Learning through Walking – Jane’s Walk feat. Love MacRitchie (May 2018)

The best way to understand a city is to walk through it.

That’s the premise of Jane’s Walk, an international movement started in 2006 to celebrate the ideas of the late Jane Jacobs, a writer and activist who was passionate about humane urban design.

We can’t agree more with this idea. Being a small urban country dotted with dense forests and rich biodiversity, places not covered with asphalt and concrete may seem a little distant, unfamiliar and mysterious at times.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Nor is it the best way to safeguard our delicate co-existence with nature, for it is difficult to protect what we don’t know about.

Olive-backed sunbird
Olive-backed sunbird with spiderwebs in its beak. What is it going to use them for?

For example, during our walk, we found this Olive-backed sunbird with strands of spiderweb in its beak. Studies overseas have shown that some birds use spiderwebs to build their nests. Could the same be happening here? How does this change our knowledge of the dense network of relationships between forest creatures?

Here’s more of what we saw that day, under overcast skies, dense canopies and flashes of scurrying squirrels:

Huntsman spider
Fierce looking Huntsman spider
Dark Brand Bush Brown
Dark Brand Bush Brown butterfly feeding on nectar from the Leea Rubra plant.
Common Sun skink
A Common Sun skink basking in the morning sun after a chilly night out in the woods.
Nisitrus vittatus crickets
Nisitrus vittatus crickets! These guys are one of the few cricket species in Singapore that are active in daytime.

Although natural green spaces have been declining in Singapore over the past decade and will continue to gradually shrink due to our future development needs, they remain key aspects of our national heritage and identity. These places, and especially our pristine Nature Reserves, need to be sufficiently accounted for in our development plans. Tunnelling an MRT line underneath a Nature Reserve certainly isn’t the best way forward.

As always, stay curious, come for walks and bring a friend along to explore this amazing wonderland right in the heart of our home! Only then would you understand what it is we’re trying to protect.

What are we going to see on our next walk?



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