Themed ‘Don’t Dump It, Aquatic Creatures Deserve A Clean Home’, primary school children and youths lead the charge to spread penguin conservation messages at the park.
Singapore, 20 April 2013 – With Earth Day and World Penguin Day falling just three days apart, Earth Day at Jurong Bird Park is particularly meaningful for a group of children and youths who have become conservation ambassadors with a determined focus on spreading the message of “Don’t Dump It, Aquatic Creatures Deserve A Clean Home”, aimed at protecting penguins and other marine creatures.
Coming together for ‘A Penguin Play Date’, students from Greenridge Primary School (GRPS) and youth volunteers created two gigantic penguin art pieces made of recycled materials at Jurong Bird Park. These art pieces take the form of a 3-metre tall 2D silhouette, and a sliding penguin sculpture. In addition, 12 primary school children between the ages of 9-11 manned craft stations in the park to teach park visitors what they know about penguins and how to protect these birds by minimising waste.
GRPS students took a month to collect about 600 recycled bottles for the play date. The recycled bottles are in both art pieces. The penguin silhouette shows how something as innocuous as a kids’ beverage bottle can go a long way in creating an artistic statement for the species. The other art piece, a 1-metre tall papier-mâché sliding penguin depicts the bird sliding freely on ice, is a sight often seen in the Antarctic region.
“Penguins are very cute, and I’m sad that they can die when people throw plastics into the sea without thinking of the other creatures which live there. We hope people will help to protect the penguins,” said Angel Chua, Primary 6 student, Greenridge Primary School.
Inviting the public – particularly young children – to join their play date, the students set up craft stations to teach visitors how to make a simple penguin craft out of recyclable toilet rolls, which participants could bring home. Students completed each roll with a conservation message about penguins.
To equip these youth conservation ambassadors with knowledge about these charismatic birds, a highly interactive Penguins and Pals workshop was organised on 13 March. At this session, they learnt more about different penguin species, their diet, how they adapt to temperate climates and how penguins seem to ‘fly’ in the water. These students also visited two of the world’s five endangered penguin species that live in Jurong Bird Park – the African penguin and the Humboldt penguin. To inspire more students in GRPS about conservation and ensuring a clean home for penguins and other marine creatures, the students involved in the Earth Day project with Bird Park will share their experiences school-wide during a school assembly talk.
May Lok, Director, Education, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said, “To interest and inspire youths about wildlife, we work very closely with schools and over the last five years, more than 85,000 students have gone through workshops such as Penguin and Pals. A Penguin Play Date is the perfect example of how students, when empowered with the right knowledge and skills, can lead the charge to drive conservation messages to their peers and families, and encourage them to think of ways to protect the homes penguins and marine creatures. These youths are the most ideal conservation ambassadors.”
Jurong Bird Park has successfully bred the African and king penguins. Three endangered African penguin chicks have successfully hatched since December 2010, with the latest hatching on 14 March 2013. This chick is the first in Jurong Bird Park to have undergone successful artificial incubation at the Breeding & Research Centre (BRC). Five king penguin chicks have hatched since 2008, and the Park is the first institution in South East Asia to successfully breed this species in captivity.
Visitors will be able to view both the papier-mâché sculpture and the 2D silhouette for a month from 20 April at Penguin Coast.
For more information on Jurong Bird Park, please visit www.birdpark.com.sg