On a bright Sunday 14th February Valentine’s Day morning, I was out early in the morning, with two of my friends, Joe and DK, to join a group of young and youthful people on a trek to Coney Island (located on the North East corner of Singapore) organised by Outward Bound Singapore (OBS). I went to Coney Island not too long ago, explored the little island and I wanted to go back again soon after that. For this morning trek, NParks volunteers conducted a guided tour of Coney Island and they brought this group of youths along for a morning trek to Coney Island, sharing with them knowledge about nature, environment, conservation, wildlife, protection. Mr Baey Yam Keng, Parlimentary Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, graced the morning trek together with the group of young nature lovers for the 4km trek to Coney Island!

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It was fun to follow along this group of youth during the Sunday morning trek, all these activities resonate with me a lot, with my roots from my Boy Scout days when I was with the Gan Eng Seng School Dragon Scout Group (I am still a part of the Dragon Scout Group family) Outdoors, nature, trekking were some of my favourite outdoor recreational activities and I am still enjoying them as much as I can. Although I didn’t engage this group of young people that went for the morning trek, it was great to see their enthusiasm and fun loving nature! They were taken care of by the NParks volunteers and OBS instructors. During the trek, I was brought back into my own memories where I continued to help out at my alma mater, the Gan Eng Seng School Dragon Scout Group, mentoring and chatting to my juniors.

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During the trek, I took the chance to observe the flora and fauna, breathe in the fresh air, enjoy the lush greenery and tranquility on Coney Island. I did manage to spot some birds and wildlife and I would plan another trip to go back again for another round of wildlife/nature photography walkabout. For those who would like to see more of Coney Island, do drop by my Flickr collection and take a look! If you have not visited Coney Island, do plan a day to visit Coney Island and get away from the hustle and bustle of city life!

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At the end of the morning trek to Area C, near the mangrove swamp and beach area, this group of young nature lovers sat down in their respective groups with their OBS instructors and have an interactive discussion on how they feel about SGFuture, the natural environment, how to make and encourage more youths to appreciate the rich biodiversity in Singapore. Mr Baey was very enthusiastic, joining the various groups during their discussion, listening to them and encouraged them to contribute more ideas to expand OBS’ existing environmental education efforts to reach out to more youths on their outdoor education and recreation programs.

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“I’m pleased to see many young nature-lovers spending the morning of Valentine’s Day here at Coney Island. Youths are always looking for something fresh to interest them and today’s activity is one of such engagements. As youths are the future leaders who would see Singapore through SG100, it is important for them to be aware and proactive in conserving the environment,” said Mr. Baey.

Source: National Youth Council press release

Personally, it is very comforting to see this group of young people passionate and loving the natural environment in Singapore, even though Singapore is a very small country that is largely urbanised! I sincerely hope that this group of young people can go back, to their family and friends, to pass-it-on and spread the awareness on nature, conservation, preservation and protection of the small precious natural environment in Singapore.

At the end of the event, walking out of Coney Island, back towards the main land, I had a fun morning trek to the outdoors and be close to nature again. While Singapore is indeed a small country that is largely urbanised, we still have our gorgeous natural environment for us to visit and get away from the city life that we lead. It is up to each and everyone of us, the youth of today, our SGFuture, to continue loving and protecting the natural environment of Singapore.