would also like to thank the mentors who popped by for the event over the weekend: Ms Anbarasi Boopal, Mr Tony O’Dempsey, Mr Ivan Kwan, Dr Andie Ang, Ms Debby Ng, Ms Tan Beng Chiak, Mr Lim Liang Jim, Mr Stephen Beng, Ms Sabrina Jabbar, Mr Marcus Chua, Ms Theresa Su and Mr Karl Png.